Daniel D. Rhoads, Blaine A. Mathison, Henry S. Bishop, Alexandre J. da Silva, and Liron Pantanowitz (2016) Review of Telemicrobiology. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine: April 2016, Vol. 140, No. 4, pp. 362-370.
Daniel D. Rhoads , MD; Blaine A. Mathison , BS; Henry S. Bishop ; Alexandre J. da Silva , PhD; Liron Pantanowitz , MD
From the Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Drs Rhoads and Pantanowitz);
the Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Center for Global Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia (Messrs Mathison and Bishop and Dr da Silva);
and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, US Food and Drug Administration, Laurel, Maryland (Dr da Silva).
Dr Rhoads is now with the Department of Laboratory Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.
Context.—Microbiology laboratories are continually pursuing means to improve quality, rapidity, and efficiency of specimen analysis in the face of limited resources. One means by which to achieve these improvements is through the remote analysis of digital images. Telemicrobiology enables the remote interpretation of images of microbiology specimens. To date, the practice of clinical telemicrobiology has not been thoroughly reviewed.
Objective.—To identify the various methods that can be employed for telemicrobiology, including emerging technologies that may provide value to the clinical laboratory.
Data Sources.—Peer-reviewed literature, conference proceedings, meeting presentations, and expert opinions pertaining to telemicrobiology have been evaluated.
Conclusions.—A number of modalities have been employed for telemicroscopy, including static capture techniques, whole slide imaging, video telemicroscopy, mobile devices, and hybrid systems. Telemicrobiology has been successfully implemented for several applications, including routine primary diagnosis, expert teleconsultation, and proficiency testing. Emerging areas of telemicrobiology include digital plate reading of bacterial cultures, mobile health applications, and computer-augmented analysis of digital images. To date, static image capture techniques have been the most widely used modality for telemicrobiology, despite newer technologies being available that may produce better quality interpretations. Telemicrobiology adds value, quality, and efficiency to the clinical microbiology laboratory, and increased adoption of telemicrobiology is anticipated.