Telecytology: intraobserver and interobserver reproducibility in the diagnosis of cervical-vaginal smears.

Alli PM, Ollayos CW, Thompson LD, Kapadia I, Butler DR, Williams BH, Rosenthal DL, O’leary TJ.
Hum Pathol. 2001 Dec;32(12):1318-22.
Telecytologic diagnosis of cervical-vaginal smears is potentially useful because it could allow more efficient use of cytopathologist resources and expertise. A pathologist in one location could, in principle, review cytotechnologists’ findings using a video display hundreds or thousands of miles away. Currently, bandwidth restrictions limit practical implementation of such a system to review of fields that had been selected for review by the cytotechnologist. The purpose of our investigation was to evaluate how well this type of review correlates with a review in which the entire slide is available for examination by the pathologist. We prospectively selected 100 consecutive cervical-vaginal smears over an 11-day period in August 1999. For each smear, 4 to 12 fields containing abnormal cells from each slide were digitally imaged. Each of 3 pathologists reviewed all digitized images and all glass slides. Diagnoses based on selected digitized images were compared with those based on conventional pathologist review. The kappa statistic, a measure of chance-corrected agreement (reproducibility), was calculated in each setting. Overall, intraobserver and interobserver reproducibility of cervical-vaginal smear diagnoses is fair to excellent. The use of remote digital images for pathologist review did not introduce large (2-step) diagnostic disagreements. The disagreement between a pathologist’s glass slide and digital diagnoses is less than that for different pathologists reviewing glass slides, although interobserver differences were even greater in the interpretation of digital images.
PubMed ID: 11774163
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