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Acad Pathol. 2017 Feb 10;4:2374289517691061. doi: 10.1177/2374289517691061. eCollection 2017 Jan-Dec.

NDER: A Novel Web Application for Teaching Histology to Medical Students.

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Department of Pathology, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, WA, USA.


Medical students require a strong foundation in normal histology. However, current trends in medical school curricula have diminished time devoted to histology. Thus, there is a need for more efficient methods of teaching histology. We have developed a novel software program (Novel Diagnostic Educational Resource; that uses annotated whole slide images to teach normal histology. Whole slide images of a wide variety of tissues were annotated by a trainee and validated by an experienced pathologist. Still images were extracted and transferred to the Novel Diagnostic Educational Resource web application. In Novel Diagnostic Educational Resource, an image was displayed briefly and the user was forced to identify the tissue type. The display time changed inversely based on cumulative accuracy to challenge the user and maintain engagement. A total of 129 second-year medical students completed the 30-minute Novel Diagnostic Educational Resource module. Surveys showed an increase in confidence from premodule (0% extremely confident, 4% very, 47% somewhat, and 49% not) to postmodule (9% extremely confident, 57% very, 32% somewhat, and 2% not), P < .0001. Accuracy increased from 72.6% pretest to 95.7% posttest, P < .002. The effect size (Cohen d = 2.30) was very large, where 0.2 is a small effect, 0.5 moderate, and 0.8 large. Ninety-six percent of students would recommend Novel Diagnostic Educational Resource to other medical students, and 98% would use Novel Diagnostic Educational Resource to further enhance their histology knowledge. Novel Diagnostic Educational Resource drastically improved medical student accuracy in classifying normal histology and improved confidence. Additional study is needed to determine knowledge retention, but Novel Diagnostic Educational Resource has great potential for efficient teaching of histology given the curriculum time constraints in medical education.


digital pathology; e-learning; histology; informatics; medical education

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Conflicting Interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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