Telepathology for Routine Light Microscopic and Frozen Section Diagnosis
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Telepathology (TP) uses telecommunication linkages to electronically capture, store, retrieve, and transmit images to distant sites. We assessed the feasibility of a dynamic real-time TP system for light microscopic (LM) diagnosis of anatomic pathology specimens, including frozen sections. Six pathologists, in 2 separate periods, read a set of 160 retrospectively retrieved slides (80 of which were frozen sections) by TP and LM. Reading times were recorded. Diagnoses were compared with the reference diagnosis (established by a group of 5 independent pathologists) and graded on a scale of 0 to 2 (2, correct; 1, incorrect but no clinical impact; 0, incorrect with clinical impact). Overall, LM was more accurate than TP compared with the reference diagnosis (score, 1.68 vs 1.54). There was no difference in accuracy between frozen section and paraffin-embedded tissue. Intraobserver agreement ranged from 82.5% to 88.2%. The average reading time was 6.0 minutes for TP and 1.4 minutes for LM. During the study, reading time decreased for TP but not for LM. These results show that despite marginally lower accuracy and longer reading times, TP isfeasible for routine light microscopic diagnosis, including frozen sections.
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