Digital pathology is the wave of the future in the field of pathology — the study of disease. While it is not yet poised to completely do away with glass slides, digitizing specimens have a number of benefits.
Let’s turn on the microscope and learn about the exciting possibilities with digital pathology.
What Is Digital Pathology?
Collecting and analyzing samples is the core of what a pathologist does. With the information they learn, they can collaborate with doctors and help make diagnoses about a patient’s condition.
Digital pathology facilitates this work. Using whole slide imaging (WSI) technology, pathologists can scan slides and turn them into a digital image.
The idea of photographing what is seen through the microscope began around 100 years ago. However, it hasn’t been until recently that digital pathology has taken off. Leaving analog telepathology behind, technology in pathology has exploded in recent years.
And it’s not hard to see why.
What Are the Benefits?
This technology is facilitating the work of pathologists and doctors in several ways. Let’s look at them here.
One of the biggest benefits of digital pathology is the ease with which pathologists and doctors can now share images of a specimen. This ability to collaborate is excellent for patient care. Now, it is easier than ever to seek the opinion of a specialist when you can easily share images across the country — or around the world.
This is particularly important as the number of pathologists has been declining in the US. From 2007-2017 the number of pathologists has dropped by 17%. With the ability to share digital images, as long as there is someone on site who is trained in properly collecting samples, patients will still have access to proper pathology as part of their care.
On top of having access to more trained eyes, pathologists can use computer algorithms to analyze digital slides. This method of analysis is typically more objective, faster, and even more accurate than traditional methods of microscopy.
Storage and Labeling
It is also easier to store and access digital slides. This gives pathologists quick access to past cases that can provide insight into a current sample. The database can also be used to create long-term predictive analyses.
Using barcodes on digital samples also helps to reduce errors by reducing the risk of misidentification.
Turning a specimen into a digital photograph also gives the pathologist more options when viewing the data. The pathologist has access to live zooming and multiple angle views. This allows them to easily measure multiple areas of interest (AOI).
Collaborating team members can also make notes for everyone to see on the dashboard. All of this speeds up the workflow, thus providing better patient care.
A Pathologist at Your Fingertips
Even though the number of pathologists is declining, pathology does not cease to be an important part of patient care. To that end, doctors and patients need access to a pathologist to provide and receive quality care.
Digital pathology is the solution!
Contact us today for real-time digital pathology interpretations. Whether you need a routine analysis, STAT studies, or a second opinion, our board-certified pathologists are on hand to analyze your data 24/7.