The RCPA quality assurance program in dermatopathology: A retrospective review

Martyn Peck, Trevor W. Beer, Tony Badrick, Benjamin A. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Aims: To review the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (RCPA) Quality Assurance Program Dermatopathology module from 2005 to 2016 to assess diagnostic performance, changes over time, and areas of diagnostic difficulty. Methods: The computerized records of the RCPA Dermatopathology subspecialist module were reviewed. Cases were categorized into groups including nonneoplastic disorders, neoplasms, and cases with multiple diagnoses. The performance of participants over time in each of these categories and in more specific areas (including melanocytic and adnexal neoplasms) was assessed. Cases which showed high rates of discordant responses were specifically reviewed. Results: One hundred sixteen cases circulated over 10 years were evaluated. The overall concordance rate was 77%, with a major discordance rate of 7%. There was a slightly higher concordance rate for neoplasms compared with nonneoplastic lesions (80% vs. 74%). Specific areas associated with lower concordance rates included classification of adnexal tumors and identification of multiple pathologies. A spindle cell nevus of Reed yielded a 40% discordance rate, with most misclassifications indicating melanoma. Conclusions: The RCPA quality assurance program module has circulated a wide range of common and uncommon cases to participants over the 12 years studied, highlighting a low but important rate of major discordant responses. Melanocytic lesions, hematolymphoid infiltrates, adnexal tumors, and identification of multiple pathologies are identified as areas worthy of particular attention in quality improvement activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-197
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Dermatopathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


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