College of American Pathologists

  What is Proficiency Testing


Updated April 9, 2012

The CAP Surveys and Anatomic Pathology Education/EXCEL Programs are the largest laboratory peer comparison program in the world. The programs allow laboratories to regularly evaluate their performance and improve the accuracy of the patient results they provide. Through this program, the CAP provides individual laboratories with unknown specimens for testing. The participants analyze the specimens and return the results to the CAP for evaluation. In turn, each participating laboratory receives a report of their performance as well as a report summarizing the results of all participating laboratories.

What you do impacts patient care.

Providing the best patient care requires laboratorians and pathologists to strive for the highest performance. That’s what CAP proficiency testing is all about. Convenient online proficiency testing (PT). Opportunities for free CME/CE credit. An unprecedented number of new programs.

The CAP has the data you need to take your lab’s performance to new heights.

Evaluate your results using comparable peer groups from the most comprehensive database of laboratories. Be compared to the most relevant instrument/reagent combinations to accurately assess your performance.

What is the difference between Surveys and EXCEL?

The Surveys proficiency testing program is designed for hospital laboratories and reference laboratories. The EXCEL proficiency testing program is geared toward smaller hospital and physician office laboratories.

By enrolling in the program that is intended for your size institution, you will be compared with laboratories that are most similar in size to yours.

Proficiency testing for CLIA Waived Tests.

CDC-funded surveys conducted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in testing sites with a Certificate of Waiver indicated that high personnel turnover rates, lack of understanding about Good Laboratory Practices, and inadequate training can lead to errors in patient testing and poor patient outcomes.

To help reduce errors at all testing sites with a Certificate of Waiver including Physician Office Laboratories, the CAP has developed point of care and waived competency challenges designed to improve waived testing results. This program will evaluate instrument and method performance, troubleshoot, assess staff competency, and provide information to train staff. This program is not a proficiency testing program and participants will not return results to the CAP.


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