Digital pathology has taken some time to catch on, but it is poised to revolutionize the way pathologists diagnose conditions. Advancements in medical technology have allowed medical information to be digitized and even remotely accessed.
Logically, physicians will use great caution with anything that has to do with patient safety and confidentially. However, the capacity to improve treatment and save lives using telepathology is apparent.
Better patient outcomes and user-friendliness are just some of the reasons to get behind this technology. Read ahead to learn more about telepathology and how it is going to change medicine.
An Introduction to Digital Pathology
Imagine medicine in the old days for a minute. After a biopsy was taken, the pathologist would have to use old-fashioned microscope to examine the specimen and arrive at a diagnosis. But what could happen if the pathologist was unable to be physically present at the hospital?
Being able to come up with a medical diagnosis using a histological slide is, to this day, something that requires years of dedicated training. Dedicated pathologists can often be in short supply in rural hospitals, especially in poverty-stricken regions of the world.
So, do you wait for the doctor to come to the hospital, or do you put the specimen on ice and take it another specialist? Problems such as these could be solved by telepathology.
Development of Telepathology
Doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital used to get in the car and drive through traffic to serve sick patients at Logan International Airport.
That was until 1968, when Dr. Weinstein, a third-year pathology resident, correctly diagnosed what was otherwise a simple case of anemia. He examined an image of the blood smear sample that was transmitted to him at the hospital directly from the airport.
Delivering A Digital Diagnosis
Dr. Harvey was working with extremely limited equipment compared to what we have today. In the last fifty years, our ability to transmit high-quality images and other media instantly to a qualified specialist has transformed that way many physicians practice.
It favors patients because they no longer have to wait to receive a potentially life-saving diagnosis. Gone are the days where they have to wait for days due to technological limitations.
Physicians love to work with telepathology because it allows them to treat more patients in a shorter amount of time.
Coronary CTA Studies and Telepathology
Coronary computed tomography angiogram, or Coronary CTA, is a test that allows physicians to accurately observe plaque in arterial walls, as seen in atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease.
Timely diagnosis can lead to proper prevention and treatment of heart attacks.
Using telepathology, ER physicians can get expert pathological opinions when common tests like EKG are inconclusive.
The Future of Telepathology
Telepathology is an ever-evolving field in medicine in healthcare. It is going to continue growing and improving the diagnosis and treatment of disease.