EURO-TELEPATH (Telepathology Network in Europe) is a European Cooperation in ScienceTechnology (COST) Actionlabeled IC0604. It is aimed at fostering collaboration between European research groups working on an adequate technological framework for the management of multimedia electronic healthcare records covering both data and images, but also on standards and applications for processing such multimedia information in anatomic pathology, and communicating it to the clinical domain. The standardization work is performed in close collaboration with related organizations dedicated to the development of international standards (SDOs).
This research project has been launched at a meeting in Brussels on 6 November 2007, and ran until 5 November 2011. Throughout those four years, EURO-TELE-PATH has been consolidating the most renowned research references in the field of informatics, as applied to anatomic pathology, in order to develop, with the support of national and other European programmes and projects, standards and solutions necessary to represent, interpret, browse and retrieve digital medical images while preserving their diagnostic quality for clinical purposes, education and research.
EURO-TELEPATH has been supporting the exchange of young researchers to establish new areas of scientific collaboration, and complementing multidisciplinary publications and research theses on running prototypes in hospitals, laboratories and institutions. These areas of research were related to digital pathology, telepathology, medical informatics, image analysis, business process modeling, and the evaluation of technology.
At the end of the project, we asked the most relevant researchers in the field of digital pathology – most of whom had been active members of EURO-TELEPATH – to contribute to a book that would cover their main research initiatives. Perspectives on Digital Pathology is a book that compiles the main research efforts of the European COST Action IC0604 consortium, and which was presented as the project's final publication to the COST office. As well as rounding up the presentation and being as comprehensive as possible, it also includes a selection of papers from American and Japanese researchers working in the same area of research.
This book is divided into six Parts.
In Part I, “Introduction”, the COST instruments supporting cooperation among scientists and researchers across Europe and the activities of COST Action IC0604 are introduced. Part II, “State of the Art in Pathology”, contains five chapters. In the first chapter, the state of the art and trends in digital pathology are described, followed in Chapter 2 by a presentation of the Telemedicine Programme in Alentejo, Portugal. Chapter 3 provides a discussion about paradigm changes in health towards personalized, ubiquitous health services in pathology, and Chapter 4 presents a system architectural approach to telepathology interoperability. Chapter 5 deals with the consequences of the digital for pathology professionals, and the use of digital slides for education concludes this section on the “State of the Art in Digital Pathology”.
Part III, “Pathology Business Modeling”, presents the state of the art in pathology business process analysis, modeling, design and optimization. It also describes in detail a proposal for advanced pathology business process models.
Part IV, “Standards and Specifications in Pathology”, offers a complete compilation of current image management, report management and terminology standards in pathology. Given the importance of ontologies for semantic interoperability, a chapter about SNOMED CT in pathology has been included.
Part V, “Images: Analysis, Processing, Retrieval and Management”, provides two contributions on digital pathology in personalized cancer therapy, including an example of an automated image analysis methodology and the effects of image compression. Some work on content based image retrieval (CBIR) follows.
Part VI, “Technology and Automation in Pathology”, describes an advanced disrupting scanning technology developed in a European country. The second chapter addresses the relevance and importance of security and privacy services in running any pathology solution. The last chapter in this section concerns grid architecture and components which play an important role in diagnostic pathology.
Part VII, “Strategic developments and emerging research”, comprises three relevant chapters that describe the future of pathology technology, including new user interfaces and fast viewing systems, three-dimensional (3D)-reconstruction in cancer pathology study, and a completely automated tissue sectioning system for tissue blocks.
The editors would like to thank all the contributing authors for their excellent work, which has made this final project achievement possible. Furthermore, they are indebted to the COST office for sponsoring the publication of this book.
Marcial García-Rojo, Bernd Blobel, Arvydas Laurinavicius