Effectiveness of Rapid Prescreening and 10% Rescreening in Liquid-Based Papanicolaou Testing

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Although rapid prescreening (RPS) has been shown to be an effective quality control procedure for detecting false-negative conventional Papanicolaou (Pap) tests, RPS has not been widely implemented in the United States. In our laboratory, cytotechnologists performed RPS in 3,567 liquid-based Pap tests: 1,911 SurePath (BD Diagnostics–TriPath, Burlington, NC) preparations that were manually screened and 1,656 ThinPrep Pap tests (Hologic, Bedford, MA) that were imaged using the ThinPrep Imaging System (Hologic). We compared the sensitivity of RPS, 10% rescreening (R-10%), and routine screening (RS). In contrast with previously published findings, we found that RS + RPS did not improve screening sensitivity compared with RS + R-10%. These results support the following hypotheses: (1) Higher baseline RS sensitivity as a result of Pap test diagnoses standardization implemented for quality improvement purposes decreases the performance impact of RPS. (2) R-10% and RPS quality assurance methods detect diagnostic failures caused by different types of cognitive errors.

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