Utility of telepathology as a consultation tool between an off-site surgical pathology suite and affiliated hospitals in the frozen section diagnosis of lung neoplasms
J Pathol Inform
BACKGROUND: Increasingly, as in our institution, operating rooms are located in hospitals and the pathology suite is located at a distant location because of off-site consolidation of pathology services. Telepathology is a technology which bridges the gap between pathologists and offers a means to obtain a consultation remotely. We aimed to evaluate the utility of telepathology as a means to assist the pathologist at the time of intraoperative consultation of lung nodules when a subspecialty pathologist is not available to directly review the slide. METHODS: Cases of lung nodules suspicious for a neoplasm were included. Frozen sections were prepared in the usual manner. The pathologists on the intraoperative consultation service at two of our system hospitals notified the thoracic pathologist of each case after rendering a preliminary diagnosis. The consultation was performed utilizing a Nikon Digital Sight camera and web-based Remote Medical Technologies software with live video streaming directed by the host pathologist. The thoracic pathologist rendered a diagnosis without knowledge of the preliminary interpretation then discussed the interpretation with the frozen section pathologist. The interpretations were compared with the final diagnosis rendered after sign-out. RESULTS: One hundred and three consecutive cases were included. The frozen section pathologist and a thoracic pathologist had concordant diagnoses in 93 cases (90.2%), discordant diagnoses in nine cases (8.7%), and one case in which both deferred. There was an agreement between the thoracic pathologist's diagnosis and the final diagnosis in 98% of total cases including 8/9 (88.9%) of the total discordant cases. In two cases, if the thoracic pathologist had not been consulted, the patient would have been undertreated. CONCLUSIONS: We have shown that telepathology is an excellent consultation tool in the frozen section diagnosis of lung nodules.
Faculty, Northwell Resident
School of Medicine; Northwell Health
Pathology and Laboratory Medicine