Tele-pathology is the practice of pathology at a distance i.e. the electronic transmission of pathological images using information and communication technology. At one end, the pathologist views the slides under a microscope, captures images in a suitable format and transmits images to a distant site over a communication link. A tele-pathologist viewed the images on a display device at the receiving end and interprets them. It provides local medical centers with rapid access to highly specialized expertise in pathology. Thus tele-pathology helps pathologists and patients of the remote areas to get timely and expert reports which in turn leads to the correct diagnosis and treatment. Tele-pathology can be applied for various aspects of pathology such as biopsies, surgical specimens, intra-operative frozen section, cytology, e.c.t.
Telemedicine Technology can be used both store and forward and real time depending upon this there are three type of tele-pathology.
It is also known as store and forward or passive approach to tele-pathology. It is the simple and inexpensive form of tele-pathology as it does not require a video-conferencing camera and high bandwidth for the faster transmission of images. It capture of still diagnostic images and their electronic transmission at one site and viewing at another site.
It is also known as real time pathology or active tele-pathology. It is more sophisticated technique in which the pathologist has to complete control over the images he is viewing. It is performed between the two fixed partners – large institution linked to small hospitals located in remote areas. It requires high cost of equipment and compatibility between the systems at both ends.
Hybrid system is the combination of both static and dynamic technology. In such systems a series of static images are captured and are transmitted at the start of dynamic tele-pathology session.