Pathology 2.0 in the Literature

| January 26, 2010

In December's issue of the American Journal of Clinical Pathology there is an interesting editorial by Dr. Mark Wick that discusses Pathology 2.0 in reference to two articles in the journal.  In summary, I think he feels there are uses in place for education and e-publications that are suitable and practical but thinks there are more serious considerations related to patient care, online communities related to diagnosis and/or treatment and patient privacy and security.  A brief look at his website (see link above) I think emphasizes these points and makes use of educational and informational services without being directly interactive with a patient or another health care provider/pathologist.

He concludes in his editorial, "Where, then, does this leave the status of Web 2.0 with respect to medical issues? One may appropriately state that its potential for education and practice enhancement is real and considerable. It is also true that electronic publications of scientific data are easier than ever and more widely disseminated than hard-copy contributions. However, definite problems exist regarding the veracity of some e-articles in medicine, proliferation of “charlatanesque” entries in the electronic medical literature, misconceptions about the production of “personalized” e-medical data, and the lack of compatibility and accessibility of computerized information from one medical system to another. These issues must be resolved before Internet-centered facts can be integrated confidently into diagnostic and therapeutic paradigms."

The two papers in AJCP this month are available below:

Pathology in the Era of Web 2.0.  William E. Schreiber MD and Dean M. Giustini MLS, MEd.


In the past few years, the term Web 2.0 has become a descriptor for the increased functionality of Web sites, including those with medical content. Most physicians do not know what Web 2.0 means or how it can impact their work lives. This review provides some background on the evolution of Web 2.0 and describes how its features are being incorporated into medical Web sites. Some potential applications of Web 2.0 in pathology and laboratory medicine are discussed, as are the issues that must be considered when adopting this new technology.

Pilot Study of Linking Web-Based Supplemental Interpretive Information to Laboratory Test Reports.  Brian H. Shirts, MD, PhD, Adi V. Gundlapalli, MD, PhD and Brian Jackson, MD.


Electronic medical records have the ability to link to reference material, providing clinicians with immediate access to information relevant to patient care. Adding relevant links to laboratory test results could add value while minimizing the volume of ancillary text presented.

We provided Web-based universal resource locator (URL) links with all results of 7 laboratory tests ordered at ARUP Laboratories (Salt Lake City, UT). URL links provided were modified 7 months later, and use between initial and subsequent URLs was tracked to establish frequency and duration of access to supplemental Web information.

Monthly Web-site hit rates for individual tests varied from 0.00% to 3.00% (median, 0.12%). Rare and specialty tests averaged higher hit rates. There was no decay in hit rate 9 months after URLs were removed from test reports.

We conclude that links to reference material are accessed by clinicians. The use of Web links months after links were no longer published raises an important issue of long-term maintenance and the resources required to support these features.

Category: Pathology News

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