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Digital Pathology for E-Learning and Digital Education – A Review

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    Title: Digital Pathology for E-Learning and Digital Education – A Review
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    Date: 2016
    Publication type: Technical report
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    1. Digital Pathology
    2. E-learning; Digital Education
    3. Telepathology

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    Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


    Recent advances in information technology and telecommunications have made significant improvement in the delivery of education in pathology using a digital format. Digital pathology (DP) images are captured as static images by various scanning, imaging or mobile devices. Whole slide imaging/virtual microscopy (WSI/VM) can be obtained by robotic microscopy on an entire histological glass slide. Anonymized DP images may be stored in remote and/or cloud servers to be used in E-Learning and digital education. Since 1986, clinical services using telepathology (TP) technologies for the transfer of pathology images between distant locations have benefited many patients worldwide, including the University of Alberta. WSI by Real-time telepathology systems provides for a faster diagnosis in intraoperative frozen section and tele-consultations, as well as interactive components in digital education and continuing medical education (CME) for purposes of specialist re-certification or re-validation for the Royal College of Pathologists of Canada and College of American Pathologists. At present, the use of WSI by real-time TP system in DP education seems to be limited due to high bandwidth requirement and high expense, but electronic platforms and their connection to stable operating systems are improving enormously. Social media and mobile devices are increasingly being used in DP education and may provide future platforms for the delivery of DP education. However, full-scale implementations of technologies in DP education may be limited, due to limited resources and infrastructural support, and the lack of integration into the existing laboratory information systems (LIS) or Provincial Health Networks (PHN).