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TUTOR - Interactive laboratory training software 

The University of Washington (Seattle, WA, USA), Department of Laboratory Medicine, has developed a number of image-based personal computer programs that teach microscope-based laboratory tests (1).  These interactive software programs use digitized microscope images, computer simulations of staining techniques and computer-based teaching techniques to teach image-based diagnostic tests.  Studies in the United States have shown that the TUTORs help medical technologist and medical students learn to interpret image-based laboratory tests and improve competency(2) (3) (4) Image-based personal computer programs are now widely used as learning resources and teaching aids in medical schools in the United States.

Image from GramStain TUTOR 

Image from PeripheralBlood TUTOR 

Image from Urinalysis TUTOR 

Image from Gramstain TUTOR - Copyright MTS  

Image from Peripheralblood TUTOR - Copyright MTS  

Image from Urinalysis TUTOR - Copyright MTS  

With permission from the University of Washington

With permission from the University of Washington

With permission from the University of Washington

Very little is known about the use of image-based computer programs as learning resources for primary healthcare workers in developing countries.  In June 2000, three Tutor programs were for the first time introduced to primary healthcare laboratory personnel in Nepal. The PeripheralBlood-TUTOR (5), which teaches the interpretation of peripheral blood smears, the Urinalysis-TUTOR (6), which teaches the microscopic examination of urinary sediment and the GramStain-TUTOR (7), which teaches Gram stain interpretation, were used for the evaluation in Nepal. 

The University of Washington, Department of Laboratory Medicine, provided the software for this first evaluation in a developing country. The aim of the evaluation was to acquaint laboratory workers in a developing country with this new method of teaching and learning and obtain baseline data for more elaborate studies. 

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For more detailed information on the TUTOR software programs please visit the University of Washington Medical Training Software website at:  www.labmed.washington.edu/tutor 

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