WhatsApp is an effective tool for obtaining second opinion in oral pathology practice

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Histopathology is a specialized branch of medicine, which deals with the diagnosis of lesions based on their microscopic examination. One needs to have systematic knowledge, training, and expertise to reach to the correct diagnosis. However, it is truly said that ‘pathologies do not read books before manifesting themselves,’ and hence, exceptions are inevitable on histopathological grounds as well. Under such circumstances, in quest of accurate diagnosis, one has to consider consulting the other pathologists for second opinion diagnosis (SOD) where diagnostic challenges persist.
Second opinion diagnosis has become a crucial aspect of day‐to‐day practice for histopathologists worldwide. Usually, the slides and tissue blocks are exchanged for second opinion as the pathologist prefers to view the slides in real time. However, such practice often leads to diagnostic delay, which could prove critical in cases of malignant lesions. It has been reported that diagnostic delay is often associated with poor prognosis in cases of malignant disorders 1.
Increased use of smartphones and the endless application possibilities that have augmented with the software applications has created a new era in clinical data exchange among clinicians 3. WhatsApp Messenger is a cross‐platform mobile messaging application that allows the exchange of text messages, images, audio, and video messages using Internet connection 4. A popular feature of ‘group chat’ allows people to communicate and share images and videos over a common interface 5. Its efficacy and utility have been demonstrated in various clinical settings. For instance, in traumatology cases, WhatsApp has been used to establish an initial diagnosis and classification of tibial plateau fractures during emergency surgery so as to instantly and adequately seek advice regarding plastic and reconstructive surgery 6.
The configuration of smartphone camera (megapixel, resolution, and zoom) varies depending upon the brand and the model of the phone. Today, the minimum configurations and facilities available in any smartphone camera are 5 megapixel lens, 640 × 960 pixels resolution, 5× zoom, HDR facility, and autofocus. With these settings, it is feasible to capture decent images from any binocular compound microscope. Most importantly, many healthcare professionals have access to high‐speed 3G or 4G Internet facility from different service providers that aid in immediate exchange of images. With this view in mind, this study was designed to find out the effectiveness of WhatsApp application in the field of oral pathology for obtaining second opinion on histopathological diagnosis.
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