My interest is in pathology so I want to focus on telepathology here.
Applications of telepathology generally are of two types:
- Dynamic imaging telepathology (DI), also known as Real-Time video imaging.
- Static imaging telepathology (SI), sometimes refered to as store-and-forward telepathology.
Dynamic imaging telepathology is where a specialists doctor, a pathologist, actually gets to remote control the microscope to view a slide to make a diagnosis. Compared to store-and-forward telepathology, as the name suggests, the images a captured, stored and forwarded to a specialist for a diagnosis or second opinion. DI also has the benefit of direct involvement of a specialist but it is usually more expensive to manage. In Papua New Guinea, a SI would be more appropriate as it is cheaper and easier to manage.
What Do We Need To Set Up A Telepathology system?
Generally I think equipment required to set up a telepathology system would fall into three categories:
- Internet connection
Hardware would include the actual microscope with a mountable digital camera and an imaging device like a TV screen. More specifically, elements that will need to be considered are:
- Digital image capture system
- Digital data transfer system
- Digital data connection
- Digital data receiver system
- Digital data display system
- Storage and archive system
- Patient information system interface
This generally gives a picture of what may be needed if we want to have a telemedicine network established in PNG. This network would probably include Port Moresby General Hospital, including the UPNG Medical School, Lae (for Momase region), Goroka (Highlands region) and Nonga (for Islands region). These base hospitals would process the images and upload them to a portal that can be accessed by all participating hospitals.
In my next post I will try to give some estimates of the costs of a telemedicine network. I am not sure where to get those kind of information but will go surfing the web and let you all know.