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The widespread use of automated white blood cell (WBC) differential counts and computer generated whole slide imaging has decreased the time that the technical staff dedicates to morphological assessment of blood cells. However, technologists must maintain their morphological skills and laboratories are required to provide education and assess competency in this area on a regular basis.

Participation in this Q-PROBES study helps laboratories meet CLIA personnel requirements (Subpart M, 42 CFR §493.1) with CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program Checklist statements GEN.55500 with Competency Assessment of Testing Personnel with and The Joint Commission Standards HR. 01.05.03, 01.06.01, and 01.07.01 for training and education, competency, and evaluation of hospital personnel.


This study will help assess the effectiveness of educational and practical experience policies and procedures dedicated to
the laboratory’s efforts in maintaining technologist skills in the performance of accurate WBC differential counts and other
peripheral blood smear morphological assessment. The evaluation provided will assist in the construction of individual
educational programs for the technical staff and will highlight areas of improvement to focus on.

Data Collection

Information will be collected from each site regarding their institution’s minimum qualification and experience
requirements of their technologists, their ongoing educational programs in peripheral blood smear evaluation, as well as
relevant procedures and policies.
A series of online, whole slide images of Wright-Giemsa stained peripheral blood smears using DigitalScope® technology
will be available to each participating institution to assess technologists’ performance on WBC differential counts and
morphology assessment. Participants will also provide information about their competency assessment programs,
continuing education, and professional background. Each program ordered provides input forms for use by up to 10
technologists. Laboratories that need forms for more than 10 individuals should order additional programs (available in
multiples of 10).

Performance Indicators

  • Individual technologist score (%) based on a standardized competency assessment method to determine a technologist’s
    ability to identify various WBC types, red blood cell morphology, and platelet morphology in normal and abnormal cases
  • Overall laboratory score based on the facility’s individual technologist performance(s)

A summary of responses to the general questions will be provided to participants.

Shipping Schedule

A Mailing: December 9, 2019

Additional Information

This is a one-time study conducted in the first quarter.

Q-PROBES qualify for Self-Reported Training Opportunities to be used for fulfilling requirements for certification maintenance by agencies such as the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Please verify with your certifying agency to determine your education requirements.

For Comprehensive Collection of Tools, see Quality Management Tools.

Select Q-PROBES and Q-TRACKS studies to support your quality improvement initiatives.
Anatomic Pathology
Clinical Pathology
Turnaround Time
Patient Safety
Transfusion Medicine
Chemistry/ Hematology
Customer Satisfaction
Technical Competency Assessment of Peripheral Blood Smears (QP201)
Red Blood Cell Utilization: Single and Double Unit Transfusions (QP202)
Inpatient Test Utilization and Volume Benchmarking (QP203)
Turnaround Time for Image with Guided Breast Needle Biopsy Specimens (QP204)
Patient Identification Accuracy (QT1)
Blood Culture Contamination (QT2)
Laboratory Specimen Acceptability (QT3)
In-Date Blood Product Wastage (QT4)
Gynecologic Cytology Outcomes: Biopsy Correlation Performance (QT5)
Satisfaction with Outpatient Specimen Collection (QT7)
Stat Test Turnaround Time Outliers (QT8)
Critical Values Reporting (QT10)
Troponin Turnaround Times (QT15)
Corrected Results (QT16)
Outpatient Order Entry Errors (QT17)

*The CAP requires accredited laboratories to have a quality management plan that covers all areas of the laboratory and includes benchmarking key measures of laboratory performance (GEN.13806, GEN.20316, COM.04000). The Joint Commission requires accredited hospitals to regularly collect and analyze performance data (PI.01.01.01, PI.02.01.01). CLIA requires laboratories to monitor, assess, and correct problems identified in preanalytic, analytic, and postanalytic systems (§493.1249, §493.1289, §493.1299).