Objectives: To define minimum standards for provision of services and clinical practice in the investigation of anal cancer precursors.
Methods: After initial face to face meetings of experts at the International Papillomavirus meeting in Lisbon, September 17 to 21, 2015, a first version was drafted and sent to key stakeholders. A complete draft was reviewed by the Board of the International Anal Neoplasia Society (IANS) and uploaded to the IANS Web site for all members to provide comments. The final draft was ratified by the IANS Board on June 22, 2016.
Results: The essential components of a satisfactory high-resolution anoscopy (HRA) were defined. Minimum standards of service provision, basic competencies for clinicians, and standardized descriptors were established. Quality assurance metrics proposed for practitioners included a minimum of 50 HRAs per year and identifying 20 cases or more of anal high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSILs). Technically unsatisfactory anal cytological samples at first attempt in high-risk populations should occur in less than 5% of cases. Where cytological HSIL has been found, histological HSIL should be identified in ≥ 90% of cases. Duration of HRA should be less than 15 minutes in greater than 90% of cases. Problematic pain or bleeding should be systematically collected and reported by 10% or lesser of patients.
Conclusions: These guidelines propose initial minimum competencies for the clinical practice of HRA, against which professionals can judge themselves and providers can evaluate the effectiveness of training. Once standards have been agreed upon and validated, it may be possible to develop certification methods for individual practitioners and accreditation of sites.