Resuscitating the teaching of anatomical pathology in undergraduate medical education: Web-based innovative clinicopathological cases.
AIMS: Medical education has undergone substantial change in recent years, resulting in shorter, more compact courses that often contain much less pathology than previously. There has also been a concurrent decrease in the academic pathologist workforce in Australia, such that medical schools struggle to deliver even this reduced pathology curriculum. This paper reports the development and evaluation of an innovative approach in an undergraduate medical school to supporting pathology lectures, through integrating pathology with clinical medicine. METHODS: A series of 32 clinical pathological cases (CPCs) was developed to replicate clinicopathological conferences in a small group format. The CPCs were based on the pathology lectures, developed by a multidisciplinary clinical team and delivered to the students by clinical tutors. Students had access to learning support resources on the School's Intranet in both the main campus and rural teaching sites. Digitised pathology images, Web-based delivery and semi-guided learning issues are the main characteristics of the pathology module. The module was evaluated by a ranking system by the medical students for two consecutive years. RESULTS: In both years, the CPC module achieved a high score when compared with other components of the pathology curriculum. Positive feedback and frequent inquiries were also received about the module. CONCLUSION: The Web-based CPC modules provide an important resource that can facilitate teaching of pathology to medical students in the main campus and rural teaching sites. The module provides an opportunity to improve the profile of pathology in the medical school, in a manner that is sustainable with only one academic pathologist. It has the potential to be used nationally and internationally because of its multidisciplinary nature and the flexibility in its mode of delivery.
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