I had the sorry experience recently of trying to teach some basic upper GI tract pathology to a group of 4th year medical students going into surgery, by using a PowerPoint presentation, only to watch many of them glaze over and start peeking every few moments at their phones.

james deanIt may be that I don’t give good PowerPoint presentations, but I think there is something about PowerPoint that makes it difficult to convey the dynamic nature of tissue interpretation. This is problematic because many medical students do not rotate through Anatomic Pathology and thus don’t really have any idea what we actually do. Worse, even, they may assume that our work is boring – meaning that we will miss out on recruiting smart medical students for whom our specialty would be a great fit.

Shortly after this experience I was thinking about what I could do differently next time and learned about PathPresenter. Apparently the creators of this platform had also been contemplating a better way to convey histopathology to an audience, and they created a masterful solution.

PathPresenter allows you to basically embed whole slide images (WSIs) into a presentation and then select fields of interest from the WSI to show. However, what I love most is that within the presentation, you can move the whole slide image around and zoom in and out. This way you can weave educational slides with dynamic WSI’s seamlessly. You can upload your own WSI files if you want, or you can use the extensive library of WSI’s that the creators of PathPresenter have built and are constantly enlarging.

The platform is free to use and I am excited to start using it, especially the next time I am asked to give a lecture to medical students or to explain to a non-pathologist “what is it again that you do?”

My answer next time will be, “Watch, I’ll show you.”

 

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