In this month’s Acta Eruditorum column, Physician Editor Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, talks with Ellen Mooney, MD, and Antoinette Foote Hood, MD, about their recent Journal of Cutaneous Pathology article, “Diagnostic accuracy in virtual dermatopathology.”
Dr. Van Voorhees: For those of us not in the know, what is virtual microscopy? Is it being used in dermatopathology? How so?
Dr. Hood: Virtual microscopy is the process whereby, with scanning machinery, you’re able to take a whole mount of a glass sliCan virtual microscopy replace glass slides for dermatopathology?de and get digital imagery of that entire specimen and then, with a computer program, can convert that into an image that can be placed online, sent on a DVD, or put on a computer. The person who is looking at it can go from low power, to see the whole mount, to higher power, to see individual cell detail. So it’s digital imagery of a whole mount of the glass slide, and it can be performed on any tissue. Dermatopathology is particularly well-suited to this process because our pieces of tissue tend to be a bit smaller.
Dr. Mooney: This technique is being used for medical student and resident teaching in the U.S. and Scandinavia. In addition it is regularly used for resident teaching and in conferences in Australia and occasionally in Europe, e.g., Austria, Germany, and the UK. The Biomedical Informatics Research Group in Finland has used virtual images in the European Congress of Pathology and at the Department of Pathology, University of Helsinki, Finland, they host their dermatopathology seminars online in virtual format. It has also caught on quite a bit in CME/continuing professional development, and in external quality assurance. In dermatopathology, it’s mostly utilized in CME.
By Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, November 01, 2012
Dr. Van Voorhees is the physician editor ofDermatology World. She interviews the author of a recent study each month.