Innovations in Medical Education
Digitized Library of Pathology Specimens
Cheong Kin Ronald Chan and Ka Fai To
Abstract / Video
Department of anatomical and cellular pathology is a hybrid department dedicated to biomedical research, medical education and clinical duties, i.e. making diagnoses for patients. Throughout decades of clinical practice, we have accumulated a large number of excellent specimens useful for teaching students. Teaching resources of different formats, including physical and digitised ones, with their corresponding descriptions, were indexed and stored separately, making retrieval very inefficient.
Two years ago, with support from teaching and development grant, we started a project to produce an indexed library of all available teaching materials on a web-based application with a powerful search system. We also took this opportunity to review and create new teaching cases.
The web-app is built on Yii framework in PHP language, with database support provided by MariaDB. It was developed by a USA/ India programming house in early 2018. Another software was also acquired from a Belgium company to facilitate the visualization of the digitized full slide image. Both systems integrated, the online specimen library allows mobile-friendly rendering of all specialized specimens formats we own, easy searching with immediate suggestions, hierarchical organization of body organs and diseases for classification, laymen friendly uploading and editing workflow and flexibility for future extension.
With help from recruited student helpers, 800+ interactive gross specimens 200+ digitized glass slides have been uploaded to the database, including specimens used in all tutorials offered to medical students arranged by our department. The system is scheduled to go online in early 2019.