Competency assessment is done internally by the laboratory, and assesses
each person as to their level of competency in terms of knowledge and
performing each task.

Proficiency assessment is done by an agency outside the laboratory, and
assesses the ability of the laboratory as a whole, in its ability to perform
specific tasks.

There is one agency, CAP, that has set up a proficiency assessment in
histology - HistoQIP. A quick overview can be found on the NSH web site at:

Call 800-323-4040 to order.

Twice a year, you will get a list of tissue and/or stain requirements.
Usually 2 H&E, 2 special stains and 1 IHC. You will recut the tissues from
previous cases or control blocks, stain them and submit them. A panel of
histotechs and pathologists evaluate your slides/stains for fixation,
processing, embedding, microtomy, staining and coverslipping. Your stained
slides will be sent back to you along with the panel's assessment of your
slides, and a summary of how everyone else who is participating did, so you
can compare your lab to other labs. Also included is an explanation of how
the stain works, and discussion of troubleshooting the stain.

Check with your Cytology or Clinical Pathology departments (Chemistry,
Microbiology, etc.). Many of theme may already be participating in their own
CAP proficiency assessments. They might still have a catalog.

For the CAP catalog, go to:

On the left side, click on Survey.
Then towards the bottom, click on Catalog. The catalog is over 200 pages
long, so look in the index for histology.

Or, once on the Survey page, click on Request a Catalog.

Very educational for labs, in my opinion (no, I'm not on the panel, but our
lab does participate).

Peggy A. Wenk, HTL(ASCP)SLS
William Beaumont Hospital
Royal Oak, MI 48073

----- Original Message -----
From: "Winters, Bert" 
Sent: Friday, October 08, 2004 12:04 PM

For histotech we have always had a competency check list but have never had
a preficiency test per se. Can anyone out there give me a example of what
they would include or how to run proficency test for histotechnolgists.

                                       Bert Winters HTL (ASCP)
                                       NORTHWEST COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
                                       ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, ILL

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