Impact of the transition to digital pathology in a clinical setting on histopathologists in training: experiences and perceived challenges within a UK training region.
Browning L., Winter L., Cooper RA., Ghosh A., Dytor T., Colling R., Fryer E., Rittscher J., Verrill C.
AIMS: With increasing utility of digital pathology (DP), it is important to consider the experiences of histopathologists in training, particularly in view of the varied access to DP across a training region and the consequent need to remain competent in reporting on glass slides (GS), which is also relevant for the Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists part 2 examination. Understanding the impact of DP on training is limited but could aid development of guidance to support the transition. We sought to investigate the perceptions of histopathologists in training around the introduction of DP for clinical diagnosis within a training region, and the potential training benefits and challenges. METHODS: An anonymous online survey was circulated to 24 histopathologists in training within a UK training region, including a hospital which has been fully digitised since summer 2020. RESULTS: 19 of 24 histopathologists in training responded (79%). The results indicate that DP offers many benefits to training, including ease of access to cases to enhance individual learning and teaching in general. Utilisation of DP for diagnosis appears variable; almost half of the (10 of 19) respondents with DP experience using it only for ancillary purposes such as measurements, reporting varying levels of confidence in using DP clinically. For those yet to undergo the transition, there was a perceived anxiety regarding digital reporting despite experience with DP in other contexts. CONCLUSIONS: The survey evidences the need for provision of training and support for histopathologists in training during the transition to DP, and for consideration of their need to maintain competence and confidence with GS reporting.