BACKGROUND: The aim of the study is to report the experience of the pathologists of the Italian Group for the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) (group formed by pathologists with various experience) on the morphological assessment of digital slides pertaining to IBD and Non-IBD colitis underlining the necessity to implement this tool in daily routine and its utility to share opinions on difficult cases.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Forty-eight histological slides stained with haematoxylin and eosin obtained from ileo-colorectal endoscopic biopsies were digitized using Menarini D-Sight 2.0 system, uploaded onto a website platform and shared among 40 pathologists participating in the study. Information regarding the site of biopsy was disclosed; clinical data were blinded. Each participant was committed to write a comment on microscopic features purposing diagnostic opinion. One month after the last uploaded case, a form was sent to each participant to evaluate the personal experience on digital slide sharing.
RESULTS: Sixteen pathologists out of 40 (40%) had consistently accessed to the site,9/40 (22%) commented on all slides, a diagnostic opinion was rendered in 8 slides. Most common critical issues were: A) poor internet connection resulting in ineffective evaluation of the digital slides, B) time-consuming cases raising difficult diagnostic interpretation, C) lack of clinical history. Overall, 24 participants (60%) found the forum valuable for practical training and educational purposes.
CONCLUSIONS: Sharing scanned slides circulating within a dedicated forum is an effective educational tool in both IBDs and Non-IBDs colitis. Although our results demonstrated a substantial compliance of the participants, their limited participation was an objective shortcoming. Hence, further efforts are needed to encourage this potentially rewarding practice among the pathologist community.