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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of the 11th European Congress on Telepathology and 5th International Congress on Virtual Microscopy

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The Eastern Quebec Telepathology Network: a support to the improvement to the public health care system

Bernard Têtu1*, Marie-Pierre Gagnon2, Geneviève Roch3 and Jean-Paul Fortin4

Author Affiliations

1 Professor of pathology and Medical Director of The Eastern Quebec Telepathology Network; Departement of Pathology, Laval University, Québec, Canada

2 Associate professor, Faculty of Nursing Sciences, Laval University, Québec, Canada

3 Adjunct professor, Faculty of Nursing Sciences, Laval University, Québec, Canada

4 Professor, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Laval University, Québec, Canada

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8(Suppl 1):S8  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-S1-S8

Published: 30 September 2013

First paragraph (this article has no abstract)

The Eastern Quebec Telepathology Network is aimed at providing uniform diagnostic telepathology services in a huge territory with a low population density. It has been designed to provide intraoperative consultations (frozen sections) in smaller community hospitals and to allow pathologists working alone to rapidly obtain a second opinion. This study provides an interim evaluation of the benefits of the network. The network involves 24 sites, of which seven are devoid of a pathology laboratory, three have no pathologist and six have one pathologist on site. Since the beginning of the implementation, the coverage in pathology in this territory was improved: 1) telepathology allowed pathologists to work outside of their office and to provide surgeons with faster diagnoses of urgent biopsies; 2) expected interruptions of the intraoperative consultation coverage were avoided ; 3) intraoperative consultations were provided to surgeons in hospitals devoid of pathology laboratory; 4) expert opinions were obtained with reduced isolation for pathologists working alone and improved turn-around time; 5) merging of smaller laboratories resulted in a more stable pathology coverage and an attractive effect on the recruitment of young pathologists; 6) videoconferencing and macroscopy station allowed real-time communication between a pathologist and the remote technician for macroscopic description; and 7) several technical procedures were standardized (staining, sectioning, reporting). In conclusion, the Eastern Quebec Telepathology Network was designed to improve medical care to patients. In a short period of time, an improvement of the organization of health cares and of the delivery of services is already apparent.