Twenty-five years of accomplishments of the College of American pathologists Q-Probes program for clinical pathology

Peter J. Howanitz*, Peter L. Perrotta, Christine P. Bashleben, Frederick A. Meier, Glenn E. Ramsey, Larry W. Massie, Roberta L. Zimmerman, Donald S. Karcher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Context: During the past 25 years the College of American Pathologists' (CAP) Q-Probes program has been available as a subscription program to teach laboratorians how to improve the quality of clinical laboratory services.

Objective: To determine the accomplishments of the CAP Q-Probes program.

Design: We reviewed Q-Probes participant information, study data and conclusions, author information, and program accomplishments.

Results: During this time 117 Q-Probes clinical pathology studies were conducted by 54 authors and coauthors, 42 899 laboratories enrolled from 24 countries, 98 peer-reviewed publications occurred and were cited more than 1600 times and the studies were featured 59 times in CAP Today. The most frequent studies (19) focused on turnaround times for results or products at specific locations (emergency department, operating room, inpatients, outpatients), specific diseases (acute myocardial infarction, urinary tract), availability for specific events such as morning rounds or surgery, a specific result (positive blood cultures), and a method on how to use data for improvement (stat test outliers). Percentile ranking of study participants with better performance provided benchmarks for each study with attributes statistically defined that influenced improved performance. Other programs, such as an ongoing quality improvement program (Q-Tracks a laboratory competency assessment program, a pathologist certification program, and an ongoing physician practice evaluation program (Evalumetrics), have been developed from Q-Probes studies.

Conclusions: The CAP's Q-Probes program has made significant contributions to the medical literature and has developed a worldwide reputation for improving the quality of clinical pathology services worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1149
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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