Telepathology, or the act of practicing pathology from a distance, has made huge advancements in the realm of diagnosis.
Many people don’t even know what digital pathology is or how it can benefit you. We’ll walk you through one type of telepathology system: the virtual slide system.
In this article, we’ll cover what that means, the benefits, and the future outlook of digital pathology.
Keep reading to learn how we define digital and telepathology.
What Is Digital Pathology?
Digital pathology consists of the collection, sharing, management, and interpretation of pathology information. You can share slides and data in a digital environment.
Digital slides are created after scanning the glass slides via a scanning device. This provides a high-res digital image. You can view these pictures from most devices.
Thanks to high-throughput pathology scanners, you can view a slide at a magnification comparable to a microscopic lens.
Pathologists can share these slides over networks using specialist software solutions. Image analysis tools help with quantification and interpretation of biomarker expressions.
The Move to Digital
The history of digital pathology goes back over 100 years to when the first equipment helped capture images using a microscope. The past decade went through periods of rapid digital transformation. That’s why moving away from the traditional system is imminent.
The improvement of both slide imaging technology and LIS/LIMS interfacing benefited digital pathology.
Digital pathology enables a pathologist to evaluate, engage, and collaborate remotely. They can do all this while improving the productivity and efficiency of their working conditions.
It’s also believed that digital pathology will help with translational research. And in some cases, computer-aided diagnostics, and personalized medicine.
The Benefits of Digital Pathology
Glass slides are not disappearing, and that’s for good reason. Pathology always starts at the point of collected tissue. The glass slides are the intermediary between the world of the physical and digital.
Nowadays, pathology goes far beyond scans and tissues.
The pathology of today needs a new approach. When pathologists don’t consider the potential of digital pathology. They miss out on the advantages that you can’t achieve with a simple glass slide.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits that digital pathology has over microscopy.
The data for slide analysis is accurate and easily accessible, unlike with microscopy. The data storage allows for predictive analysis.
You also have quick access to prior images. You can view and share these images with others much faster via teleconferencing.
Digital pathology completely eradicates the possibility of accidents or breakage.
You also don’t have to worry about mistakenly placing a slide or report in the wrong place. Barcoding helps reduce the risk of mishandling and losing track of samples.
You can view slides from varying angles and zoom in or out as needed. You are able to measure a digital slide in a multitude of ways. These measurements are also more accurate.
Teams can comment on slides and access data as necessary. You can also consult with them without leaving your workplace.
Digital pathology fosters collaboration and allows quick access to slides and data. This eliminates the need to search for physical slides or scour an archive for information.
This also allows remote access, flexible work schedules, and more automation.
Faster Turnaround Times
Telepathology provides quick access to archives. It improves the organization by digitizing everything, as well as data matching and retrieval times.
It speeds up access to samples and reduces the needs for manual reviews.
Digital data allows clinics to access information from around the world. Telepathology also delivers new tools for training and teaching.
Pathologists often say that glass slides work fine, or they just can’t justify the investment. But the cost of going digital is worth it when you consider the benefits.
The Future Trends for Digital Pathology
Clinical research organizations and corporate biopharmaceuticals use digital pathology to streamline their process. It also helps with pre-clinical and clinical trials.
A great opportunity exists for quantitative analysis of companion diagnostics and novel theranostics. This will help with assays that are difficult to analyze with the human eye.
Many of the markers can express staining characteristics. Even though they are diffused among cellular compartments, only one might be relevant.
The increased complexity of such assays is the principle for driven development. Only now will advanced image capture, coupled with pattern recognition be relevant. Such efforts allow morphological identification of relevant issues and individual cellular compartments.
It also benefits the field of Immunohistochemistry (IHC).
Digital pathology systems offer a wide variety of relevant prognostics scores. For instance, when compared to a sample and a predetermined output on a standard curve from previous clinical data. Much of the potential lies in the generation of diagnostic scores.
Also, in combination with images and IHC data, and other modalities such as MALDI-TOF or FACS.
This process will allow discrete patient stratification in relevant clinical groups. Instead of replacing IHC, molecular tests and digital pathology provide the tools for the future of the industry.
Now you know how we define digital and telepathology. You see how capable the industry is and how it can become even more so in the future.
If you’re interested in learning the best practices for implementing digital pathology, get in touch with us.