ASCP Cytology Proficiency Testing Program Excels by Raising the Bar
Monday, August 13, 2012
“The set of ASCP GYN (Pap) proficiency test slides is without question one of the most highly representative and extensively validated Pap test cohorts ever created.”
— Robert Goulart, MD, FASCP
As a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services-approved Gynecological (GYN) Cytology (Pap Test) Proficiency Testing (PT) Program, the ASCP program may be used to fulfill gynecological proficiency testing requirements within all accredited laboratories. ASCP is one of just three organizations offering Pap proficiency testing in accordance with the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Advisory Committee (CLIAC) statute established in 2005. Every cytotechnologist and pathologist examining gynecological microscopic slides must be enrolled in an approved proficiency testing program in order to comply with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requirements.
“ASCP is committed to excellence in customer service, slide quality and validation, and committee oversight for its GYN Proficiency Test Program,” said Robert Goulart, MD, FASCP, Chair of the ASCP GYN PT and Assessment Committee.
The ASCP GYN PT and Assessment Committee is composed of experienced cytotechnologists and cytopathologists with deep expertise in GYN cytopathology. Its members are specifically chosen to represent the continuum of professional practice models, which include academic medical centers, private pathology groups, and large commercial laboratories. Varied geographic areas throughout the country are represented, with committee members possessing expertise in Thin Prep and SurePath technologies.
Prior to inclusion in the ASCP PT program, all slides undergo rigorous evaluation. The slide referee process exceeds the minimum CLIA requirements of three physicians by adding two senior-level cytotechnologists for a total of five reviewers. The initial referee review must be in 100-percent agreement to the target response category for the slide to pass and move on to the validation process. The slide validation process then requires a minimum of 40 separate reviews (interpretations) with at least 90-percent target response category for a slide to be included in the proficiency testing program. Many slides currently in the program have more than 300 individual reviews while maintaining their minimum 90-percent agreement rate.
“The set of ASCP GYN (Pap) proficiency test slides is without question one of the most highly representative and extensively validated Pap test cohorts ever created,” Dr. Goulart said.
The quality assurance and validation process is ongoing even after slides are included in the PT program. “Every single testing event goes across my desk,” said Rhonda Metzler, SCT(ASCP)CM, ASCP Proficiency Testing Senior Manager. She reviews every slide in the program for both technical quality and field-testing performance at least once annually.
“We listen to what the customer has to say,” Ms. Metzler said “ASCP PT quality assurance and quality control process is very thorough. Not only is the statistical performance of each case reviewed, all comments and concerns reported by the test takers in the evaluation process are also analyzed in conjunction with slide and stain quality.”
Additionally, the ASCP program currently ensures a seven-day or less turnaround for all test results, significantly less than the 15-day regulatory guideline. Starting in 2013, ASCP will offer a further service to its GYN PT enrollees—a four-day turnaround for all testing events prior to June 30.
To enroll in the ASCP GYN PT program, click on the web-links below.
Order form link