Dynamic-robotic telepathology: Department of Veterans Affairs feasibility study

Bruce E. Dunn, Urias A. Almagro, Hongyung Choi, Neela K. Sheth, James S. Arnold, Daniel L. Recla, Elizabeth A. Krupinski, Anna R. Graham, Ronald S. Weinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


In this retrospective study, we assess the accuracy, confidence levels, and viewing times of two generalist pathologists using both dynamic-robotic telepathology and conventional light microscopy (LM) to render diagnoses on a test set of 100 consecutive routine surgical pathology cases. The objective is to determine whether telepathology will allow a pathology group practice at a diagnostic hub to provide routine diagnostic services to a remote hospital without an on-site pathologist. For TP, glass slides were placed on the motorized stage of the robotic microscope of a telepathology system by a senior laboratory technologist in Iron Mountain, MI. Real-time control of the motorized microscope was then transferred to a pathologist in Milwaukee, WI, who viewed images of the glass slides on a video monitor. The telepathologists deferred rendering a diagnosis in 1.5% of cases. Clinically important concordance between the individual diagnoses rendered by telepathology and the 'truth' diagnoses established by rereview of glass slides was 98.5%. In the telepathology mode, there were five incorrect diagnoses out of a total of 197 diagnoses. In four cases in which the telepathology diagnosis was incorrect, the pathologist's diagnosis by LM was identical to that rendered by telepathology. These represent errors of interpretation and cannot be ascribed to telepathology. The certainty of the pathologists with respect to their diagnoses was evaluated over time. Results for the first 50 cases served as baseline data. For the second 50 cases, confidence in rendering a diagnosis in the telepathology mode was essentially identical to that of making a diagnosis in the LM viewing mode. Viewing times in the telepathology mode also improved with more experience using the telepathology system. These results support the concept that an off-site pathologist using dynamic-robotic telepathology can substitute for an on-site pathologist as a service provider.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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