The virtual case: a new method to completely digitize cytological and histological slides
The purpose of this study was to present a new method for handling histological/cytological cases. Thanks to the introduction of information technology in pathology, including the amenities afforded by robotic microscopes and digital imaging, tissue slides can be represented and evaluated using digital techniques in order to construct virtual cases through completely automated procedures. A virtual case (VC) is composed of a collection of digital images representing a histological/cytological slide at all magnification levels together with all relevant clinical data. In the present study, we describe an automated system to manage robotic microscope and image acquisition for the proper construction of VCs. These can then be viewed on a computer by means of an interface ("user-friendly") that allows one to select the more appropriate fields and to examine them at different magnifications, rapidly going from panoramic views to high resolution and vice versa. In comparison with glass slides, VCs have several advantages arising from their digital nature and can be considered a common platform for a wide range of applications such as teleconsultation, education, research, and quality control and proficiency tests.
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