Establishing Laboratory Best Practices Through National and Peer Group Comparisons with NPQR

May 22, 2018

While best practices are often shared in the literature and at national and regional meetings, establishing and actually implementing these best practices across laboratories has proved to be an ambitious goal. ASCP’s National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR), the first pathology-specific, institution-based registry, provides support for pathologists and lab professionals to drive improvement through the use of real-time data analytics from their own laboratories, integrated with national and peer group comparisons.

While a tremendous amount of data is housed in LIS and EMR systems, labs often experience frustration in the lack of customization available for reports on performance. A significant number of laboratories find themselves upgrading and changing LIS’s only to find that much of the functionality they once had is lost. NPQR is a platform to organize AP and CP LIS data into useful dashboards that are more malleable and detailed.

“You can’t make meaningful improvements until you know where you are starting from,” said Ali Brown, MD, FASCP, Medical Director of ASCP’s NPQR. “NPQR is able to provide objective data on lab performance, and those data can be used to assess a lab’s current state.”

“Once we are able to standardize LIS data across laboratories, we can assess variation between labs, and then we can look to labs that are doing things more effectively to share best practices,” Dr. Brown continued. “We want all labs to constantly strive to improve - NPQR provides that platform.”

ASCP subject matter experts have developed a set of consensus-based measures. NPQR captures and communicates these measures, presenting valuable data to aid labs in developing action plans to drive improvement, and helps labs effectively operationalize best practices. Once baseline data is examined, NPQR provides educational support to help facilitate downstream changes to improve patient care, starting in the laboratory. These valuable educational materials can be used to satisfy CME and MOC requirements, providing a practical resource for members with just one tool.

Regardless of the size of a lab, test volume or specialty focus, NPQR has measures that can be used to guide quality improvement. “This is a broad-reaching, standardized approach, and the measures are designed to include all facets of the laboratory, both clinical and anatomic pathology,” Dr. Brown said.

Another benefit of NPQR is that participants can use a subset of the registry’s measures to fulfill the requirements of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ MIPS program, a quality payment program that rewards or penalizes providers based on their performance. To learn more about the benefits of participating in NPQR, click here. For more information and descriptions of NPQR's measures click here.