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Core Components of a Comprehensive Quality Assurance Program in Anatomic Pathology

Nakhleh, Raouf E. MD

Advances in Anatomic Pathology: November 2009 - Volume 16 - Issue 6 - p 418-423
doi: 10.1097/PAP.0b013e3181bb6bf7
Review Articles

In this article the core components of a comprehensive quality assurance and improvement plan are outlined. Quality anatomic pathology work comes with focus on accurate, timely, and complete reports. A commitment to continuous quality improvement and a systems approach with a persistent effort helps to achieve this end. Departments should have a quality assurance and improvement plan that includes a risk assessment of real and potential problems facing the laboratory. The plan should also list the individuals responsible for carrying out the program with adequate resources, a defined timetable, and annual assessment for progress and future directions. Quality assurance monitors should address regulatory requirements and be organized by laboratory division (surgical pathology, cytology, etc) as well as 5 segments (preanalytic, analytic, postanalytic phases of the test cycle, turn-around-time, and customer satisfaction). Quality assurance data can also be used to evaluate individual pathologists using multiple parameters with peer group comparison.

Department of Pathology, Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, FL

Reprints: Raouf E. Nakhleh, MD, Department of Pathology, Mayo Clinic Florida, 4500 San Pablo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32224 (e-mail: Nakhleh.raouf@mayo.edu).

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.