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Improvement in Medical Practice Overview

Improvement in Medical Practice (IMP) requirements must be reported as part of a reporting period every two years via PATHway. There are three aspects to IMP.

  • Laboratory Accreditation
  • Laboratory Performance Improvement and Quality Assurance
  • Individual Performance Improvement and Quality Assurance

Laboratory Accreditation

ABPath encourages voluntary accreditation of all laboratories and regards such accreditation as a very important part of systems-based practice. Accreditation status of the laboratory with which a diplomate is primarily associated must be reported to ABPath every two years, including if the laboratory is not accredited.

The accrediting agency must be appropriate for the diplomate’s scope of practice, such as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, The Joint Commission, College of American Pathologists, American Association of Blood Banks, or the National Association of Medical Examiners. If a laboratory is accredited by multiple agencies, a diplomate only needs to provide the laboratory's ID for one agency.

Laboratory Performance Improvement and Quality Assurance (PI/QA)

Inter-laboratory performance improvement and quality assurance programs are often a requirement of accreditation. In such cases, the proficiency testing program that is part of the accreditation process will meet the laboratory PI/QA requirement. Each laboratory with which a diplomate is associated must participate in inter-laboratory performance improvement and quality assurance programs appropriate for the spectrum of anatomic and clinical laboratory procedures performed in that laboratory.

Programs recognized and approved to meet this requirement include those sponsored by a Cooperating Society of ABPath.

Individual Performance Improvement and Quality Assurance (PI/QA)

Each individual pathologist must participate in at least one PI/QA activity or program per year appropriate for their principal professional activities.

Individual (PI/QA) Reporting Options (Click to Expand)

  • Participated in CLIA mandated cytology proficiency testing and passed.
  • Was an inspector for a Laboratory Accreditation Agency.
  • Meaningfully participated in a departmental or institutional quality committee (e.g., transfusion, infection control, patient safety, etc.).
  • Participated in an ABPath-approved slide review program (e.g., CAP’s PIP, ASCP’s CheckPath, etc.).
  • Participated in a QA/PI program sponsored by your institution/department approved by ABPath for IMP credit.
  • Participated in a society-sponsored QA/PI program.
  • Engaged in one or more activities to better understand the COVID-19 virus. (2020 ONLY)
  • Participated in an activity reported through the ABMS Portfolio Program.
  • Implemented a Choosing Wisely, and/or other test utilization, recommendation/initiative at your practice or institution.
  • Participated in an ABPath-approved Joint Commission OPPE at your practice or institution.
  • A peer reviewed publication that improves practice or patient care (first, second, or senior author). Counts as a PI/QA activity for the year of publication.
  • Program Director or Associate Program Director for an ACGME-accredited residency or fellowship program who initiates an activity that improves medical education.

Improvement in Medical Practice Individual Activity Approval Forms

Application forms are available below for approval of laboratory, individual, or departmental PI/QA activities or OPPE that are not part of a previously-approved program.  These forms and supporting documentation should be submitted to ABPath for approval determination before being reported by the diplomate to meet CC Improvement in Medical Practice requirements.

ABPath reserves the right to audit a pathologist’s participation in PI/QA activities and may require documentation to be submitted by the diplomate.

ABMS Core Competencies:  Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Practice-Based Learning and Improvement, Interpersonal and Communication Skills, Professionalism, and Systems-Based Practice


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