The main objective of this study was to analyze the potential of telepathology to assist surgical and cytologic pathology in developing nations. The results obtained overall show evidence that there is high correlation between telepathology and traditional microscopy. From this, the project may be repeated similarly in other developing countries.
There are major limits and problems to overcome. Referring to the costs, a partial solution to this apparent problem may be the division of the connection costs between more than one hospital, even more than one region or country (for example Madagascar, Tanzania). Another limit of the method is the slowness and the weather dependence of the connection. This is a critical point, especially if we want to expand the technology to include time dependent functions such as intra-operative diagnoses by telepathology.
Despite these issues, there are benefits from this system of telepathology. As others in the literature have shown, it is possible to have different opinions on difficult cases from highly qualified hospitals throughout Europe.
We evaluated the telepathology method of diagnosis in developing nations compared to traditional microscopy, with review of the concordance and discordance of data. We obtained no substantial differences diagnoses in cytological specimens.
This project offers one solution to facilitate Pathology in order to help guide clinicians in the management of their patients in underdeveloped countries.. After one-year of experience in Zambia with telepathology, we believe that the positive aspects of the project outweigh the encountered difficulties such as equipment costs, maintenance and the necessary improvements that may be required in the future.
NOTE: part of this material is taken from a paper submitted for publication to an Internation Scientific Journal, copyright reserved and property of authors.