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The Diagnostic Pathfinder

The Diagnostic Pathfinder (DP) is a computer-based instructional software tool that helps veterinary clinical pathology students learn diagnostic reasoning skills. The Pathfinder's unique process combines a time-proven mechanism-based approach to analyzing clinical laboratory data with established principles of instructional design.

Effective problem-solving is well recognized as a critical skill for making quality decisions in all aspects of life. Unfortunately, our society suffers daily from the cost of decision-makers who have inadequate problem solving skills. In veterinary medicine, problems are presented as sick patients, and the ability to solve those problems hinges on accurate diagnoses. The diagnostic reasoning process of experienced clinicians often seems instantaneous and effortless to students. In fact, this process is so "automatic" that clinicians themselves find it difficult to explain the individual steps in their reasoning process. We have addressed this issue by creating the Diagnostic Pathfinder, an Internet-based software program developed for students to learn how to analyze clinical cases.