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Detecting and preventing the occurrence of errors in the practices of laboratory medicine and anatomic pathology: 15 years' experience with the College of American Pathologists' Q-PROBES and Q-TRACKS programs

      In 1989, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) introduced its Q-PROBES Program as a means by which to define the nature of quality in the practices of laboratory medicine and anatomic pathology. The CAP's Quality Practice Committee (QPC) administers this ongoing, voluntary subscription program. Each year, laboratory personnel participating in this program assist the QPC in selecting for investigation specific aspects of quality in the practices of anatomic and clinical pathology services. The QPC members then devise outcome studies in which participants submit to the CAP specific data pertaining to these selected laboratory services. Data are collected over limited periods of time, generally 1 to several months. From these data are calculated benchmarks of laboratory performance are calculated. Participants also provide general information characterizing the manner in which laboratory services are delivered in their institutions. From these data, laboratory practices are determined that are associated with better and worse performance are determined [
      • Howanitz P.J.
      Quality assurance measurements in departments of pathology and laboratory medicine.
      ,
      • Bachner P.
      • Howanitz P.
      Using Q-PROBES to improve the quality of laboratory medicine: a quality improvement program of the College of American Pathologists.
      ,
      • Howanitz P.J.
      • Hoffman G.G.
      • Schifman R.B.
      • Zarbo R.J.
      • Steindel S.J.
      • Walker K.
      A nationwide quality assurance program can describe standards for the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine.
      ,
      • Zarbo R.J.
      Improving quality in pathology and laboratory medicine.
      ,
      • Lawson N.S.
      • Howanitz P.J.
      The College of American Pathologists, 1946–1996. Quality assurance service.
      ].
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