Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1

Invention and early history of telepathology (1985-2000)


1 Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
2 Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ronald S Weinstein
Department of Pathology, The University of Arizona, 1501 North Campbell Avenue, Tucson, Arizona 85724
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_71_18

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This narrative-based paper provides a first-person account of the early history of telepathology (1985–2000) by the field's inventor, Ronald S. Weinstein, M. D. During the 1980s, Dr. Weinstein, a Massachusetts General Hospital-trained pathologist, was director of the Central Pathology Laboratory (CPL) for the National Cancer Institute-funded National Bladder Cancer Project, located at Rush Medical College in Chicago, IL. The CPL did post therapy revalidations of surgical pathology and cytopathology diagnoses before outcomes of the completed clinical trials were published. The CPL reported that interobserver variability was invalidating inclusion of dozens of treated bladder cancer patients in published reports on treatment outcomes. This problem seemed ripe for a technology-assisted solution. In an effort to solve the interobserver variability problem, Dr. Weinstein devised a novel solution, dynamic-robotic telepathology, that would potentially enable CPL uropathologists to consult on distant uropathology cases in real-time before their assignment to urinary bladder cancer, tumor stage, and grade-specific clinical trials. During the same period, universities were ramping up their support for faculty entrepreneurism and creating in-house technology transfer organizations. Dr. Weinstein recognized telepathology as a potential growth industry. He and his sister, Beth Newburger, were a successful brother–sister entrepreneur team. Their PC-based education software business, OWLCAT™, had just been acquired by Digital Research Inc., a leading software company, located in California. With funding from the COMSAT Corporation, a publically traded satellite communications company, the Weinstein-Newburger team brought the earliest dynamic-robotic telepathology systems to market. Dynamic-robotic telepathology became a dominant telepathology technology in the late 1990s. Dr. Weinstein, a serial entrepreneur, continued to innovate and, with a team of optical scientists at The University of Arizona's College of Optical Sciences, developed the first sub-1-min whole-slide imaging system, the DMetrix DX-40 scanner, in the early 2000s.


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