Reader Suggests Substitutes for the Term "Soft Copy Read" in Digital Pathology
Posted Nov 19 2009 10:02pm
In a blog note posted yesterday, I suggested that the term soft copy read could be used by pathologists to describe the process whereby a scanned image of a tissue lesion is reviewed using a terminal rather than a microscope (see: Digital Pathology, Pathologists, and the "Soft Copy Read" ). I am not completely satisfied with this phrase, borrowed from the radiologists, but think that its use, or a similar phrase, could be useful in the digital pathology dialogue. In response, Lance submitted the following comment:
Perhaps a more applicable term would center around the [term]: 'digital diagnosis' or 'z-view diagnosis'. Note, in both terms, inclusion of the term 'diagnosis' implies that the final decision/diagnosis rendered was made using the preceding word's methodology. For the two (off the cuff) terms - 'digital diagnosis' would imply/mean that the diagnosis was made using a digital display, and the latter incorporates the fact that the digital scanner incorporates a z-plane. Granted, with the latter term, a 'z-plane' is technically a component of glass slides as well, though we often don't think of it in such terms. Moreover, this renders an interesting question regarding terminology and nomenclature. One factor not fleshed out in this post is the permanent inclusion of a term (such as 'glass diagnosis' or 'glass review') that details/parallels the 'hard copy', e.g. glass in the world of pathology. Perhaps the term 'tissue diagnosis' remains correct, but it greatly generalizes things and may become akin to saying a clinical diagnosis was made...a term that, in actuality, fails to convey any methodology used, but rather is a generalized 'waste basket' term.
First of all, I agree with Lance that the inclusion of the term diagnosis in the phrase could be misleading. Frequently, there is no lesion present so no diagnosis can be rendered. The use of the term z-view is also misleading because most paraffin sections, but not necessarily cytopathology smears, will be scanned only in one plane. The terms glassview or glass review suggested by Todd above have much to recommend them. I will also suggest the phrase glass read that is quite similar to soft copy read and has a clarity and directness that appeals to me. Given that tissue sections mounted on glass will not disappear in the foreseeable future, any term including the word glass should have a long life.
So, to recap the discussion, we are considering at several terms to describe the review of a scanned image on a terminal screen by a pathologists. The current candidates are the following:
Soft copy read
Soft copy review
Among these, I personally favor glass read or glass view because they are short, descriptive, and to the point. What do you think?