Today in pathology, like in many other fields of medicine, we are facing a huge amount of (emerging) data, and a need for their practical implementation. The main idea behind HIPON project was to create an on-line platform for bridging the gap between theoretical and practical knowledge, important for pathological everyday work and science.
The project entitled “ICT e-modules on HistoPathology: a valuable online tool for students, researchers and professionals - HIPON”, co-ordinated by Dr Andreas C. Lazaris, Assoc. Prof. of Pathology at the Athens University Medical School, with partners from Zagreb, Nijmegen, Nicosia, and Skopje, and co-financed by the Lifelong Learning Program of the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, The Commission of the European Union, started in January 2013. After 34 months of hard work the final result, e-platform, is here and tested by groups of final users in Greece and Croatia.
It is known that future of medical education is experiential learning, and that teaching/learning processes will need to change. There is a need for greater and better interaction between teachers/tutors and students/learners, as well as for finding ways of transferring professional experience in the fastest, and, if possible, the most interesting ways.
We think that project HIPON has accomplished all of this, following mixed learning pathways using the best of ICT System in combination with great expertise of content developers, oriented to the end-users (students, residents and staff pathologists). Today, only 2 months before the official end of the project period we are proud to present our autonomous well-structured and user friendly, multi-language e-learning platform, specifically focused on histopathology, which provides a valuable teaching tool for students, researchers and professionals.
Figure 1: Presentation of one of the high resolution images available on the HIPON e-platform
HIPON is divided in general and systemic pathology, with additional tools like virtual portfolio, list of all resources and links, online game, and place we called histo-book, which is intended for inter-user communication. The basic concept underlying HIPON’s chapters is to have short introductions, with up to date information for certain organs/systems, with high quality images (Figure 1), followed by real-life cases which are used to show/teach users the way of thinking like somebody with a great amount of practical experience and knowledge. At the end of each chapter there is a test section, so that users can immediately see what did they learn (Figure 2). As a separate part of e-platform there is a glossary, and very useful image gallery, already mentioned as virtual portfolio (Figure 3). For the majority of cases there are virtual slides available, so users can navigate through them like on a real microscope, and search for diagnosis themselves, using all the help available in books, in on-line community, or HIPON platform itself. We are very proud of educational videos which enable step by step presentation of the diagnostic thought.
Figure 2. Sample of a test-question following case study with analysis
To put HIPON under real test, in Greece and Croatia 15 users were selected. Five from each group: students, young pathologist and experienced pathologist. They were able to go through the platform and use it as additional tool for learning or everyday diagnostics. After first month they evaluated the platform, and we were pretty satisfied with results, however with some points for improvement. Generally they were all very satisfied with the idea itself, and with the presentation of the platform. The main issue for all was that there were not all virtual slides available, and the ones available were opening too slowly. Another interesting point was that the amount of information in some chapters was for students too big, with too many details. On the other hand, younger pathologists were satisfied with that. Some minor points, like quality of certain pictures were also mentioned. After this initial evaluation, a lot of work has been done in improving, changing, and optimizing our platform.
By doing all this, after many hours of work, meetings (in live and virtual), congress presentations, papers published and thousands of emails exchanged we are proud to present our final product- an innovative platform which imprints medical experience in diagnostic practical issues of histopathology in order to assist learners gain practical insight of the theoretical background they are traditionally thought.
Figure 3. Part of HIPON’s virtual portfolio
Learn more about HIPON project on www.hiponproject.eu, Twitter (@HiponProject) and Facebook (HIPON Project).