Clinical Pathology

Cost Minimization Analysis of Telepathology


Telepathology is gaining acceptance as a mode of providing pathology services to remote sites, but its economic feasibility is unknown. A dynamic robotic telepathology service between the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Iron Mountain, Ml, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Milwaukee, WI, provides diagnostic services for routine and frozen section surgical pathology cases at Iron Mountain. We conducted a cost minimization analysis of this service by building a model to compare telepathology and onsite pathology in Iron Mountain and a courier method of transporting specimens from Iron Mountain to Milwaukee for diagnosis. Base case analysis showed the courier method to be the most economic; telepathology was less costly than on-site pathology. If the costs of telepathology equipment and telecommunication are lowered to reflect current cost, then telepathology becomes the favored option. Telepathology can be an economic mode of providing pathology services to a remote site.

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