Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 14

Perceptions of pathology informatics by non-informaticist pathologists and trainees


1 Cleveland Clinic, Robert J. Tomisch Institute of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44120, USA
2 Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA

Correspondence Address:
Addie Walker
Cleveland Clinic, Robert J. Tomisch Institute of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44120
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.179904

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Background: Although pathology informatics (PI) is essential to modern pathology practice, the field is often poorly understood. Pathologists who have received little to no exposure to informatics, either in training or in practice, may not recognize the roles that informatics serves in pathology. The purpose of this study was to characterize perceptions of PI by noninformatics-oriented pathologists and to do so at two large centers with differing informatics environments. Methods: Pathology trainees and staff at Cleveland Clinic (CC) and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) were surveyed. At MGH, pathology department leadership has promoted a pervasive informatics presence through practice, training, and research. At CC, PI efforts focus on production systems that serve a multi-site integrated health system and a reference laboratory, and on the development of applications oriented to department operations. The survey assessed perceived definition of PI, interest in PI, and perceived utility of PI. Results: The survey was completed by 107 noninformatics-oriented pathologists and trainees. A majority viewed informatics positively. Except among MGH trainees, confusion of PI with information technology (IT) and help desk services was prominent, even in those who indicated they understood informatics. Attendings and trainees indicated desire to learn more about PI. While most acknowledged that having some level of PI knowledge would be professionally useful and advantageous, only a minority plan to utilize it. Conclusions: Informatics is viewed positively by the majority of noninformatics pathologists at two large centers with differing informatics orientations. Differences in departmental informatics culture can be attributed to the varying perceptions of PI by different individuals. Incorrect perceptions exist, such as conflating PI with IT and help desk services, even among those who claim to understand PI. Further efforts by the PI community could address such misperceptions, which could help enable a better understanding of what PI is and is not, and potentially lead to increased acceptance by non-informaticist pathologists.


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