Histopathology image interpretation training platform

Commissioned to run Discovery research and Alpha testing phases, we worked with doctors, trainees and consultants to identify the parts of the project that were highest risk and prototype them.

At the time of starting the project, training in the critically important pathology workforce for public healthcare had been outpaced by demand. Put simply, there was a need to expand the pathology workforce faster and at scale beyond its current capability.

Offline annotated ‘stamp books’ of microscope slides used for training didn’t offer the staged competence-based learning necessary for trainees to ramp up to the complex diagnosis they would need to understand to pass the final exams.

Critical to the success of this project was the ability for consultant pathologists to submit microscope slides and supporting information that also aligned to a complex curriculum open to interpretation, all while working overstretched schedules.

To deliver against this challenge we were to run a discovery and alpha phase to clarify some of the bigger questions around content complexity and delivery, training needs, existing technology and platform considerations and user engagement.

The outcome

For Alpha we focused on the areas of the system that were the least certain (in terms of what shape a solution could take), we prioritised a shortlist of areas to explore. How to show training progress through a complex non-linear curriculum, training formats and how to determine answers to questions that were deemed correct or not depending on the stage of the user’s experience and the context of the patient information that supports the slide images. 

Lo-fi proof of concept prototype 

Visualising trainee progress through complex non-linear curriculums

Various learning styles supported

Easily accessible online case slides and information

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Organisation lens

Running various workshops we first checked in with stakeholders of the organisation to get their view on key questions

  • What is the context of the problem?
  • What are the organisational goals to meet for this project?
  • What do we think are the user problems to solve (to be explored with users later on)?
  • Do we have any initial hunches to what a solution could look like?
  • Regardless of what the chosen solution will be, what benefits should it deliver to the org and users?
  • Specifically, what metrics could be used to measure the success of this project?

User lens

Identifying and interviewing 7 user types and 30 people in total, we explored their current ways of working in terms of their tasks, their pains and their needs. 

We created a set of 5 personas, or hats as we called them as this helped us keep in mind that an individual user can wear many hats while using the system

Bringing org and user needs together

Using the themes found in users and stakeholder interviews we began to nest them in a way that visualised how each related to each other and how they ramped up to contribute to the goals and opportunities of the project.

Green = needed, Orange = desired, Red = not needed

As the potential scope of the project was so large we used this as an opportunity to prioritise the opportunities so we were comfortable with the volume of work and the scope of the problems to explore.

Ideation workshops

Patterns of learning 
Including gamification, flipped classroom, branching scenarios

Staged learning
Including digitising traditional experienced based knowledge, access to slides

Information architecture
Including specialities, reporting areas, curriculums, sub-specialities, years and levels

User journeys
Including course creation, learning progression and ugc quality governance

Service design
Including high level journeys outside of the product

Prototype feedback

When testing with users and stakeholders it was important that the feedback we captured was actionable, so each piece of insight was categorised as either a dislike, a like or a new idea, and then grouped into themes ready for the next round of ideation and iteration.

What we learnt

On complex projects there is no substitute for collaboration to understand the challenge, simplify, and align on simple concrete goals. The various workshops and research steps up front were vital to make strategic and detail decisions later on, which ultimately led to positive feedback from users and stakeholders.