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News

Quest provides diagnostic testing for Ireland's cervical cancer screening programme

Quest Diagnostics : 23 June, 2008  (Company News)
The Irish National Cancer Screening Service (NCSS) has selected Quest Diagnostics to provide quality-assured screening services intended to improve medical outcomes and reduce anxiety wait time for women ages 25 to 60 who participate in Ireland's first nationwide cytology-screening programme.
'Cervical cancer is a terrible disease that often strikes when a woman is in the prime of her life,' said Ronald Kennedy, MD, corporate medical director, quality assurance in anatomic pathology, Quest Diagnostics. 'Our goal for this historic cytology-screening programme is to ensure that Irish women experience the highest quality of testing and service excellence, with the goal of minimising the incidence of cervical cancer. Our commitment to women's health, along with our industry leading quality-assurance practices, makes us imminently qualified to deliver the superior testing services that Irish women deserve.'

Quest Diagnostics' relationship with the medical community of Ireland began in 2006, when the Health Service Executive (HSE), the national health administrator for Ireland, engaged the services of Quest Diagnostics to help reduce a critical backlog of Pap-based cervical-cancer screening tests, also known as ‘Pap smears’, which required screening. Since early 2007, Quest Diagnostics has performed approximately 50,000 Pap smears in connection with this continuing project, helping to improve the delivery of timely results.

Under the cytology-screening programme, Quest Diagnostics will perform testing on approximately 300,000 Pap smears annually at two accredited, full-service laboratories in the USA. The company operates approximately 30 accredited full-service laboratories in the USA that could provide backup capabilities if required. In addition, Quest Diagnostics will provide general practitioners and consultant colposcopists in Ireland with a toll-free phone number to consult with Quest Diagnostics' medical experts about a patient's test results.

'We applaud the NCSS for its commitment to developing a nationwide program designed to improve the health of women through regular cervical-cancer screening,' said Kenneth R Finnegan, vice president, International, Quest Diagnostics. 'We look forward to working with the NCSS and the entire medical community of Ireland to deliver world-class diagnostic services that enhances the health of Irish women.'

Quest Diagnostics is a leading provider of cervical-cancer diagnostic-testing services, performing approximately 13 million Pap smears in 2007. Through the cytology-screening program, women in Ireland will benefit from services provided by a company that has adopted rigorous standards and training programmes for cytotechnologists and pathologists who screen and review Pap smears.

Quest Diagnostics requires its cytotechnologists and pathologists to successfully perform a Pap-based screening test prior to being considered for employment. In addition, the company requires that its cytotechnologists register with the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) as well as obtain accredited continuing education. The company also provides daily conferences using a multi-headed Microscope to train its pathologists and cytotechnologists to identify unusual characteristics from specimens taken from its sizeable test volume.

The company's laboratories are accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), which operates accreditation programs that align with international standards. Quest Diagnostics was the first diagnostic testing company to employ the principles of Six Sigma in its laboratories to promote operating and service quality. In addition, the company's medical and scientific staff, consisting of 900 individuals with medical degrees or PhD's, is the largest in the diagnostic testing industry.
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