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Step-by-Step Tour

This tour illustrates the main features of the Diagnostic Pathfinder, detailing the characteristics and goals of each primary interaction. For a more complete demo of the software see the Demo Movie.

Using Cases

The Diagnostic Pathfinder is implemented with a varying number of cases that gradually increase in content and complexity.

The first step in using the DP is to open the assigned case.

Presenting the History

Purpose

  • Provide relevant History / Signalment / Physical Exam data

Student Activity

  • Extract relevant information for use in interpreting the case

Features

  • Relevant information can be recorded by highlighting text and then clicking the “Record Observation” button, right-clicking, or pressing the “Enter” key on the keyboard.
  • Clicking the “Record Observation” button without any text selected, will bring up an “Add Observation” dialogue in which students can enter any text they feel is relevant.
  • Selected observations appear in the right-hand column for use later in constructing the diagnostic path.

Identifying Relevant Laboratory Data

Purpose

  • Help students learn appropriate medical terminology.
  • Encourage students to pay attention to detail

Student Activity

  • Determine whether or not the data for each test fall within the normal range, and indicate so with the pull-down menu.
  • Record the appropriate medical terminology for each data abnormality in the corresponding text box (e.g. polycythemia)

Features

  • Students cannot proceed to the next screen until all data are correctly identified.
  • Help screens are available if students get stuck either while attempting to identify all abnormal data or while naming data abnormalities.
  • Completed tests gray out.

Constructing the Diagnostic Path

Purpose

  • Provide a powerful, flexible environment which supports the non-linear fashion in which data are organized and interpreted.
  • Make sure all data are used in the data interpretation process.
  • Provide a uniform format for communicating diagnostic rationale.

Student Activity

  • Identify pathophysiologic mechanisms of disease.
  • Arrange history items, data abnormalities and mechanisms according to causal relationships. (Items above and to the left cause items below and to the right, or items below and to the right provide supporting evidence for items above and to the left)

Features

  • All identified history and data abnormalities are available and must be used.
  • Diagnostic path clusters are expandable/contractible.
  • Items/item clusters can be selected with Shift-Click, Ctrl-Click, or lasso.
  • All selected items/clusters can be dragged and dropped anywhere in the diagnostic path.
  • All items are accompanied by a “notes” feature.

Feedback from the Expert Solution

Purpose

  • Provide students with immediate feedback regarding their rationale.
  • Reinforce the principles and concepts students have correctly learned.
  • Correct any misconceptions students might have before those misconceptions become ingrained.
  • Allow students to self-assess and provide feedback to the instructor (Window not shown.)

Student Activity

  • Compare student rationale with expert rationale.
  • Self-Assess (Window not shown.)

Features

  • Mechanisms in the expert path are color coded as either core mechanisms, review mechanisms, or framing mechanisms. Core mechanisms cover principles that this case was specifically designed to illustrate and provide practice for. Review mechanisms have been taught and practiced prior to this case, and are often key to the correct interpretation of the case. Framing mechanisms support the case and provide meaningful context.
  • Ability to display experts’ notes (if provided)
  • Self-assessment allows instructor to determine if certain students in particular are struggling, or if certain topics are problematic for many students.