Digital slides and ACGME resident competencies in anatomic pathology: An altered paradigm for acquisition and assessment

J Pathol Inform. 2011;2:27. doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.82052. Epub 2011 Jun 14.


Whole slide digital imaging technology has matured considerably over the past decade. Applications in pathology education are widespread and are rapidly transforming the manner in which medical students learn pathology and histology, and they have a novel and significant impact on postgraduate continuing medical education. Whole slide digital images for use in pathology graduate education have been slower in adoption and remain much less widespread. Emphasis on professional competency by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and credentialing organizations, however, appear poised to significantly increase. The convergence of these two forces is propitious for pathology training. This article examines the opportunities for the use of whole slide images (WSI) in pathology residency training along with the developing potential uses in each of the areas of competency, as categorized by the ACGME. Barriers to WSI adoption in the pathology community are identified along with potentially significant promoters for adoption in training and practice. Current literature and recent presentations are reviewed. Digital pathology coupled with emphasis on competency is a shift of tremendous magnitude that can dramatically improve our abilities to help trainees acquire, demonstrate, and maintain the skills to practice pathology in the generation ahead.

Keywords: Anatomic pathology; competency; digital pathology; quality assurance; resident education; virtual slides.