John Sinard, M.D., Ph.D., Yale Medical School, New Haven, CT
Information systems have become an integral part of the practice of anatomic pathology. Whereas only a decade ago computerization of pathology workflow was considered somewhat of a luxury, it is now the rare pathology laboratory which does not use some sort of information system to manage at least some component of its specimen processing. As information systems becomes more fundamental to the practice of anatomic pathology, pathologists are being called upon to make decisions about how these systems will be implemented, upgraded, and used in their own departments and at their own institutions. This course is aimed at providing pathologists, residents, and/or administrators with the practical information they need to make intelligent, informed decisions about the deployment and use of information technology tools in their day-to-day practice of pathology.
The introductory part of the course will discuss different philosophies for pathology system administration (e.g. departmental based vs institutional based) and different architectures for system deployment (client-server systems and thin client technology).
Then, we will discuss an organized approach to critically evaluating software “features” available in many commercially available systems, and apply that framework to some of the more modern functionalities such as report distribution, synoptic reporting, digital imaging, internet connectivity, and speech recognition.
The next part of the course will focus on specific “problem areas” and provide tips for successful deployment. This will include Digital Imaging, Interfaces, and Teleconsultation. Most of the time will be spent discussing issues associated with capture, storage, and use of digital images. The discussion of each problem area will start very basic (What is a digital image anyway? What does JPEG mean? How many pixels do I need? What is HL7, and what happened to HL1 through HL6?) and progress to more detailed technical information (How do I build a scalable web-delivered image repository? What do interface engines do?), so there should be something for everyone.
Finally, the course will conclude with a look at the future of pathology and the role information systems and information management might have in shaping the practice of medicine.
Time will be allotted for open discussion of alternative solutions. A detailed syllabus, distributed at the course, will cover all of the topics discussed. Upon completion, attendees will be better positioned for both informed decision making and intelligent communication with the information systems groups at their institutions.