Using digital technology for teaching pathology

Using digital technology for teaching pathology



The Pathology Learning Centre (PLC) at the University of Cape Town (UCT) has embarked on a drive using technology to make its vast collection of resources and specimens more accessible, both to students and researchers at UCT, as well as to visitors via the internet.

The PLC houses a collection of pathology specimens, from enlarged hearts to bone tumours, from foetuses to conjoined twins, and many examples of other medical conditions and diseases in between. Many of the specimens are preserved in glass or Perspex containers, allowing good visualisation of the surface anatomy.

However, the internal details of the specimens remain hidden and certain structural elements need to be enhanced through radiology.  The Lodox Statscan slot-scanner based at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Biomedical Engineering, at UCT is being used to scan some of the specimens to highlight more of the relevant internal details (follow the links to see examples of a bone tumour, a lithopaedian and conjoined twins).

A recent project was launched to enhance the learning experience and the access to specimen information and images by tagging the samples with QR codes. This two-dimensional barcode allows users to find more detailed notes and radiology images by scanning the code with their cellphones and calling up the references and websites encoded into the QR code.

Thus, various technologies such as barcoding, digital radiography, websites, smartphones and the internet all come together to provide almost instant access to vast amounts of information and images, whether for teaching purposes or telemedicine, i.e., remote diagnosis.

Lodox is proud to be part of the digital revolution, whether by providing healthcare solutions directly in the medical sector or by assisting with the sterling work done by the staff at UCT’s Pathology Learning Centre in training up the next generation of medical practitioners.

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