Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4

Diagnostic time in digital pathology: A comparative study on 400 cases

Department of Pathology, Forde Central Hospital, 6807 Forde, Norway

Correspondence Address:
Aleksandar Vodovnik
Department of Pathology, Forde Central Hospital, 6807 Forde
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2153-3539.175377

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Background: Numerous validation studies in digital pathology confirmed its value as a diagnostic tool. However, a longer time to diagnosis than traditional microscopy has been seen as a significant barrier to the routine use of digital pathology. As a part of our validation study, we compared a digital and microscopic diagnostic time in the routine diagnostic setting. Materials and Methods: One senior staff pathologist reported 400 consecutive cases in histology, nongynecological, and fine needle aspiration cytology (20 sessions, 20 cases/session), over 4 weeks. Complex, difficult, and rare cases were excluded from the study to reduce the bias. A primary diagnosis was digital, followed by traditional microscopy, 6 months later, with only request forms available for both. Microscopic slides were scanned at ×20, digital images accessed through the fully integrated laboratory information management system (LIMS) and viewed in the image viewer on double 23” displays. A median broadband speed was 299 Mbps. A diagnostic time was measured from the point slides were made available to the point diagnosis was made or additional investigations were deemed necessary, recorded independently in minutes/session and compared. Results: A digital diagnostic time was 1841 and microscopic 1956 min; digital being shorter than microscopic in 13 sessions. Four sessions with shorter microscopic diagnostic time included more cases requiring extensive use of magnifications over ×20. Diagnostic time was similar in three sessions. Conclusions: A diagnostic time in digital pathology can be shorter than traditional microscopy in the routine diagnostic setting, with adequate and stable network speeds, fully integrated LIMS and double displays as default parameters. This also related to better ergonomics, larger viewing field, and absence of physical slide handling, with effects on both diagnostic and nondiagnostic time. Differences with previous studies included a design, image size, number of cases, specimen type, network speed, and participant's level of confidence and experience in digital reporting. Further advancements in working stations and gained experience in digital reporting are expected to improve diagnostic time and widen routine applications of digital pathology.

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