Evaluation of a diagnostic encyclopedia workstation for ovarian pathology
The Diagnostic Encyclopedia Workstation (DEW) is a computer system that provides completely integrated pictorial and textual information as reference knowledge in the field of ovarian pathology. The textual component comprises information per diagnosis such as descriptions of macroscopic and microscopic images, clinical signs, and prognosis. In addition, the system offers lists of differential diagnoses and criteria to differentiate among them. The present study evaluates to what extent the system influences the diagnostic process in efficiency and outcome. Therefore, two groups of six pathologists each, covering a wide spectrum of experience in ovarian pathology, participated in the evaluation of the DEW. The quality of the resulting diagnoses was statistically analyzed with the Wilcoxon rank sum test with respect to five different viewpoints: classification, morphology, clinical consequences, duration of diagnostic process, and consensus among the participants. The results are discussed and it is concluded that classification and morphology showed better results when books were used. The evaluation experiment was, however, very rigid and negatively biased with respect to the DEW system. Positive aspects of the encyclopedia are the easy access to diagnostic and differential diagnostic information and the large set of illustrations. Insight is acquired with respect to existing bottlenecks and how they may be overcome.