We describe a low-cost telepathology system working via a commercial integrated services digital network (ISDN) and consisting of modular software and hardware elements. The main elements are Apple Macintosh workstations; a software program for the simultaneous transfer of pictures, voice, and data; and procedures for image processing and general administration of all the information generated. Additionally, the system allows remote control of any peripheral instruments by a "picture-instrument manager." The transfer rate is currently 64 kbit/s; it will be extended to 128 kbit/s (ISDN basic rate) in the near future and to 2 Mbit/s (ISDN primary rate) in the next 2 years. The system was tested by the regional hospital in Samedan, Switzerland, and the Department of Pathology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland, a distance of 250 km, by offering a remote frozen section service to the regional hospital in 16 cases. Fifty-four to 58 seconds were needed for the transfer of a diagnostic 8-bit grey-level image containing 341 (median value) +/- 26.1 (standard error) kbytes (n = 13) or a diagnostic 24-bit color image containing 165 (median value) +/- 16.9 (standard error) kbytes (n = 3). The time required for a diagnostic session was between 25 and 35 minutes.