Writing a Curriculum for an Informatics Rotation

10 08 2010

With the ACGME visit just around the corner, we’ve begun the typical frantic scramble to ensure a 100% dotted-i and crossed-t count here at AMC.  Part of that dance included updating/creating curricula for some of the CP rotations here.  As such, I volunteered to create a formal curriculum for our Pathology Informatics Rotation which is currently based on the one used at University of Pittsburgh.

I had never written such a document before, so I started by attempting to Google others that I could use as a scaffold; perhaps unsurprisingly, there wasn’t much out there, so I decided to use another rotation’s curriculum as a base and just work from there.  The wording was a bit challenging, but I think in the end it came together nicely.

That said, I present the following.
Please add your thoughts/comments below!


Overall Objectives:

Pathology Informatics is a broad and burgeoning discipline.  As technology is ever-evolving, it has become incumbent upon pathologists to keep abreast of the upcoming trends and innovations in the field of Informatics, both on the Clinical and Anatomic sides of Pathology.  At this point, basic computational competency is required for the normal conduction of the practice of pathology with new technologies being integrated into general practice on an increasingly frequent basis.

Unlike some other disciplines, there is a significant variance in the individual’s starting experience and comfort level associated with Informatics.  As such, the goal of this rotation is to provide both a solid foundation in the general terminology and basic functions and applications of Pathology Inforamtics in daily practice as well as insight into some of the more complex areas of the field including the discussion of evolving technologies.

Topics to be covered include: hardware and software basics, networking and communication standards, Laboratory Information Systems (LIS), efficient internet-based literature search techniques, basic data analysis, digital imaging and telepathology, quality control and regulation issues and emerging technologies.

Because the field changes so rapidly, it is most appropriate that the curriculum be primarily based on the internet (as opposed to printed paper), and therefore consist primarily of a series of self-paced Power Point lectures and trusted web sites including the web curriculum originally developed by the University of Pittsburgh (Source: https://secure.opi.upmc.edu/VRPI/index.cfm)

Specific Goals of the Rotation:

At the completion of the Rotation the Resident should:

  • Understand the basic hardware and software components involved in basic computing.
  • Be familiar with the different types of digital imaging for gross and microscopic specimens.
  • Be able to conduct an efficient literature search using various online resources.
  • Understand the basic purpose and function of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and Lab Information Software (LIS)
  • Understand the principle behind software databasing and its use in anatomic and clinical pathology practices.
  • Realize the privacy concerns raised by digital-based information and communication.

Specific Competencies for Pathology Informatics

The Resident Will:

1.            Patient Care:

  • Show understanding of the possible uses of technology to improve the expedition of patient care.
  • Realize the current limitations of available technologies.

2.            Medical Knowledge:

  • Demonstrate good fund of general medical knowledge as well as basic technical knowledge in the field of Informatics including:
    • Basic concepts behind digital microscopy, and telepathology.
    • The ability to identify different components of computer and microscope hardware.
    • Basic understanding of Lab Information Software (LIS) as well as database structure and function.
  • Be able to conduct efficient literature searches using various reputable periodical search engines.

3.              Practice-based Learning and Improvement:

  • Feel confident using a computer and the internet for work-related activities.
  • Be able to scan a glass side into digital form using the NanoZoomer.

4.             Interpersonal and Communication Skills:

  • Be able to utilize various digital means of communication between fellow physicians, staff and patients.
  • Improve comfort level in delivering PowerPoint-based presentations.

5.            Professionalism:

  • Understand the particular nuances of privacy in the digital age and the legal differences between digital and traditional means of communication.
  • Be aware of the privacy concerns surrounding the storage and transmission of patient information.

6.            System-based Practice:

  • Investigate the current literature regarding the comparative accuracy and confidence associated with digital pathology as opposed to traditional glass side reading.
  • Be conscious of the scope of the cost of currently available and evolving technologies.  Be able to discuss the cost-effectiveness and practicality of adopting various hardware or software solutions.
  • Understand the concept of standards for the exchange of information between different interfaces.

Rotation Requirements:

  • Take the online pre-test.
  • Complete online syllabus originally created by the University of Pittsburgh, found here:
  • Read the required chapters from the Sinard Book.
  • Prepare a 15-30 minute lecture on a specific area of Informatics for resident presentation.
  • Digitize at least one slide into the NanoZoomer.
  • Complete the online post-test.

Method of Assessment:

  • Internet-based Pre- and Post-Rotational Test.
  • Lecture evaluations.
  • Self-assessment from pre/post-tests.



One response

11 08 2010

Strong work. Well done.

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