A Comprehensive and Sensitive Approach to Rapid Autopsy Education Via a Web-Based Interactive

OPERT-THESIS-2016.pdf (3.35 MB)
ThesisWM-HIGHres-srgb-pdfA.pdf (16.86 MB)
Embargo until
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University is currently performing rapid autopsy procedures as a part of the Legacy Gift program to advance cancer research in the areas of prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Procuring research samples post mortem allows for examination of the cancer at its terminal stage and for the collection of larger amounts of tissues than can typically be donated during life. Performing the procedure within twelve hours of death allows for the collection of living cells and undamaged DNA and RNA. There are multiple barriers to both autopsy and rapid autopsy identified by physicians, patients, and families primarily stemming from a lack of education about the procedure and its benefits and from uncertainty of how to approach the conversation. A search of online resources yielded little information about autopsy and rapid autopsy and even less specifically directed to patients and families. The goal of this project was to create a prototype for a series of interactive educational modules that would present information about autopsy and rapid autopsy in narrated animations and in text format to be displayed on the Legacy Gift website targeting both a medical and lay audience. Seven areas of education where identified. Each subject was broken down into a total of 42 sub-sections and a script for each was drafted. The subject of the rapid autopsy procedure was selected for the prototype. One animation for the sub-section of why rapid autopsies are performed was created and, in conjunction with script, was used to populate a portion of the module. The module contains nine buttons, one for each of the eight sub-sections for that subject and one button to display all text. Six health care providers and rapid autopsy program team members evaluated the animation for its appropriateness for the patient audience and there was a consensus that the animation can help patient understanding. The major challenges during the creation of this resource were addressing it to a broad audience and the sensitivity of the subject matter. Completion of the module and further user evaluation would benefit the continued development of this new educational resource.
Autopsy, Rapid autopsy, Education, Animation, Interactive, Pathology