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J Pathol Inform. 2019 Jun 18;10:18. doi: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_15_19. eCollection 2019.

Improving Medical Students' Understanding of Pediatric Diseases through an Innovative and Tailored Web-based Digital Pathology Program with Philips Pathology Tutor (Formerly PathXL).

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
UPMC Pathology Informatics, PA, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.



Online "e-modules" integrated into medical education may enhance traditional learning. Medical students use e-modules during clinical rotations, but these often lack histopathology correlates of diseases and minimal time is devoted to pathology teaching. To address this gap, we created pediatric pathology case-based e-modules to complement the clinical pediatric curriculum and enhance students' understanding of pediatric diseases.


Philips Tutor is an interactive web-based program in which pediatric pathology e-modules were created with pre-/post-test questions. Each e-module contains a clinical vignette, virtual microscopy, and links to additional resources. Topics were selected based on established learning objectives for pediatric clinical rotations. Pre- and post-tests were administered at the beginning/end of each rotation. Test group had access to the e-modules, but control group did not. Both groups completed the pre/post-tests. Posttest was followed by a feedback survey.


Overall, 7% (9/123) in the control group and 8% (13/164) in the test group completed both tests and were included in the analysis. Test group improved their posttest scores by about one point on a 5-point scale (P = 0.01); control group did not (P = 1.00). Students responded that test questions were helpful in assessing their knowledge of pediatric pathology (90%) and experienced relative ease of use with the technology (80%).


Students responded favorably to the new technology, but cited time constraints as a significant barrier to study participation. Access to the e-modules suggested an improved posttest score compared to the control group, but pilot data were limited by the small sample size. Incorporating pediatric case-based e-modules with anatomic and clinical pathology topics into the clinical medical education curriculum may heighten students' understanding of important diseases. Our model may serve as a pilot for other medical education platforms.


Medical education; Philips Tutor; online modules; pediatric pathology; virtual microscopy

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