Telepathology allows doctors to have near-immediate interpretations of biopsies, which can be shared with key doctors in real-time. They can consult on digital pathology findings using devices such as smartphones providing advanced diagnoses to patients not only in urban clinics but also those in areas lacking access to advanced patient care. This approach to cancer care can potentially reduce cancer care inequality between underserved and resource-rich areas. It can also provide a faster diagnosis for earlier detection and facilitate life-saving decisions in real-time.
Digital Transmission of Pathological Data
Telepathology allows medical professionals to digitally transmit pathological data. The data shared expedites medical diagnosis and allows the information to be shared for consultation on patient conditions and treatment. This approach improves the level of care available to patients in underserved areas where pathologists are not available.
Telepathology helps break down the logistical issues of the past that presented obstacles to timely diagnosis. By removing these barriers, cancer patients in all locations can have access to pathologists and other medical experts. As a result, real-time decisions are made with an accurate, rapid diagnosis that can provide earlier interventions for cancer patients and save lives. Utilizing digital pathology solutions means patients in remote areas can have results in hours instead of weeks.
Quick Cancer Diagnosis Second Opinions
It is not unusual for patients and doctors to seek a second opinion for more difficult to diagnose cancers. However, the time involved with second opinions can negatively impact a patient’s outcomes. Telepathology allows doctors to share biopsy samples for review by qualified pathologists in hours as opposed to weeks. Regardless of their location, pathologists can consult remotely and provide answers for their patients 24/7/365.
Multiple experts collaborating on evaluations of tissue and cells that are potentially cancerous confirm the diagnosis or present a second opinion that alters the findings. As a result, patients receive appropriate treatment or are relieved to find they are cancer free. The sooner treatment is started, the better the possible outcomes.
Reducing Stress for Patients
Telepathology makes it easier for doctors to share tissue and cell samples with other facilities immediately, which reduces wait times for patients to confirm a cancer diagnosis. This reduces the stress of traveling from facility to facility for tests, as well as waiting for weeks or even months for results. When patients can remain in their own town and receive answers without waiting, they feel more in control.
Biopsy Diagnosis During Surgery
Surgeons no longer have to wait for biopsy results on samples taken of suspicious tissue. Instead, they can take the sample of the mass, which can be cut, stained, scanned, magnified and sent to pathologists during the surgery utilizing telepathology. Surgeons don’t have to wait to take action and instead can receive confirmation the biopsy is malignant or benign. Live-mode features allow pathologies to display slides on large screens to collaborate with colleagues in real-time. Whole slide imaging solutions can greatly improve the patient’s chances of survival.
Medical research is a time-consuming process without the assistance of whole slide imaging scanners. Because researchers depend on samples such as frozen sections or cryosectioning to determine results, it can impact how soon findings can be shared with the public. Utilizing telepathology helps researchers assess the results faster, allowing them to make an accurate diagnosis.
Through in-depth study with the assistance of a whole slide imaging microscope, they can be thorough in their research to improve credibility and ensure their findings are confirmed. As well, telepathology can assist with establishing findings at the planning stage of medical laboratory experiments or clinical trials to assist in determining the true effects.
Telepathology also helps to educate more pathologists around the world by removing barriers that could limit access. The past belief students had to be physically present to learn information crucial to pathology presented a major barrier for many people seeking a career as a medical professional.
However, through telepathology, students can receive the education they need to become pathologists, experiencing real-life clinical diagnostics using tools such as telepathology scanners. Pathology cryosectioning machines, digital pathology scanners, and digital pathology microscopes all contribute to education for today’s aspiring pathologists.
Economics of Cancer Care
Although all patients should have equal access to the same level of care, economic status does impact access to modern cancer care. This means low-income countries and areas tend to be underserved when it comes to critical cancer diagnosis and treatment. There are also disparities in health information collection due to a lack of resources in some specialties and reduced access to diagnostic facilities. Despite initial upfront costs, facilities will find a telepathology system tends to cost less to operate than a traditional system. Facilities also don’t have to invest in their own systems and instead can utilize digital pathology services. These services provide real-time interpretations from board-Certified pathologists and subspecialists.
Benefits of Digital Pathology Services for Cancer Patients
As mentioned, the main benefit of telepathology services is expediting patient diagnosis. Medical professionals in different locations or across multiple medical facilities can view images simultaneously to collaborate on treatment. As a result, patients receive the best course of treatment based on the latest cancer research. Second opinions make a huge difference in accurately diagnosing cancer but can delay treatment due to a backlog of appointments, travel time and barriers presented for patients in remote areas.
Consultations with pathologists specializing in cancer can also be involved in challenging cases with unusual cells or tissue. Telepathology also allows medical professionals to synchronize patient data across a range of different electronic health information systems, so it is readily available for all medical professionals involved in treatment. Delays related to transportation, backlogs, remote locations and more can be eliminated through digital pathology services.
Telepathology at Specialist Direct
Specialist Direct, our Telepathology services are performed by a team of American Board-Certified pathologists and subspecialists. We can interpret digital pathology studies within one hour, any time of the day or night, every single day of the year. Our services will improve diagnostic times and accuracy, allow for quick second opinions and help patients in remote and rural areas.