Flexible working at diverse or remote sites is a major advantage when reporting using digital pathology, but currently there is no method to validate the clinical diagnostic setting within digital microscopy.
To develop a preliminary Point-of-Use Quality Assurance (POUQA) tool designed specifically to validate the diagnostic setting for digital microscopy.
We based the POUQA tool on the red, green, and blue (RGB) values of hematoxylin-eosin. The tool used 144 hematoxylin-eosin-colored, 5×5-cm patches with a superimposed random letter with subtly lighter RGB values from the background color, with differing levels of difficulty. We performed an initial evaluation across 3 phases within 2 pathology departments: 1 in the United Kingdom and 1 in Sweden.
In total, 53 experiments were conducted across all phases resulting in 7632 test images viewed in all. Results indicated that the display, the user's visual system, and the environment each independently impacted performance. Performance was improved with reduction in natural light and through use of medical-grade displays.
The use of a POUQA tool for digital microscopy is essential to afford flexible working while ensuring patient safety. The color-contrast test provides a standardized method of comparing diagnostic settings for digital microscopy. With further planned development, the color-contrast test may be used to create a "Verified Login" for diagnostic setting validation.