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Comparison of virtual microscopy and glass slide microscopy among dermatology residents during a simulated in-training examination

Authors


Carilyn N. Wieland, MD

Department of Dermatology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA

Tel: +507-284-4672

Fax: +507-538-1689

e-mail: wieland.carilyn@mayo.edu

Abstract

Background

Virtual microscopy is increasingly being used in dermatopathology educational settings.

Objective

The objective is to evaluate diagnostic accuracy and attitudes between virtual microscopy and traditional glass slide microscopy among dermatology residents.

Methods

A 48-question dermatopathology examination was administered to 35 dermatology residents at three different dermatology residency training sites during the 2011–2012 academic year with half (n = 24) of the questions using the gold standard of glass slide microscopy and half (n = 24) using whole, scanned virtual slides. Correct number of questions using glass slides and virtual slides was evaluated. Participants were surveyed regarding previous experience with digital slide imaging; quality, ease of use, and speed of slide review; and overall microscopy preferences.

Results

Overall, diagnostic accuracy was better with glass slides than virtual slides (p = 0.01). However, no statistically significant difference was found in diagnostic accuracy of first-year trainees (p > 0.99) or trainees with exposure to virtual microscopy greater than two times per month (p = 0.27). There was no overall personal preference for glass slide vs. virtual microscopy.

Limitations

Different cases and questions were used for glass slides and virtual microscopy.

Conclusions

Diagnostic accuracy with virtual microscopy is dependent on year of residency training and prior experience with virtual microscopy.

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