History of the European Conference Series on Digital Pathology: Memories and Perspectives
Digital pathology is based on both quantitative analysis of microscopic images and electronic communication (telepathology). Herein we report its development in close relationship to the European conference series on telepathology, virtual slides, and digital pathology that started in Heidelberg 26 years ago.
Telepathology, Virtual Microscopy and Digital Pathology
The author founded the conference series in Heidelberg in 1992, and has participated all of them. This report can give an insight of conferences’ information and data exchange in relation to available technological and medical knowledge. The digital world was still in its childhood at the date of the first conference. Most pathologists were not aware of its medical, technologic, and financial power at that time. Technological research and medical application investigated in electronic communication and digital acquisition of colored pictures. Frozen section services and its need for fast information transfer between different institutes and the surgical theatre dominated the application of technological development. Consecutively, all issues of telepathology were in focus at the start of and the following conferences. The pioneers of that time tried to convince their colleagues of the promising perspectives and the increasing technological influence on pathology. It took several conferences in this series until the majority of or nearly all pathologists recognized the power of this new technology. Retrospectively, some conferences remained at the scientific level of their preceding meetings, whereas others substantially promoted electronic (digital) knowledge and application in research and routine pathology.
At present, digital pathology is well implemented and mainly used for education and enhancement of molecular biology methods such as next generation sequencing, predictive diagnosis, or risk associated investigations. Implementation in routine diagnostic pathology (virtual slides, etc.) is on its way. Digital pathology seems to move forward to explore still unknown areas in surgical pathology, and tissue – based diagnosis. These include considerations on morphology, function and order of structures, which can detect potentially endangered factors or repair of live threatening breakdowns, as well as biostatistics, data mining, or self recognition algorithms.
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