Other Special Curricula

Informatics Curriculum

What is informatics?  

Informatics has become a ubiquitous component of modern medical practice. Broadly defined, health or medical informatics encompasses the resources, devices, and methods required to optimize the acquisition, storage, retrieval, and use of information in health care. Tools include computers, information and communication systems, bioimaging systems, and associated analytical systems used to work with a variety of types of data.  The data sets used in pathology informatics include clinical test results, anatomic pathology information, image files, and data derived from experiments including gene, proteomic and tissue-based studies. Applications are geared to improve patient care and enhance our understanding of disease-related processes.

The department’s educational curriculum in informatics is designed to provide residents with a basic understanding of the key elements of informatics. Recognizing that informatics is integrated into essentially all clinical rotations, additional learning will occur outside of this curriculum. The informatics curriculum includes: 
      1. Resident participation in the CAP Virtual Informatics College (required):  This online program introduces the resident to core concepts in informatics. For residents training in APCP or CP only, this experience will occur during month 3 of the Clinical Pathology Consult rotation, and can be scheduled at the resident’s convenience. For residents training in AP only, this instruction will occur during their AP Molecular Pathology rotation. Successful completion of the program will result in the resident being awarded a certificate. Dr. William Castellani oversees this component of the educational program. 
      2. Review of CAP checklist items pertaining to informatics (required): This component of the curriculum provides familiarity with CAP accreditation requirements pertaining to informatics and includes an interactive exercise. Residents will complete this experience in the same timeframe as described above. Residents must contact Ms. Lynn Duffy, Supervisor of Laboratory Informatics Services, to schedule appointments with Ms. Duffy to complete this activity. 
      3. Introduction to digital gross photography and image editing (required): During the Surgical Pathology or Autopsy Pathology rotation, residents will receive instruction about techniques and principles of digital gross photography and image archiving and editing using Pax-it.
      4. Introduction to photomicroscopy (required): During the first several months of residency, instruction about photomicroscopy will be presented during a core curriculum lecture. Additional instruction can be obtained from one-on-one sessions with faculty or other residents. Feedback will also be given in the context of presentations of photomicrographs at departmental conferences. 
      5. Computer program instruction (optional): The Harrell library (http:/med.psu.edu/web/library/services) offers a variety of courses providing training in computer software applications.