Journal Article
. 2017 Oct; 8:31.
doi: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_13_17.

A Design Study Investigating Augmented Reality and Photograph Annotation in a Digitalized Grossing Workstation

Joyce A Chow 1 Martin E Törnros 2 Marie Waltersson 3 Helen Richard 4 Madeleine Kusoffsky 1 Claes F Lundström 3 Arianit Kurti 1 
  • PMID: 28966831
  •     8 References


Context: Within digital pathology, digitalization of the grossing procedure has been relatively underexplored in comparison to digitalization of pathology slides.

Aims: Our investigation focuses on the interaction design of an augmented reality gross pathology workstation and refining the interface so that information and visualizations are easily recorded and displayed in a thoughtful view.

Settings And Design: The work in this project occurred in two phases: the first phase focused on implementation of an augmented reality grossing workstation prototype while the second phase focused on the implementation of an incremental prototype in parallel with a deeper design study.

Subjects And Methods: Our research institute focused on an experimental and "designerly" approach to create a digital gross pathology prototype as opposed to focusing on developing a system for immediate clinical deployment.

Statistical Analysis Used: Evaluation has not been limited to user tests and interviews, but rather key insights were uncovered through design methods such as "rapid ethnography" and "conversation with materials".

Results: We developed an augmented reality enhanced digital grossing station prototype to assist pathology technicians in capturing data during examination. The prototype uses a magnetically tracked scalpel to annotate planned cuts and dimensions onto photographs taken of the work surface. This article focuses on the use of qualitative design methods to evaluate and refine the prototype. Our aims were to build on the strengths of the prototype's technology, improve the ergonomics of the digital/physical workstation by considering numerous alternative design directions, and to consider the effects of digitalization on personnel and the pathology diagnostics information flow from a wider perspective. A proposed interface design allows the pathology technician to place images in relation to its orientation, annotate directly on the image, and create linked information.

Conclusions: The augmented reality magnetically tracked scalpel reduces tool switching though limitations in today's augmented reality technology fall short of creating an ideal immersive workflow by requiring the use of a monitor. While this technology catches up, we recommend focusing efforts on enabling the easy creation of layered, complex reports, linking, and viewing information across systems. Reflecting upon our results, we argue for digitalization to focus not only on how to record increasing amounts of data but also how these data can be accessed in a more thoughtful way that draws upon the expertise and creativity of pathology professionals using the systems.

Keywords: Augmented reality; design methods; gross pathology; human–computer interaction; interface design; visualization.

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