Article

Frequently asked questions concerning the use of whole-slide imaging telepathology for neuropathology frozen sections.

Department of Pathology, Laboratory Medicine Program, University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada.
Seminars in Diagnostic Pathology (Impact Factor: 1.62). 08/2010; 27(3):160-6. DOI: 10.1053/j.semdp.2010.05.002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT TP involves the provision of pathology services over a distance using the Internet to link pathologists at the "viewing site" with diagnostic material in a "remote site." Robotic microscopes were a mainstay of TP; however, this is now changing with the development of whole-slide imaging (WSI) systems which enable rapid production of digital slides that can be reviewed over a complete range of magnifications with a viewing experience closely replicating that of light microscopy. As such, WSI will undoubtedly become a viable option for pathology departments considering TP for remote frozen section (FS) coverage, and in the future for rapid consultation on difficult cases. For reasons to be discussed below, it may be particularly attractive to use WSI TP for neuropathology frozen sections (NPFS). We have been using WSI TP for primary NPFS diagnoses since 2006. This brief review provides answers to questions that we have frequently been asked about our program. The answers reflect our experience, and it is important to note that our recommendations may not be applicable in all institutions. The reader is directed to the recent literature for more detailed information on WSI as well as a complete description of our TP program.

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    ABSTRACT: Whole slide imaging (WSI), or "virtual" microscopy, involves the scanning (digitization) of glass slides to produce "digital slides". WSI has been advocated for diagnostic, educational and research purposes. When used for remote frozen section diagnosis, WSI requires a thorough implementation period coupled with trained support personnel. Adoption of WSI for rendering pathologic diagnoses on a routine basis has been shown to be successful in only a few "niche" applications. Wider adoption will most likely require full integration with the laboratory information system, continuous automated scanning, high-bandwidth connectivity, massive storage capacity, and more intuitive user interfaces. Nevertheless, WSI has been reported to enhance specific pathology practices, such as scanning slides received in consultation or of legal cases, of slides to be used for patient care conferences, for quality assurance purposes, to retain records of slides to be sent out or destroyed by ancillary testing, and for performing digital image analysis. In addition to technical issues, regulatory and validation requirements related to WSI have yet to be adequately addressed. Although limited validation studies have been published using WSI there are currently no standard guidelines for validating WSI for diagnostic use in the clinical laboratory. This review addresses the current status of WSI in pathology related to regulation and validation, the provision of remote and routine pathologic diagnoses, educational uses, implementation issues, and the cost-benefit analysis of adopting WSI in routine clinical practice.
    Journal of pathology informatics. 01/2011; 2:36.
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    ABSTRACT: Context.-There is increasing interest in using whole slide imaging (WSI) for diagnostic purposes (primary and/or consultation). An important consideration is whether WSI can safely replace conventional light microscopy as the method by which pathologists review histologic sections, cytology slides, and/or hematology slides to render diagnoses. Validation of WSI is crucial to ensure that diagnostic performance based on digitized slides is at least equivalent to that of glass slides and light microscopy. Currently, there are no standard guidelines regarding validation of WSI for diagnostic use. Objective.-To recommend validation requirements for WSI systems to be used for diagnostic purposes. Design.-The College of American Pathologists Pathology and Laboratory Quality Center convened a nonvendor panel from North America with expertise in digital pathology to develop these validation recommendations. A literature review was performed in which 767 international publications that met search term requirements were identified. Studies outside the scope of this effort and those related solely to technical elements, education, and image analysis were excluded. A total of 27 publications were graded and underwent data extraction for evidence evaluation. Recommendations were derived from the strength of evidence determined from 23 of these published studies, open comment feedback, and expert panel consensus. Results.-Twelve guideline statements were established to help pathology laboratories validate their own WSI systems intended for clinical use. Validation of the entire WSI system, involving pathologists trained to use the system, should be performed in a manner that emulates the laboratory's actual clinical environment. It is recommended that such a validation study include at least 60 routine cases per application, comparing intraobserver diagnostic concordance between digitized and glass slides viewed at least 2 weeks apart. It is important that the validation process confirm that all material present on a glass slide to be scanned is included in the digital image. Conclusions.-Validation should demonstrate that the WSI system under review produces acceptable digital slides for diagnostic interpretation. The intention of validating WSI systems is to permit the clinical use of this technology in a manner that does not compromise patient care.
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