What is HistoQIP?

HistoQIP is a quality assurance program for histopathology, jointly sponsored by the National Society for Histotechnology and the College of American Pathologists.

The primary emphasis of the program is to improve the quality of histologic preparations routinely performed in the histology laboratory through education. For each set of slides submitted, participants will receive an evaluation specific to their laboratory, an educational critique, and a participant summary report that includes peer comparison data, performance benchmarking data, and information regarding best-performing procedures and techniques.

Semiannually, participating laboratories submit stained slides from different cases that may require H&E, special stain, and immunohistochemistry slides. These will include recuts of specific surgical tissue types that will vary from one challenge to the next. Submitted slides will be evaluated for histologic technique by an expert panel of histotechnologists, histotechnicians, and pathologists using uniform grading criteria. Areas of evaluation include:

  • Fixation,
  • Tissue processing and embedding,
  • Microtomy,
  • Staining,
  • Coverslipping.
Click here to listen to a podcast explaining the program and its benefits produced by CAPcast on iTunes.

Program FAQs

Can our lab participate in more than one HistoQIP program?

  • Yes, a laboratory can participate in as many programs as they want to sign up for. The new biopsy programs were developed in direct response to requests from specialized labs that wanted more quality improvement information for high volume biopsy tissues. Some laboratories sign up for several of the same program and use these as proficiency testing for their histotechnologist.

Why are mislabeled or unlabeled slides not graded?

  • By not grading the mislabeled slide the HistoQIP committee is indicating the serious nature of the error made when slides are submitted unlabeled or mislabeled. Quality assurance procedures must be in place in the laboratory to avoid this type of error from happening on patient and control slides and must be used when submitting HistoQIP slides.

Why are slides not graded when the incorrect tissue is selected or the incorrect stain is applied?

  • The ability to follow directions is critical in the laboratory. As part of a quality assurance program, the use of the incorrect tissue for a control or applying the wrong stain to a control or patient section should be caught and the error corrected before submission. HistoQIP wants to ensure the laboratory understands that a serious error was made and that the slides are not graded.

Is there an additional fee for the continuing education credits from HistoQIP?

  • No, one fee for the program covers the review slides, participant summary information and the final critiques; which includes the CE portion. All laboratory staff can participate in the online education. Just follow the instructions included in the final critique to access the CAP website and create an individual access code for each staff member who wants to participate.

Why are the slides not returned?

  • The slides submitted are retained to keep the cost of the program low. For those participants who wish to review their results, we recommend creating a duplicate set of stained slides and keeping one set for that purpose.

How do I order HistoQIP?

  • Orders are placed through CAP: 800-323-4040, option 1.

HistoQIP Series

Learn more about (or purchase) specific HistoQIP educational programs:

Need Help?

To purchase a HistoQIP program by phone or for more information regarding offerings, please call a CAP Customer Contact Center representative at 800-323-4040, option 1.

Order HistoQIP Online

Participants will receive an evaluation specific to their laboratory, an education critique, and a Participant Summary that includes peer comparison data, evaluators' comments, and performance benchmarking data. 

Become a HistoQIP Grader

Due to the COVID-19 impact on 2020 grading, applications for new graders are not being accepted for 2021. New graders selected for the 2020 grading session will assume the new grader positions for 2021. The program is limited to adding new graders due to space and the number of microscopes available. New grader applications will be accepted in December 2021 and will be considered for the following year, providing that new graders from 2020 are able to grade in 2021.

Current graders must complete the grader application to maintain your grading status. All graders must maintain their NSH membership to be eligible and must submit applications with your current Curriculum Vitae annually by December 31:


Practical Guide to Specimen Handling in Surgical Pathology