Implementing new technology in the laboratory can improve processes and patient care, but compliance with regulatory requirements can be a significant hurdle to clear. This study provides a detailed procedure to address user training, competency assessment, and internal validation of telecytopathology simultaneously, while fulfilling regulatory requirements set forth by the College of American Pathologists and CLIA ‘88.
Six pathologists participated in this study. Methods and materials used included a blind correlation study between diagnoses rendered via telecytopathology and via direct microscopy on 10 finalized fine needle aspiration (FNA) cases. The first step of this procedure involved each pathologist to render a diagnosis for each specimen using telecytopathology. The second step was to allow each pathologist to diagnose each specimen via direct microscopic review after a wait period of at least 6 weeks. The diagnoses rendered via telecytopathology were then compared to both the established final diagnoses and the secondary direct microscopic review diagnoses to examine interpathologist and intrapathologist reproducibility with a passing rate of 90% or better.
Results of the study yielded an average concordance rate of 96.67% for interpathologist reproducibility and 95% for intrapathologist reproducibility across all participating pathologists. All participants passed the assessment with a rate of 90% or better, proving evidence of competency.
This study confirmed user competency and validated telecytopathology as an effective tool for examining and diagnosing cytology FNA specimens remotely. It also satisfied regulatory compliance requirements to ensure high quality of diagnostic testing and patient care. Diagn. Cytopathol. 2015;43:3–7. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.