INCTR "iPath" Program

Short description of the program
Aims: Sustainable improvement of diagnostic pathology and hematology in Africa
Principle:To achieve the highest possible standards while keeping costs as low as possible
Approach:

  1. optimal use of existing facilities
  2. offering a platform for online consultations CME and resident's training

Easy access to consultation is a key factor for professional quality.
Issues to be addressed in the program:
Improving the professional status of pathologists, by raising their credibility through online consultations.
Improving communication between various disciplines
Compensation for the local lack of well trained experts by online consultation with experts
Online support for technologists after training in new technologies
Regular online conferences for resident's training and CME
For description of individual projects running within the frame of this program see "pathology projects"

Description of of ipath, the software used for the program:
iPath is a simple communication tool that enables web-based case discussions. It was developed by the University of Basel, and allows uploading of digital images and text, as well as comments on the case by faculty members registered with INCTR iPath. At present, Nina Hurwitz coordinates that English language component and Martine Raphael the Francophone component.

iPath.jpg

Although primarily a teaching and education tool, comments by experienced pathologists constitute, in effect, an unofficial diagnosis, which, in the absence of a pathologist in a low income country, for example, may be the only diagnosis that is obtained in a timely fashion. Some countries have laws with respect to who is able to make an official diagnosis, and these must be respected. However, the consensus diagnosis from iPath may be used in a research case report form, and it can be noted in the patient's record as the consensus diagnosis from iPath, with a statement as to whether there is an official diagnosis and if so, the agreement between the two..

iPath can be used to check the quality of materials - e.g., in the case of pathology specimens, the cutting and fixing of the tissue, or the quality of immunophenotyping. It is also being used for oncology consultations. Some presentations are available via iPath, and although there is an audio component, it may be best to use SKYPE for this purpose. Upgrading to a more advanced verson of SKYPE allows six video images to be seen at the same time, and there is a "show screen" function such that the image being examined can be shown on one of the screens.

Membership of iPath can be applied for via the website, which is located at iPath Network

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