In the immense field of modern pathology, an extensive amount of data is available, but,as much as possible, practical skills are requested to be developed by medical students, researchers and professionals. The conversion of the extensive amount of available data into medical experience represents one of the most important tasks in medical education; the challenging prospect of building a new multi language e-learning platform was launched at the beginning of 2013.
The relevant project, entitled “ICT e-modules on HistoPathology: a valuable online tool for students, researchers and professionals - HIPON”, and co-financed by the Lifelong Learning Program of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, The Commission of the European Union, has resulted in a valuable teaching instrument which aims to transmit professional experience in pathology, bridging both the worlds of education and work.
In each HIPON chapter, a different system/organ of the human body is presented, through the use of virtual slides, educative videos and microscopic, enlargeable images of very high resolution. Each chapter opens with an overview where the main normal architecture, as well as the basic morphologic patterns of injury of the relevant tissue are described. Several case study presentations come next, simulating the same process a pathologist follows, in every day practice. The users are required to act as pathologists, taking care of the most relevant patterns of injury when they examine the biopsy, choosing to request additional information when they think it is necessary ( see figure below ), and then, correlating all the pathological and clinic-laboratory data, they achieve the correct diagnosis. An image-based test appears at the end of each chapter in order to evaluate the acquired knowledge.
Figure: The possible selection of immunohistochemical stains, among the additional information available, in a case study of HIPON chapter on testicular neoplasia.
The platform is constructed in such a way so as to teach the learner how a pathologist thinks in order to reach a final diagnosis; thus the learner will gain medical experience in the analytical diagnostic process, without spending too many years examining real samples in order to assess his/her own diagnostic criteria.