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Outside the Lab Histology, Training and education, Quality assurance and quality control, Regulation and standards, Pathologists’ assistants

New Guidelines on the Block

The College of American Pathologists (CAP) and the National Society for Histotechnology (NSH) have released guidelines on the uniform labeling of paraffin blocks and slides in surgical pathology (1). Their hope is that the recommendations will address current inadequacies, such as variations in practice in different laboratories.

“Careful and consistent labeling of paraffin blocks and microscopic glass slides is essential in the practice of surgical pathology to ensure patient safety and to reduce the potential risk of preanalytic error,” says Richard W. Brown, guideline co-chair. “We encourage pathologists and histology laboratory professionals to implement the new guideline in their individual practice settings as an additional quality assurance measure,” he adds.

The guidelines addressed 12 key recommendations (see Box), and CAP plans to update the guidelines as new evidence becomes available, with the aim of reducing error and improving patient care.

To read about what is being done in Europe to address the issue of preanalytical errors, please read our cover feature 'Avoiding Titanic Errors'

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  1. RW Brown, et al., “Uniform labeling of blocks and slides in surgical pathology: guideline from the College of American Pathologists pathology and laboratory quality center and the National Society for Histotechnology”, Arch Pathol Lab Med, [Epub ahead of print] (2015). PMID: 25897820.

About the Author

Roisin McGuigan

I have an extensive academic background in the life sciences, having studied forensic biology and human medical genetics in my time at Strathclyde and Glasgow Universities. My research, data presentation and bioinformatics skills plus my ‘wet lab’ experience have been a superb grounding for my role as an Associate Editor at Texere Publishing. The job allows me to utilize my hard-learned academic skills and experience in my current position within an exciting and contemporary publishing company.

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