The fruits of Digital Pathology in education
Pathology education has undergone a fundamental shift in recent years, driven by the proliferation of digital pathology tools to support the field’s digital transformation. Many institutions have recognized the potential of DPS in enhancing trainee education, conferences, multidisciplinary team meetings (e.g. tumor boards), and to additionally support collaboration. Embracing these cutting-edge digital technologies, pathologists have been able to maximize the impact of their educational efforts and leverage the benefits they offer.
The integration of digital pathology tools enables easily sharable and dynamic specialized training sets tailored to address specific topics or areas of interest. Trainees can now access and review comprehensive pathology metadata of de-identified patient cases, providing them with a rich and more in-depth learning experience. Through digital platforms and advanced software, trainees can navigate through entire digital slides, zoom in on specific regions of interest, and utilize advanced imaging techniques to enhance their understanding of various pathological conditions. This level of interactive and personalized learning has revolutionized pathology education by allowing trainees to engage with real-life cases in a more immersive and dynamic manner.
The Digital Anatomic Pathology Academy (DAPA) has been used by the Digital Pathology Association to curate and disseminate content. Starting in 2019, DAPA has been used as a pathology education platform that has over 1,000 users. It has curated over 800 subspecialized cases from 17 subject matter areas. The private DPA database includes access to almost 2500 whole slide images, in addition to having access to over 30,000 publicly curated whole slide images with pathology metadata.
On a broader scale, the advent of digital pathology methods has facilitated the mass consumption of educational content. Traditional training methods often relied on in-person lectures, textbooks, and physical slides, which posed limitations in terms of accessibility and reach. However, with the emergence of digital distribution channels, educational resources can now be disseminated to a wider audience. Streaming video platforms, for instance, enable pathologists to create and share educational videos that encompass lectures, case discussions, and practical demonstrations. Whole slide image viewing platforms have further expanded the accessibility of educational content by allowing pathologists from various locations to access and analyze digital slides remotely. DAPA has been hosting Grand Rounds sessions for its members. As of May 2023, five Grand Rounds sessions have been hosted with 521 registrants/participants. The platform in use has been widely well received.
Furthermore, the embedding of whole slide images into online publications enhances the educational value of scientific literature, enabling readers to interact directly with the digital slides discussed in research articles.
This presentation aims to shed light on the transformative impact of digital methods on pathologist training by examining the utilization of various popular distribution channels in comparison to traditional training approaches. By exploring the advantages offered by digital pathology tools, such as personalized training sets, remote access to digital slides, and the widespread dissemination of educational content, we can gain a comprehensive understanding of how these advancements have revolutionized the field of pathology education.
- Provide an overview and understanding of the impact digital pathology has had on pathology trainees' education.
Kristina Doytcheva, MD
The University of Chicago