Medical residents help create first-ever online pathology tool for patients
Posted on Monday, April 27, 2020
by Chonglu Huang
Two uOttawa Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) residents have built a dynamic online resource, MyPathologyReport.ca, designed to help patients better understand their pathology results.
In collaboration with pathologist and assistant professor Dr. Jason Wasserman, Drs. Anthea Lafreniere (PGY-4) and Zuzanna Gorski (PGY-1)—both of whom are anatomical pathology residents at The Ottawa Hospital—led this project to create a freely accessible web tool that gives patients greater understanding of their own medical information.
Designed for patients who have already received a copy of their pathology report but wish to gain a deeper understanding of what it means for their clinical journey, MyPathologyReport.ca, provides articles written by a team of practicing pathologists from across Canada.
In addition, the website has a searchable pathology dictionary with plain language definitions for many commonly used words and phrases.
“While most websites use general terms to talk about pathology, we provide explanations for specific types of pathology reports,” said Dr. Lafreniere. “Our diagnostic articles break your pathology report down into parts so that you understand what each part means and why it matters.”
Dr. Gorski also served as the medical illustrator for the website and created simple illustrations that depict normal anatomy and more complex cancer pathology to patients and caregivers.
Furthermore, Dr. Lafreniere and Dr. Gorski made sure to involve patient partners from the very beginning of the design.
“Our articles have all been reviewed by a teams of patient partners at the University Health Network and The Ottawa Hospital who provided critical feedback that allowed us to improve the content and the overall quality of the site,” said Dr. Gorski. “In fact, more than half of the articles on MyPathologyReport.ca today were suggested by patients.”
The website is always looking for more people with lived experience to join this collaborative team. If you are interested in becoming a patient partner, please contact the project to get involved.
In recognition of their work on MyPathologyReport.ca, Drs. Anthea Lafreniere and Zuzanna Gorski received The Ottawa Hospital’s Patient Experience Award on April 2. They both stressed the value of mentorship in their development as physicians and attributed their growth to Dr. Wasserman’s model of patient-centered pathology.
“Drs. Lafreniere and Gorski have spent hundreds of hours building MyPathologyReport.ca. Together they have taken a very challenging area of medicine and made it accessible for everyone,” said Dr. Wasserman.
“Their commitment to health literacy and their dedication to patients is truly inspiring. I hope other medical trainees will look at what Drs. Lafreniere and Gorski have done and realize that a doctor’s role in society extends well beyond the hospital or the clinic.”