Constructing a local district telepathology network in Japan. Diagnosis of intraoperative frozen sections via telepathology over an integrated service digital network and the National Television Standard Committee System

Anal Quant Cytol Histol. 1999 Feb;21(1):81-4.


Objective: To construct a local telepathology network between the Department of Pathology, Tohoku University Hospital, and Koritu Kesennuma Hospital, about 150 km away.

Study design: Tohoku University Hospital is connected with Koritu Kesennuma Hospital by an integrated service digital network for telepathology using the National Television Standard Committee system. The cases submitted for telepathology were limited to those in which a rapid intraoperative diagnosis was made on frozen sections.

Results: At this writing, more than 200 cases were diagnosed during a period of 2.5 years. The cases submitted increased with time, amounting to 150 in 1996. In some cases the use of telepathology proved to be fairly advantageous. For example, in one case a radical operation was avoided because of a diagnosis on intraoperative frozen sections.

Discussion: There are problems to be solved before telepathology becomes available for practical use: (1) misdiagnosis due to poor quality of instruments, including the transmission cable and pictures; (2) cost-benefit ratio, (3) protection of patients' privacy, and (4) overwork for pathologists. The Japanese government will officially accept telepathology as a means of medical examination in the future. Despite some problems left, telepathology is a promising technology.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Bile Duct / pathology
  • Aged
  • Breast / pathology
  • Computer Communication Networks / economics
  • Computer Communication Networks / organization & administration*
  • Computer Communication Networks / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Frozen Sections*
  • Gallbladder / pathology
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Japan
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pathology, Clinical / instrumentation
  • Pathology, Clinical / methods
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Telepathology / economics
  • Telepathology / organization & administration*
  • Telepathology / statistics & numerical data
  • Thyroid Gland / pathology