The Mount Sinai Case Viewer


The Mount Sinai Case Viewer is a full-stack web application developed using the Ruby on Rails framework. For this project, I was the sole developer, though during development, I left enough breadcrumbs to assist those who might follow me. This is used in The Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Pathology's AP/CP residency program during the resident-led brief case presentations. While the initial plan was to have residents present these cases using more traditional means (i.e., PowerPoint), I suggested that a database be created to catalog these cases, which better leverages these assets as we can easily search the database to find previous presentations and share the de-identified cases on social media.

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Screenshot of a recent submission.

When we created the new AP/CP curriculum, we did not have enough time to write a software with this complexity before the curriculum started. I quickly created an online form using FormStack (something to which our institution had a subscription; it is equivalent to Qualtrics, Google Forms, and the like), where I could export the entries to a CSV (comma-separated values, which is functionally a spreadsheet), convert that to JSON (JavaScript Object Notation). I then wrote a script that can parse JSON by using a JavaScript plugin called Gulp. After parsing the data, it could be sent to Handlebars (another JavaScript plugin), where an HTML template would be made. This allowed for us to share the cases through social media, but these files were not easily archivable, and this process was error-prone and dependent on me. However, it worked very well as a temporary solution, and I was able to put this together in about two weeks of free time, which gave us enough time to test it and deploy it as part of the new curriculum. Over the next few months, we created about 80 cases, some of which were shared tens of thousands of times with social media.

Over the next two months, I learned Ruby on Rails through various online tutorials. Once I felt confident that I could create my own application, I began developing the Mount Sinai Case Viewer. My goals were to keep the current concept consistent&emdash;create an online form that is entered into a database, which is queried to view the cases&emdash;while also adding new features, including resident-specified watermarks, an authentication process that required faculty and a dedicated person to ensure that protected health information is not disclosed, and a search feature. I completed this project in approximately three months from "rails new" to deploy.

There are some features that I want to implement in the software, if time allows. We could allow for whole slide imaging and anonymized radiographs. Residents could be able to create a portfolio in their user page, allowing an interested potential fellowship director or employer to find their CV, research, and poster presentations. A more sophisticated search tool could be developed, so a resident could create a quiz of cases for themselves using tags or subspecialties (e.g., a quiz for head and neck disease entities with the tag "myxoid"). This software could even be expanded to other specialties in the Hospital, allowing for interprofessional education. An internal version of the software could be created to make tumor boards more efficient. Numerous possibilities exist, and I intend to continue building on this project or one similar to it in the future.