With telemedicine becoming so popular in the healthcare system, it is not surprising that telepathology is also becoming more and more popular. Technology has been, and continues, to improve on a regular basis. Telepathology is not a new concept in the telemedicine arena. Even with the wide availability to doctors and physicians, there has been a slow adoption of telepathology in everyday practice. High operating and maintaining costs used to be the main reason physicians gave for not accepting telepathology, but now most of the negative attitudes are contributed to the “lack of education and clear guidelines” (Cross, 2002, p. 14) for new incorporators of telepathology.
There is no secret that the current system has problems, including incompatibility within systems, and the expensive microscopes that are dedicated to telepathology, but future developments are being researched and produced to help offset the high costs. Low-cost internet solutions, ...view middle of the document...
The use of internet-telepathology would allow pathologists in smaller communities to easily interact with other colleagues around the world.
One of the great things about telemedicine the ability to interact with colleagues outside the confines of a physical building, the same is true with telepathology. The integration of videoconferencing into pathology allows other pathologist to “review all the information and imaging of an individual patient” (Cross, 2002, p. 15). As of right now, it is difficult for pathologists to utilize videoconferencing because of the incompatible systems needed for the transmission of pathology images. There are a few solutions to this issue, one by using a camera that is attached to the dedicated pathology microscope and feeding the output into a videoconferencing unit. The one downside to the use of the microscope camera is the lower resolution and poorer quality photos.
One of the reasons skeptics give for not utilizing telepathology is that there is a larger change of missing some critical diagnostic feature that could lead to a misdiagnosis. Researchers are developing a technique, virtual microscopy, which is eliminating sampling problems skeptics are concerned with. In the virtual microscopy technique, “a conventionally prepared glass slide is placed on a microscope with a motorized stage and an automatic focusing facility. The slide is scanned using a X20 or X40 objective lens and those images are integrated to produce a single large image file” (Cross, 2002, p. 15). The file that is generated is then viewed on any computer that is connected with a virtual microscope. The biggest value in using a technique such as this is that it allows a digital format slide to be pulled up in any location (Cross, 2002). Once the virtual microscopy technique is perfected, pathologists will be able to get away from the dedicated pathology workstations, and integrate a digital workstation onto pathologists normal work desks.
Cross, S., Dennis, T., & Start, R. (2002). Telepathology: current status and future prospects in diagnostic histopathology. Histopathology, 41(2), 91-109. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2559.2002.01423.x