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ABSTRACT: To study the validity and feasibility of transferring images of cutaneous biopsy specimens via e-mail to remote physicians active in dermatopathology for teleconsultation.
Twenty skin specimens previously diagnosed at the Department of Dermatology, University of Graz, Austria, were subsequently sent for teleconsultation using the store-and-forward method. For each case, 3 or 4 images at different magnifications were sent by e-mail to 16 colleagues (11 dermatopathologists and 5 pathologists) in 15 centers in 6 different countries. Six weeks later each observer received the hematoxylin-eosin-stained specimens to render a conventional diagnosis.
Dermatopathology and pathology units within institutional and private settings.
Twenty small skin biopsy specimens of cutaneous diseases were selected randomly from a study set of 80.
Concordance between telepathologic diagnoses and conventional histopathologic diagnoses of 20 skin specimens.
On average, 78% of the telediagnoses were correct (range, 60%-95%), whereas 85% of the conventional diagnoses were correct (range, 60%-95%). A perfect diagnostic concordance was obtained in 7 (35%) of 20 cases, and a significant difference was identified in only 1 case.
Results suggest that telepathology performed by physicians active in dermatopathology may serve as a reliable technique for the diagnosis of cutaneous diseases when experts in dermatopathology are not available locally. Furthermore, teledermatopathology is attractive because it provides an opportunity to obtain timely consultation on difficult cases.
Archives of Dermatology 02/2002; 138(1):53-8. · 4.79 Impact Factor