The Role of the Cervical Cytology Practice Guidelines


Cervical Cytology Practice Guideline

Approved by the ASC Executive Board November 10, 2000



XII. The Role of the Cervical Cytology Practice Guideline


XII.A.  Intended Use


Guidelines must reflect consensus and have broad application in professional practice.137  As indicated in the Introduction, this Guideline focuses on the practical aspects of cervical cytology screening.  Its purpose is educational and proscriptive.  It is a compilation of current practices, laboratory accreditation standards from professional organizations, and regulatory requirements in the United States.  It reflects the spectrum of technical and analytical procedures that are available and commonly practiced in contemporary cytopathology laboratories. The Cervical Cytology Practice Guideline provides guidance for cytologists, clinicians, patients and others involved in cervical cytology screening.


XII.B.  The Role of Variability in Practice


Variability in analytical and technical methodologies does not imply an undesirable lack of standardization.  Differences may reflect practice variations that are dependent upon individual laboratory resources, client needs, and patient population.  A cytology laboratory may legitimately elect to use preparation methods, analytical processes, interpretive terminology and/or reporting comments that differ from those described in this document or those used in most laboratories.  These variations in practice, if conducted in accordance with regulatory and professional oversight, and documented in laboratory procedures, should be viewed as reasonable and customary.

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137  Bierig JR, Hirshfeld EB, Kelley JT, Raskin RD.  Practice parameters: Malpractice liability considerations for physicians.  Legal Med 1991; 207-225.