Q-Probes studies in anatomic pathology: quality improvement through targeted benchmarking.
CONTEXT: The Q-Probes program is a peer-comparison quality assurance service offered by the College of American Pathologists that was created in 1989. OBJECTIVE: To establish national benchmarks around a specific quality metric at a specific point in time in anatomic pathology (AP). DESIGN: Q-Probes are based on a voluntary subscription for an individual study. Hospital-based laboratories in the United States, Canada, and 16 other countries have participated. Approximately one-third of all Q-Probes studies address AP metrics. Each Q-Probes study has a primary quality indicator and additional minor indicators. RESULTS: There have been 52 AP Q-Probes studies addressing process-, outcome-, and structure-related quality assurance issues. These Q-Probes studies often represented the first standardized national benchmark for specific metrics in the disciplines of cytopathology, surgical pathology, and autopsy pathology, and as such have been cited more than 1700 times in peer-reviewed literature. The AP Q-Probes studies that have been repeated over time demonstrate improvement in laboratory performance across an international spectrum. CONCLUSIONS: The Q-Probes program has produced important national benchmarks in AP, addressing preanalytic, analytic, and postanalytic factors in the disciplines of cytopathology, surgical pathology, and autopsy pathology. Q-Probes study data have been published, cited, and used in the creation of laboratory accreditation standards and other national guidelines.
Tworek, JA; Volmar, KE; McCall, SJ; Bashleben, CP; Howanitz, PJ
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