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Tracking with Virtual Slides

Tracking with Virtual Slides

View the virtual slides used in this research

Treanor, D., Lim, C. H., Magee, D., Bulpitt, A., Quirke P. (2009) Tracking with virtual slides: a tool to study diagnostic error in histopathology. Histopathology 2009 Jul;55(1):37-45.

Virtual slides allow unsupervised tracking of the diagnostic process. Custom made software allows specific diagnostic tasks to be set - in this case, examining biopsies from Barrett's oesophagus for the presence of dysplasia. Pathologists are prompted to choose a diagnosis from a dropdown list, and to add a comment on their diagnosis.

Virtual Slide Tracking Software Screenshot

The software records their actions, and the resulting tracks can be visualised to compare pathologists performance. In the example below, a visualisation is produced by analysing tracking data for 4 pathologists viewing one case of Barrett's dysplasia.Three graphical representations of the track for each pathologist are present from left to right as follows: (a) a track superimposed on the image to indicate the path followed, (b) a heatmap generated by adding all pauses greater than 1000ms for each x and y pixel of the slide (where colour visualisations of time spent at each point were obtained by multiplying the magnification of the view by the time in seconds), (c) a 3-dimensional plot of the path in x, y, and z (zoom) dimensions.

In this case the consensus expert diagnosis is high grade dysplasia-intramucosal carcinoma. 3 subjects examined all pieces of tissue, but expert E made a rapid decision after examining just 2 pieces of tissue. Both trainees correctly identified the topmost biopsy as being abnormal, but both underestimated the seriousness of the histological changes and erroneously failed to diagnose dysplasia.

Virtual Slide Tracking Data