Nephropathology consultation via digitized images

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1992 Dec 17:670:281-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1992.tb26099.x.


Investigations into a digitized image communications system were prompted by a need to bring expert consultation to physicians in community practice. Pathologists desired the capability to concomitantly view, annotate, and discuss images with referring physicians at distant sites. Methods included evaluation of the human and procedural domain into which the system was to be integrated. The GDCN computer consultation system has the consultant nephropathologist first evaluate the processed biopsy slides, digitize representative images, transmit them with the diagnosis to referring nephrologist, and, finally, conduct an interactive consultation and review of the biopsy and case. Image resolution and compression variables must be set for each individual medical consulting application. For the GDCN, it was found that the 640 x 496 x unlimited color with compression ratios not exceeding 1:32 are acceptable. An obvious improvement of this computerized system over the noncomputerized review sessions is the ability to immediately share and discuss a new image that had not been previously sent. In the old noncomputerized consultation, only images that had been mailed could be discussed. The computerized sessions allow transmission (10 sec) of a new image that the consultation might demand. The computerized sessions also provide the ability to show the referring nephrologist an area of biopsy interest that the pathologist had not previously transmitted. Biopsy slides can be viewed during the consultation, an area digitized, and that image transmitted to the nephrologist during the consultation. Hardware and costs for the sending station were: [table: see text] This system far exceeds the requirements for this particular application; however, it is sufficient to support future, higher-technology computer applications. If necessary, this same system could be used with a less expensive computer, a less expensive camera, software compression, and a single monitor. These alterations could lessen the expenditures by some $8000 and result in a total cost of $10,000. Hardware and costs for the receiving station were: [table: see text] Cost of the receiving station could be reduced by using a less expensive computer and a single monitor system, thereby saving up to $5000 and resulting in a total cost of $7,400. DCCEC and GDCN have elected to use the more expensive, user-friendly and more rapid image transmission system SEND-->IT, rather than the less expensive system mainly because of experience with incorporating the system into the daily activities of the GDCN. SEND-->IT best met the essentials for GDCN.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Computer Communication Networks / economics
  • Computer Communication Networks / instrumentation
  • Computer Communication Networks / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted* / economics
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted* / instrumentation
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted* / methods
  • Kidney Diseases / pathology*
  • Nephrology / organization & administration*
  • Pathology, Clinical / organization & administration*
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration*
  • Telemedicine*