Feasibility and acceptability of telepathology system among the rural communities of Bangladesh: A pilot study

J Family Med Prim Care. 2022 Jun;11(6):2613-2619. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1876_21. Epub 2022 Jun 30.

ABSTRACT

CONTEXT: Telepathology is a promising tool for remote communities to receive pathology services where professional diagnosis services are inadequate.

AIMS: We aimed to clarify how effective telepathology was when compared with conventional pathology service among rural communities of Bangladesh.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: We conducted a cross-sectional study in suburban and rural areas of Bangladesh between June and August 2020. We enrolled 117 participants who received both telepathology services from Thakurgaon Eye Hospital and conventional pathology service experience. The participant’s satisfaction with the accessibility and perceptions were statistically compared. In addition, we summarized descriptive statistics using the frequencies and percentages of participants’ responses.

STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: Wilcoxon’s Signed-rank test using SPSS statistic software version 25.00.

RESULTS: Among the study participants, service cost, travel cost, travel time, waiting time, and travel distance were significantly higher for conventional pathology than telepathology (P < 0.001). The majority of participants (94%) were satisfied with the telepathology experience; however, one out of 117 participants was dissatisfied with this service when their travel distance was far away (≥50 km). Among the participants, 91.5% thought that telepathology service was effective for their treatment, and 98.3% wanted to continue this service in their community. On an average, participants saved 58% (95% CI, 53.4-61.5) of cost using telepathology rather than conventional pathology service.

CONCLUSIONS: Remote under-resourced communities received professional pathology services with less time-consuming and significantly lower costs using the telepathology approach. Where pathology services are absent/insufficient, telepathology is efficacious for primary diagnosis, screening, and referral through professional pathologists for the satisfactory treatment of unreached communities.

PMID:36119341 | PMC:PMC9480709 | DOI:10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_1876_21

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