EduCase is a computer-based training tool developed by RadOnc eLearning Center, LLC., to assist the development of structure segmentation (contouring) skills of radiation oncologists, medical physicists, and dosimetrists. The EduCase tool can be used in a number of contexts. It is used by professional radiation oncology societies as a part of special courses offered to teach segmentation skills. It is accessible primarily on the Internet through a RadOnc eLearning portal.
The current version of the program assumes a particular training process. A mentor (eg. a respected radiation oncologist) selects a clinical case for which a planning CT scan and perhaps MRI and PET/CT studies have been acquired. The mentor contours selected clinically relevant regions of interest using an available treatment planning system and gives the structures appropriate names. The image studies and named segmented structures are uploaded to the EduCase server utilizing DICOM export features available on the treatment planning system. The case is automatically made anonymous by the EduCase uploading software. The case is then used by the mentor in a teaching session.
Students in the teaching session have access to the EduCase software over the Internet before, during, and after the training session. The student is provided passwords that gain access to the EduCase software and data over an available Internet connection. The case and the mentor's pre-loaded structures are loaded into the EduCase software by students before the teaching session, during the teaching session, and after the teaching session from the Internet.
Before the teaching session the student is instructed by the mentor to contour a specific number of structures (using the mentor's names) on specified ranges of axial reconstruction planes. This first attempt is saved over the Internet on the EduCase server. During the teaching session, after the student has received instruction on what clinical and anatomical features determine the boundaries of target and normal anatomy structures, the student makes a second attempt to segment the regions and saves their second attempt contours. After a selected time interval of some weeks or months, the students make a third attempt to segment the specified structures and saves their contours again using an available Internet connection to the EduCase server.
The EduCase software provides metrics for scoring and comparing all of the students' segmentation attempts. The EduCase software facilities available to the mentor and the student provide means for the mentor to determine the skills of students before a training session. The second attempt results are available to the mentor immediately during the training session so that they can provide real-time remediation to the session attendees. The third attempt metrics provide the students and the mentor with an assessment of the long-term retention of the students' skill acquisition.