Technical proficiency in cytopathology: assessment through external quality assurance

Cummings, M. C., Greaves, J., Shukor, R. A., Perkins, G. and Ross, J. (2017) Technical proficiency in cytopathology: assessment through external quality assurance. Cytopathology, 28 2: 149-156. doi:10.1111/cyt.12373


Author Cummings, M. C.
Greaves, J.
Shukor, R. A.
Perkins, G.
Ross, J.
Title Technical proficiency in cytopathology: assessment through external quality assurance
Journal name Cytopathology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-2303
0956-5507
Publication date 2017-04-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/cyt.12373
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Start page 149
End page 156
Total pages 8
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2018
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To assess both the feasibility and value of conducting an external quality assurance programme concerning technical aspects of cytopathology laboratory practice, and the interest by laboratories in enrolling in such a programme.

Methods: Six technical surveys, comprising staining exercises and questionnaires relating to laboratory practice, were distributed over a 4-year period to the approximately 220 laboratories enrolled in the RCPAQAP Cytopathology slide survey modules. Staining exercises using the Papanicolaou and Romanowsky techniques, the preparation of urine and body fluid specimens and immunocytochemistry on the cell block material were assessed. Accompanying relevant questionnaires were included, and one survey comprised a questionnaire alone concerning the collection of urinary tract and body fluid samples.

Results: Provision of an external cytopathology technical module was feasible for the RCPAQAP and participation rates (maximum of 87% per survey; average 68% for stained slides and 66% for questionnaires) were commendable, particularly considering these were optional undertakings with some exercises not applicable to all laboratories. The great majority of submitted slides were scored as satisfactory, and there was an especially high standard for the immunocytochemical staining exercise with 95% considered satisfactory, including 50.6% with a perfect score. Reasons for suboptimal scores were provided for potential quality improvement for interested laboratories. A wealth of information relating to laboratory practice was provided to the RCPAQAP which was collated and summarised for laboratory use.

Conclusions: The provision of a technical module in cytopathology is both a feasible and valuable undertaking of interest to laboratories which should become standard practice for cytopathology external quality assurance providers.
Keyword Cytology
Quality assurance
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: UQ Centre for Clinical Research Publications
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