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 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. For example the 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.

    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.

    2024 HistoQIP Programs

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

    Our Newest Programs

    Elevate your laboratory’s preanalytical processing steps for tissue and slide preparation of cell blocks (HQCLB) and targeted therapy (HQTAR), thus ensuring quality staining.

    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.


    Become a HistoQIP Grader

    NSH members who have completed at least one year of membership are welcome to apply to be a HistoQIP grader. Applications are now being accepted for 2024. Interested parties should send a completed application and a copy of their resume to the requested individuals listed on the bottom of the form. All applications must be submitted by December 31, 2023 in order to be eligible for review and consideration by the HQIP committee.

    Current HistoQIP graders must also complete and send in a new application in order to maintain their grading status. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of their current spot and will require them to apply as new graders for any subsequent grading cycle. They must have maintained their NSH membership to be eligible. Updated applications, along with a copy of their current Curriculum Vitae, must be submitted to all form contacts by December 31, 2023.

    Learn more about this role by visiting the CAP/NSH Histotechnology Committee Page 


    Practical Guide to Specimen Handling in Surgical Pathology