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J Telemed Telecare. 2011;17(5):222-5. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2010.100609. Epub 2011 May 12.

Feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of Internet-based dynamic telepathology between Uganda and Germany.

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Department of Pathology, Mulago Hospital and Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Mulago Hospital Complex, Old Mulago Hill Road, PO Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda.


We assessed the feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of Internet-based telepathology compared with conventional microscopic examination. A total of 96 cases from the routine workload of the Department of Pathology at the Mulago Hospital in Uganda were examined by robotic telemicroscopy via the Internet at the Fuerth Hospital in Germany. The telepathology diagnoses were compared with those of conventional microscopy. Email and Skype telephony were used to exchange clinical and diagnostic information. The reference diagnosis (gold standard) was established by consensus between two or more experienced pathologists using both conventional microscopy and telemicroscopy; immunohistochemistry was used whenever it was necessary. It took approximately 30 min for a pathologist to learn to use the telepathology system and 4-25 min to read a case remotely. Internet speed was the main limiting factor. The images were of good quality and the pathologist at the remote site was able to navigate through the slide and change the magnification as necessary. In 92 of the specimens (97%), the pathologists at the two hospitals agreed exactly about the diagnosis. Agreement overall was moderate (kappa = 0.39). The discordant diagnoses were attributed to factors related to diseases morphologically difficult to diagnose, such as soft tissue sarcomas and primitive tumours. Internet-based conferencing systems offer an inexpensive method of obtaining a primary diagnosis by telepathology and consulting on cases that require subspecialty expertise.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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