Compression Guidelines for Diagnostic Telepathology

David Foran(1), Peter Meer(2,4), Thomas Papathomas(3), Ivan Marsic(4)

(1)BioImaging Laboratory, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Piscataway, NJ 08855, USA

(2)Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
(3)Department of Biomedical Engineering
(4)The Center For Computer Aids for Industrial Productivity
Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ 08855, USA

As the healthcare community has begun to rely increasingly upon digital technologies for acquisition, storage, and transmission of pictorial data, image compression has become indispensable tool. We have investigated the feasibility of lossy compression in a well defined task domain, the clinical assessment of digitized images of chromatic, microscopic pathology specimens. The effect of compression was measured under two distinct perceptual criteria, just noticeable difference (j.n.d.) and largest tolerable distortion (l.t.d.), differing in the involvement required from subjects, who were experts in pathology. For standard JPEG compressed images it was found that when the experiment is performed under the l.t.d. criterion, a significantly larger compression ratio is reported as satisfactory. It is concluded that lossy compression of pathology images holds promise for diagnostic telepathology.

Appeared in IEEE Trans. on Information Technology in Biomedicine, 1 , 55- 60, March 1997.
A shorter version appeared in 1996 International Conference on Image Processing, Lausanne, Switzerland, September 1996, vol.1, 873-877.
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