Telepathology: current status and future prospects in diagnostic histopathology

Histopathology. 2002 Aug;41(2):91-109. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2559.2002.01423.x.


Telepathology is the process of diagnostic histopathology performed on digital images viewed on a display screen rather than by conventional glass slide light microscopy. The technology of telepathology has radically improved over the past 5 years so that it is no longer the limiting factor in the diagnostic process. This review looks at the resources needed for dynamic and static telepathology, including image quality, computers and software interfaces, means of transmission and human resources. It critically analyses 32 published trials of telepathology, including some large prospective studies, in all areas of diagnostic histopathology including intraoperative frozen sections, routine and referral cases. New developments, including internet solutions and virtual microscopy, are described and there is analysis of the economics of telepathology within health care systems. The review concludes that all the necessary technology for telepathology is available, there is strong published evidence for a diagnostic accuracy comparable with glass slide diagnosis, in many contexts there is a clear-cut economic argument in favour of telepathology, and that the technique should now be integrated into mainstream diagnostic histopathology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Remote Consultation / instrumentation
  • Remote Consultation / methods
  • Remote Consultation / trends
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Telepathology* / economics
  • Telepathology* / instrumentation
  • Telepathology* / methods
  • Telepathology* / trends