Wed, 15 Jul 2009
Halifax, July 15, 2009 — The Canadian Association of Pathologists (CAP) wrapped up its 60th annual meeting in Halifax today by introducing three measures to ensure that patients receive the best possible health care. These recommendations on testing standards, workload and cancer protocols stem from a five-point plan of action that CAP announced in 2008.
“Canada’s pathologists are committed to providing the best care possible and if adopted nationally, these important new recommendations will mean better results for our patients and the health care system,” said Dr. Jagdish Butany, past president of CAP.
CAP's first set of recommendations concern test quality assurance (QA) in the area of clinical immunohistochemistry (IHC). IHC tests are used to determine if cancer is present and to identify appropriate treatment.
"We have been calling for this initiative for some time now. We must now all join efforts on a national initiative to standardize the IHC testing process, develop recognized educational activities for technologists and pathologists, and implement recommendations for best practices in both, internal and external quality assurance programs," said Dr. Emina Torlakovic, Chair of CAP's National Standards Committee for IHC. "This will help ensure that Canadian patients receive safe, timely and equitable care."
CAP's second report contains guidelines to adequately measure the appropriateness of a pathologist's workload. These recommendations will facilitate planning, ensure reasonable task distribution across departments, and provide benchmarks for what is a practical and safe workload.
"In the past, workload standards for pathologists have been based largely on population and budget. This is clearly inadequate and has led to the chronic understaffing and overwork that we see today," said Dr. Raymond Maung, Chair of CAP's Workload and Workforce Planning Committee. "Modern measurement should take into account the complexity of cases, ongoing training and educational requirements, proper QA activities, patient-care activities, academic teaching and the time it takes to produce detailed pathology reports."
CAP has also formally endorsed the Cancer Protocols developed by the College of American Pathologists in collaboration with a broad range of medical professionals and institutions. These protocols will assist pathologists in providing uniform relevant information when reporting results of surgical specimen examinations. They also allow these results to be vetted by a larger population.
"This collaboration is a unique international partnership between some of the brightest medical scientists in the health care profession," said Dr. M. Elizabeth Hammond, member of the Council of Scientific Affairs at the College of American Pathologists. "It employs the multidisciplinary best practices, skills and talents of those actively involved in the assessment of cancer pathology.”
"Over the course of our annual meeting, about 200 pathologists from across the country gathered to discuss issues and determine ways to improve how we care for our patients," concluded Dr. Geldenhuys, president of CAP. "The three measures that we've introduced today form part of the Canadian Association of Pathologists’ continuing efforts to fulfill our mission to provide national leadership in pathology and laboratory medicine to promote excellence in practice."
For more information, please contact:
Media Relations Manager, Canadian Medical Association
800 663-7336 or 613 731-8610 ext. 1266
Cell: 613 447-0866
Association Manager, Canadian Association of Pathologists
Media Relations Manager
College of American Pathologists
800-323-4040, ext. 7319