Diagnostic accuracy of an international static-imaging telepathology consultation service

Bradford E. Halliday, A. K. Bhahacharyya, Anna R. Graham, John R. Davis, S. Anne Leavitt, Ray B. Nagle, Wendy J. McLaughlin, Ricardo A. Rivas, Ralph Martinez, Elizabeth A. Krupinski, Ronald S. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Static-image and dynamic- (real-time) image telepathology are competing technologies. Although some studies suggest that the diagnostic accuracy of the dynamic-image telepathology approaches the accuracy of light microscopy, few reports have documented the diagnostic accuracy of static-image telepathology as used in the setting of an actual surgical pathology consultation practice. We report the results of an analysis of 171 telepathology consultation cases submitted to the Arizona-International Telemedicine Network (AITN). Digital images were submitted by pathologists from six participating institutions in Arizona, Mexico, and China. Telepathologists could render a telepathology diagnosis (TP) or defer rendering a diagnosis to obtain additional video images, glass slides for detailed analysis, or to obtain tissue blocks for special studies such as immunohistochemistry. The telepathologists rendered diagnoses for 144 cases and deferred 27 cases. Two pathologists retrospectively evaluated glass slides from each case and rendered a consensus glass slide (GS) 'truth' diagnosis. There was 88.2% concordance between TP and GS diagnoses(127 of 144 diagnoses). Concordance of 96.5% was achieved for clinically important diagnoses (139 of 144 diagnoses). Telepathologists deferred making a diagnosis to obtain glass slides for conventional light microscopy in 14 cases (8.1%) and for results of immunohistochemistry studies in 13 cases (7.6%). Thus, correct diagnoses were rendered by static-image telepathology in 127 of 171 cases (74.3%) at the time of telepathology diagnostic sessions. Inappropriate field selection and sampling biases of referring pathologists, as well as a tendency of static-image telepathologists to underestimate the complexity of some cases, may reduce the value of consultations based on the viewing of static images.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-21
Number of pages5
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


  • diagnostic accuracy
  • dynamic-robotic imaging
  • histological diagnosis
  • static imaging
  • telemedicine
  • telepathology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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