Educational Recuts on a Portable Hard Drive: A New Paradigm for Personal Slide Collections.
Roy E Lee, David S McClintock, Carlos R Ponce, John R Gilbertson, Anand S Dighe, Yukako Yagi. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
Background: Personal educational slide collections are a cherished tradition in pathology. Digital whole slide imaging (WSI) has become the de facto method of teaching histology and pathology in medical schools, but are not used extensively in residency. In this study we describe a system for managing large numbers of WSI slides on an inexpensive, portable hard drive. This approach obviates many infrastructure barriers of clinical WSI systems such as file storage servers, technical expertise, and network bandwidth overload, and can be used in a wide range of resident education applications.
Design: A diverse collection of 426 deidentified surgical pathology slides, comprised of both biopsies and resections, underwent WSI and the image files saved on an external, 320gb laptop hard drive connected to a standard laptop by USB cable. A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet was constructed that allowed annotation of diagnosis, comments, and a direct clickable link to the digital file. This method was vendor agnostic because file formats from different scanner vendors were used. A Likert survey was created and designed to assess system usability, preferences, and performance, as well as user technical expertise, concerns, desired uses, and benefits for such a system.
Results: In total, the digital slides took up 144gb of hard drive space, less than half of total hard drive capacity. Currently, a 320gb external laptop-sized hard drive costs less than $50 US. Bandwidth issues were limited to the speed of the external USB connection, resulting in faster performance than with network-based WSI systems. Lack of programming expertise was not an issue as Excel spreadsheets formed the backbone of the system. Initial impressions were strongly positive, with many requests for copies for studying at home. The formal Likert study is currently underway at multiple institutions and its results will be reported at a future date.
Conclusions: An all-digital version of the educational slide collection on a personal hard drive offers many compelling advantages. Although scanning hardware is required, traditional server and network infrastructure is not. Such a system introduces new dynamics within pathology education that have not been utilized to their maximum potential: slides are now retrievable and duplicated within seconds, and private collections can now include immunohistochemistry, FISH, special stains, and content from the clinical pathology realm, such as ANA's and ANCA's. This pilot study will lead to a more formal evaluation of the system.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011 9:30 AM
Poster Session III # 138, Tuesday Morning