Clearpath, a product released by Dermpath Lab of Central States, is an application that changes the way Histopathology is done. This application provides an array of continually changing images to help a pathologist review new presentations of histological images.
A user will also be able to add subjective notes to help distinguish key pathological features and make reviewing the new material more efficient. User also has the ability to generate tests that will be able to test their knowledge and see how effective their study habits are.
Clearpath is a solid product that targets pathologists and provides an advantage over the traditional textbook; the images in this application are constantly updated so a user will see a myriad of images to have a deeper ability to identify pathologies.
There are over 400 slides of common histological presentations of pathologies a user can select through in order to expand their understanding of the material. This application is available for download on only the iOS platform but is very useful if you have an iPad. A user is able to scroll through images at a 40x objective size so a user can review even microscopic details within the cell.
In conjunction with high-resolution images, a user will also be able to review essential terms that must be memorized for any pathologist. Cell membranes, epithelial, and even nuclei can be highlighted in order to differentiate typical from atypical cellular structures. This will make it very clear when training your eye to differentiate between normal tissue and structures that must be further examined for pathological consideration.
After downloading, you must input basic background information and then open a large selection of slides. These slides correspond to clinical cases that are commonly encountered in the pathological department. This is a good resource because if a pathologist sees multiple cases of non-small cell lung cancers on a weekly basis, (a common disease with nearly 200,000 new cases per year in the United States), they better be masters of identifying cancerous from noncancerous cells.
Another nice feature is the fact that a user is able to generate quizzes based on the images in order to check their knowledge. After completing rotations in the pathological department, I know first-hand how important reviewing slides is in order to become a good pathologist. My attending would review at least 100 slides a day to distinguish pathologies and always had a reserved selection of normal histology in order to discern between ambiguous histology. At times, she would have to place the normal control next to the specimen and observe them for at least 5 minutes straight just trying to find differences.
Learning the physiology and mechanisms of the pathology only gets you so far in mastering Pathology but the most important thing to do is to memorize what is normal and what is not on slides. Luckily enough, a simple recipe to do this is to just review, review, and review.
Oftentimes, slides are never clear pathologies and categories such as “atypical squamous cells of underdetermined significance” are created in order describe such confusing pathologies. Outside of Pathology, having a print-out explaining that kind of histological report is one of the most frustrating things to receive in the hospital ward.
It is hard to manage patients when you don’t have a clear path of what you are trying to manage but unfortunately, this is the nature of medicine. There is very little in the “black” and “white” zones in medicine, and most is in the “gray.” Around the hospital wards, this is also true but luckily for most physicians, we are able to question patients and run a number of different tests in order to “rule out” pathologies to limit the number of possibilities we are considering.
In Pathology, your one option is to microtome more biopsies and use your best judgement to see if 1 of the 15 slides you ran had signs of pathological more favorable for one diagnosis over another. Considering the significance of what that histological report means for the management of the patient, a pathologist must do everything in their power to make sure that they are as skilled as possible to determine what they see. Reviewing slide after slide will aide a pathologist in determining slight variances in histology to make as accurate a diagnosis as possible.