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Background: When running large trials, histopathology services are used to assess the state of a tissue. However, in many clinics in low resource settings there are large variations in quality of such services, specifically in biopsy processing and histopathological interpretation/assessment of images. Quality assurance (QA) is needed, but it involves physically mailing slides to a remote clinic. A telemedicine solution can address this challenge.
Methods: A novel smartphone adapter for microscopes was developed, consisting of a 3D printed attachment and software integration for the image capture. The attachment is used to couple the eyepiece of a low end microscope to a smartphone (Samsung J530). Image capture was controlled through the EVA System app. The entire system was characterized optically using standard calibration targets. Additionally, images captured on the attachment were compared to the standard method of shipping and scanning slides in a high end slice scanner at a remote clinic.
Results: The resolution of the entire system (microscope + phone) with a 40X objective was <1 μm. The system is currently undergoing testing in Nigeria as part of a broader cervical cancer screening study.1 Preliminary testing showed similar image quality between the smartphone-based system and high end scanner. Whole slide imaging requires stitching together images into a mosaic, made possible by a mobile application.
Conclusion: The results here show that coupling a low end microscope to a smartphone yields similar results to a transporting slides to a high end microscope. Such an attachment can thus potentially provide a telemedicine solution to researchers in low resource settings.
Aliyah Arunasalam, Kfir Bar-Am, Cathy Sebag, Whitney Elminger, Amir Bernat, Frank Bolton, and David Levitz “Development and testing of a smartphone adapter for image quality assurance and whole slide imaging”, Proc. SPIE 10869, Optics and Biophotonics in Low-Resource Settings V, 108690O (26 February 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2511137; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2511137