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Ketchikan hospital pioneers new telepathology technology

Pathologists can change focus, illumination and field of view at will

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2010

KETCHIKAN - A new telepathology service offered in Ketchikan will allow surgeons in the operating room at Ketchikan General Hospital real time consultation with Northwest Pathology in Bellingham, Wash.

Courtesy Of Ketchikan General Hospital
Courtesy Of Ketchikan General Hospital

Pathologists in Washington can change focus, illumination, magnification, and field of view at will as they uses an online interface to examine a frozen tissue slide prepared in Ketchikan.

KGH, in partnership with the PeaceHealth Laboratories and Northwest Pathology, is among the first hospitals in North America to use telepathology in an intraoperative setting. This technology has been used for research, academic instruction and general pathology consultations. KGH is pioneering this use of the technology, which is beneficial to smaller hospitals where technical experts may not be readily available.

The use of this technology will improve patient care and reduce travel costs, a hospital spokesperson said.

A surgeon at KGH will submit tissue for pathology review during a procedure. A histotechnologist at the Ketchikan lab will then freeze the tissue, prepare the slide and scan it. In Bellingham, one of the pathologists will log into an online site to review the slide image and can then call the surgeon to discuss the results.

"This type of .... 'intraoperative' consultation using telepathology is just as accurate and timely as if the pathologist was right there in the Ketchikan lab," said Dr. Berle Stratton, cytopathologist with Northwest Pathology. "Now, we can have immediate analysis of a frozen tissue sample for any type of surgery, even emergencies, conducted during normal business hours without the delay and expense of arranging for an on site visit."



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