Objective: To assess the introduction of computer-assisted Pap test screening in cervical cancer screening. Various scenarios are considered: conventional and liquid-based cytology (LBC) slides, fully automatic instrumentation (Becton Dickinson FocalPoint™ Slide Profiler and Hologic ThinPrep® Imaging System), and semiautomatic scanner (Hologic Integrated Imager I-Squared). Methods: A working group was formed that included researchers from the largest centers already using instrumentation. A questionnaire on laboratory management and on social/ethical issues and annual workload was proposed. Prices for the technology were obtained directly from the producers; costs were calculated from observed and literature data. The scope of the report and final draft were submitted to a consulting committee of stakeholders. Results: The break-even point was found to be 49,000 cases/year, if conventional slides were used, while it was near the theoretical maximum capacity, 70,000 cases/year, with LBC slides. Efficiency increased with the volume of slides. Screening time decreased by two thirds for conventional slides and by less than half for LBC slides. Acceptance of the instrumentation by the users was good. Conclusions: Computer-assisted screening may increase productivity even if in most situations it will mean additional costs. Furthermore, primary screening with human papillomavirus tests will drastically reduce the need for Pap test reading.

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