Needs and workflow assessment prior to implementation of a digital pathology infrastructure for the US Air Force Medical Service.
BACKGROUND: Advances in digital pathology are accelerating integration of this technology into anatomic pathology (AP). To optimize implementation and adoption of digital pathology systems within a large healthcare organization, initial assessment of both end user (pathologist) needs and organizational infrastructure are required. Contextual inquiry is a qualitative, user-centered tool for collecting, interpreting, and aggregating such detailed data about work practices that can be employed to help identify specific needs and requirements.
AIM: Using contextual inquiry, the objective of this study was to identify the unique work practices and requirements in AP for the United States (US) Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) that had to be targeted in order to support their transition to digital pathology.
SUBJECTS AND METHODS: A pathology-centered observer team conducted 1.5 h interviews with a total of 24 AFMS pathologists and histology lab personnel at three large regional centers and one smaller peripheral AFMS pathology center using contextual inquiry guidelines. Findings were documented as notes and arranged into a hierarchal organization of common themes based on user-provided data, defined as an affinity diagram. These data were also organized into consolidated graphic models that characterized AFMS pathology work practices, structure, and requirements.
RESULTS: Over 1,200 recorded notes were grouped into an affinity diagram composed of 27 third-level, 10 second-level, and five main-level (workflow and workload distribution, quality, communication, military culture, and technology) categories. When combined with workflow and cultural models, the findings revealed that AFMS pathologists had needs that were unique to their military setting, when compared to civilian pathologists. These unique needs included having to serve a globally distributed patient population, transient staff, but a uniform information technology (IT) structure.
CONCLUSIONS: The contextual inquiry method helped reveal similarities and key differences with civilian pathologists. Such an analysis helped identify specific instances that would benefit from implementing digital pathology in a military environment. Employing digital pathology to facilitate workload distribution, secondary consultations, and quality assurance (over-reads) could help the AFMS deliver more accurate, efficient, and timely AP services at a global level.
Published In/Presented At
Ho, J., Aridor, O., Glinski, D. W., Saylor, C. D., Pelletier, J. P., Selby, D. M., Davis, S. W., Lancia, N., Gerlach, C. B., Newberry, J., Anthony, L., Pantanowitz, L., & Parwani, A. V. (2013). Needs and workflow assessment prior to implementation of a digital pathology infrastructure for the US Air Force Medical Service. Journal of pathology informatics, 4, 32. https://doi.org/10.4103/2153-3539.122388
Diagnosis | Medicine and Health Sciences | Other Analytical, Diagnostic and Therapeutic Techniques and Equipment | Radiology
Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Medical Imaging