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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2017 Mar;141(3):431-436. doi: 10.5858/arpa.2016-0228-OA. Epub 2017 Feb 3.

An Assessment of Pathology Resident Access to and Use of Technology: A Nationwide Survey.

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From the Department of Pathology (Dr Vallangeon) and Duke Office of Clinical Research (Messrs Hawley and Sloane), Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina; and the Department of Pathology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina (Dr Bean). Dr Vallangeon is now with the Department of Pathology, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina.



- Current technologies including digital slide scanners and handheld devices can revolutionize clinical practice and pathology graduate medical education (GME). The extent to which these technologies are used in pathology GME is unknown.


- To determine the types of technologies used, usage amount, and how they are integrated into pathology residency/fellowship programs nationwide.


- A 40-question online survey for residents/fellows was developed and administered via the Research Electronic Data Capture System after institutional review board approval.


- Fifty-two program directors (37%) gave permission for participation. One-hundred seventy-one responses were received (18% response rate). Most respondents have access to personal technology (laptop = 78% [134 of 171]), smartphone = 81% [139 of 171], tablet = 49% [84 of 171]), and Web-based digital slide collections (82%, 141 of 171). Few residents are provided electronic devices by their programs (laptop = 22% [38 of 171], smartphone = 0.5% [1 of 171], and tablet = 12% [21 of 171]). Fifty-nine percent have access to digital slide scanners, 33% have access to a program-created database of digitized slides, and 52% use telepathology. Fifteen percent have access to asynchronous learning. Of those with access to video-recorded conferences, 89% review them. Program size was significantly positively correlated with resident access to program-provided laptops (P = .02) and tablets (P < .001), digital slide scanners (P = .01), and telepathology (P = .001). Of all devices, program-provided laptops are used most for professional work (60.5% use this device for more than 5 hours per day).


- Most residents report access to multiple types of innovative technology, but incorporation of these tools within pathology training programs is highly variable. Opportunities for incorporating innovative technologies exist and could be further explored.

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