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Outside the Lab Quality assurance and quality control, Regulation and standards, Laboratory management, Profession

Canada’s Quality Commitment

For Canadian pathologists, this year’s International Pathology Day brought more than just a celebration of their work. The pioneering release of quality framework recommendations for interpretive pathology (1) by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) and Canadian Association of Pathologists – Association Canadienne des Pathologistes (CAP-ACP).

Unlike other regions such as the US and UK, this framework is the first of its kind for Canada. According to John Srigley, expert lead of pathology and Chair of CPAC’s National Pathology Standards Committee, Canada’s pathology practices have been called into question over the last decade (2), and as a result, there has been a growing need for a unified set of recommendations. Those guidelines, says CAP-ACP President Victor Tron, are meant to inform interpretive pathology quality across Canada for practicing pathologist groups, hospitals, and provincial authorities.

The document conceptualizes the pathology testing cycle in three phases:

  • the pre-interpretive, where pathologists assess specimen IDs, clinical information, quality of gross description, and the quality of slides. 
  • the interpretive, where pathologists analyze case materials. 
  • the post-interpretive, where pathologists maintain report accuracy, timeliness, and proper completion, as well as delivering the report to the reporting physician.

It also explains the quality assurance specifics, oversight, and informatics involved in each phase of the process. To create the most informed document on best practices, the country’s leading pathologists were engaged – but Srigley emphasizes that the published framework is not a static document; the plan is to update it every two to three years so that the guidelines can evolve alongside Canadian pathology practice.

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  1., “Pan-Canadian quality assurance recommendations for interpretive pathology”, (2016). Available at: Accessed December 7, 2016.
  2., “Interpretive pathology quality”, (2016). Available at: Accessed December 8, 2016.
About the Author
William Aryitey

My fascination with science, gaming, and writing led to my studying biology at university, while simultaneously working as an online games journalist. After university, I travelled across Europe, working on a novel and developing a game, before finding my way to Texere. As Associate Editor, I’m evolving my loves of science and writing, while continuing to pursue my passion for gaming and creative writing in a personal capacity.

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