Telemed J E Health. 2020 Sep 9. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2020.0188. Online ahead of print.
Background: Rapid evolution of telemedicine technology requires procedures in telemedicine to adapt frequently. An example in urology, telecystoscopy, allows certified advanced practice providers to perform cystoscopy, endoscopic examination of the bladder, in rural areas with real-time interpretation and guidance by an off-site urologist. We have previously shown the technological infrastructure for optimized video quality. Introduction: Newer models of cystoscope and coder/decoder (codec) are available with anticipation that components used in our original model will become unavailable. Our objective is to assess the diagnostic ability of two cystoscopes (Storz, Wolf) with old (SX20) and new (DX70) codecs. Materials and Methods: A single urologist performed flexible cystoscopy on an ex vivo porcine bladder. Combinations of cystoscope (Storz vs. Wolf), codec (SX20 vs. DX70), and internet transmission speed were used to create eight distinct recordings. Deidentified videos were reviewed by expert urologist reviewers via electronic survey with questions on video quality and diagnostic ability. A logistic regression model was used to assess the ability to make a diagnosis. Results: Eight transmitted cystoscopy videos were reviewed by 16 urologists. Despite new technology, the Storz cystoscope combined with the SX20 codec (the original combination) provides the best diagnostic capacity. Discussion: Technical infrastructure must be routinely validated to assess the component impact on overall quality because newer is not always better. Should the SX20 become obsolete, ex vivo animal models are safe, inexpensive anatomic models for testing. Conclusions: As technology continues to evolve, procedures in telemedicine must critically scrutinize the impact of new technologic components to uphold quality.