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Cooperative industry partners dedicated to advancing anatomic pathology to benefit patient care by advocating and fostering quality, education, and best practices.


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Raleigh, NC 27612

Phone: 919.314.6561

Tissue Optimization and Pre-Analytic Standardization (TOPS) Program


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What is TOPS?

TOPS (Tissue Optimization and Pre-analytic Standardization) is APPIA’s first education program for your entire health care delivery team on the criticality of tissue pre-analytics. The TOPS program serves the interests of the patient’s diagnostic sample by providing best practice suggestions and guidelines on tissue handling and pre-analytics for surgeons, nurses, pathologists, laboratory technologists, educators and patient advocacy groups.

TOPS Downloadable Training Materials

TOPS Program Training Materials
Available Materials:

  • APPIA TOPS Program – for Advocacy Groups (.pptx)
  • APPIA TOPS Program – for Laboratory Personnel (.pptx)
  • APPIA TOPS Program – for Oncology & OR Nurses (.pptx)
  • APPIA TOPS Program – for Surgeons (.pptx)
  • APPIA TOPS Program – Full Presentation for Pathologists (.pptx)

TOPS: General Tissue Handling Guidelines

Best practices for handling specimens from tissue procurement through laboratory diagnostics (sample image of materials below):

TOPS Program Video Materials

TOPS Program – for Laboratory Personnel (Histotechnologists and Medical Technologists)
Click above link to watch video without CEU credit.
Speaker: Robert Lott, HTL (ASCP)
Recorded: June 23, 2021

Targeted specifically for professional laboratory personnel including Histotechnologists and Medical Technologists, this video is an introduction to the Tissue Optimization and Pre-analytic Standardization (TOPS) program developed by APPIA. Narrated by Robert Lott, HTL(ASCP), who is a frequent speaker and educator at both national and regional National Society for Histotechnology meetings and one of the collaborative authors of the complete APPIA TOPS Program, the video reviews what the histology and pathology laboratory can do to optimize tissue preservation and quality in clinical practice. It includes a review of “journey” of the tissue specimen from the patient to diagnosis including a review of the types of tests performed on a specimen. More importantly, the video provides an understanding of the impact of pre-analytic factors and variables and describes best practices and tools that laboratories can implement to optimize tissue preservation diagnostic quality.

Robert Lott Narration for 1 CEU Credit – credited through National Society for Histotechnology (NSH) – CEUs: This histology course is worth 1 continuing education credit. Course is available for 365 days from date of purchase. CEUs are accepted by ASCP, PACE, and Florida’s CE Broker when the course is accessed and completed from the NSH website.

Optimize Patient Outcomes by Improving Pre-Analytics
Click above link to watch video without CEU credit.
Speaker: Dr. David Hicks
Presented: November 17, 2020

Targeted for Pathologists and Pathology Assistants, this video is an introduction to the Tissue Optimization and Pre-analytic Standardization (TOPS) program developed by APPIA and is narrated by Dr. David G. Hicks, Professor of Pathology and Director of IHC-ISH Laboratory and Breast Subspecialty Service at the University of Rochester Medical Center. It provides a thorough review of how the lack of standardization of pre-analytic factors has the potential to negatively impact the quality of the tissue specimen for downstream diagnostic and molecular testing. Examples of best practices to help optimize tissue preservation and quality and how these can be implemented in clinical practice are discussed.

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