Abstract

Context: As teaching hospitals institute social distancing and defer non-emergent procedures to cope with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the need for daily onsite presence, unless necessary has been reduced for all medical staff including trainees. Pathology training programs must adapt to these changes to ensure overall safety without significantly compromising training and educational mission of the institution.

Objective: To describe the hybrid on-site and remote anatomic pathology training model in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was implemented in our pathology department and report the clinical fellows' responses to the survey about their experiences.

Design: The hybrid model was implemented March 25, 2020. Fellows alternate weekly between working on-site and working remotely. On-site, fellows wear personal protective equipment and maintain social distancing. Remotely, fellows use digital pathology to review cases and supplement with online educational activities. Virtual “coffee breaks,” meditation, and exercise are part of the curriculum. Online platforms, including WebEx, Google Classroom, and Canvas, are used to continue educational activities. The survey was open May 19 through June 8.

Results: Twenty-eight of the 29 clinical fellows (96%) responded. Many of the respondents indicated substantial increase in their skill with using digital pathology and online platforms during the pandemic. The top most helpful resources were the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology Interactive Microscopy courses (22/23=91% of clinical fellows found very or somewhat helpful), ExpertPath (19/23=82%), the College of American Pathologists virtual learning series (18/23=78%), the World Health Organization Blue Books (16/23=70%), the American Society of Cytopathology webinars (14/23=61%), and our institutional digital slide collection (12/23=52%).

Conclusions: Hybrid on-site and remote training can maximize anatomic pathology learning opportunities while maintaining the safety of trainees, hospital personnel, and the community.

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Author notes

-Funding source: PPA was supported by Institutional Start-Up Funding and an Institutional Research Grant from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and a grant from the Melanoma Research Alliance. The study is partly supported by the National Cancer Institute under award number P30CA016672, which supports the MD Anderson Cancer Center Clinical Trials Support Resource.

-The authors have no relevant financial interest in the products or companies described in this article.

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