Assessing Diagnostic Accuracy to Drive Quality Improvement with NPQR

Jun 19, 2018

Establishing consensus-based definitions for the assessment of diagnostic accuracy in anatomic pathology (AP) is a challenging task. Unlike the often finite, numerical lab results generated in clinical laboratories, diagnostic reports in AP often contain a combination of standardized and more subjective information. ASCP’s National Pathology Quality Registry (NPQR), the first pathology-specific registry, provides a tool for the entire medical laboratory team to use real-time benchmarking data to assess diagnostic accuracy and drive improvement.

Although most AP labs have some sort of quality management program in place, there is significant variation in what comprises these programs and where labs are in terms of implementation. For instance, many labs have standardized practices for second review of all new malignancies, but perhaps do not have a practice for retrospective case review or the handling of major and minor diagnostic discrepancies.

Our team of ASCP members, with expertise in designing and implementing quality management programs in AP, has developed a set of consensus-based recommendations to assess analytical and diagnostic accuracy. NPQR captures and communicates information on diagnostic accuracy and translates these data to aid in developing an action plan. NPQR then helps labs effectively operationalize these recommendations through educational materials and shared best practices to help facilitate downstream changes to ultimately improve patient care.

“NPQR will help to disseminate best practices to aid labs in developing and refining their quality improvement activities,” said Ali Brown, MD, FASCP, Medical Director of ASCP’s NPQR. “Benchmarking data on diagnostic accuracy is useful in setting goals for improvement. Providing a forum for the sharing of these best practices and the establishment of useful definitions for difficult topics like what constitutes a diagnostic discrepancy is necessary for our profession.”

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’ Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (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.