In 2012, the Department of Pathology released two iPad apps that have attracted more than 33,000 users in over 100 countries. Now the department is updating the apps and creating new ones, thanks to a recent collaboration with Zhejiang DIAN Diagnostics Co., the largest private diagnostics laboratory in China.
The first two apps — the Atlas of Pancreas Pathology and the Atlas of Pancreatic Cytopatholgy — were co-developed by the departments of Pathology and Art as Applied to Medicine. Both were designed to improve the skills of medical residents, fellows and practicing pathologists to diagnose pancreatic conditions and are available for free.
Unlike a textbook, which may have one example of a certain lesion on the pancreas, the app provides numerous examples through photos, microscopic views and illustrated videos. Alone, the Atlas of Pancreatic Pathology consists of more than 1,500 photos and 40 illustrations.
“The apps harness the power of tablets to host a large number of images and make them interactive and with multimedia,” says Ralph Hruban, director of pathology. “Each person learns differently, and we can present materials in a number of formats that empower the user to learn in a way that feels best.”
Each app has an interactive teaching algorithm, or decision tree, that prompts users to answer questions to arrive at a diagnosis; a searchable image database where users can view examples based on a diagnosis or features of the tissue; flashcards; and an image-based quiz.
The updates were completed in April 2015. “It’s a win-win for both organizations,” says Hruban. “DIAN wanted access to the latest diagnostic educational information, and we wanted to update the apps and work on others.”
Through the collaboration, the team will develop iPad apps on the pathology of eye diseases, brain tumors, thyroid tumors and skin; thyroid cytopathology; gastrointestinal pathology; and prostate pathology. In addition, each app will be available in English and Chinese.