Approximately 15% of COVID-19 cases require hospitalization. Pathologists have played a critical role throughout the course of the pandemic. They work in diagnosing COVID-19 cases and help in the autopsy process for a better understanding of how this disease works.
Pathologists largely rely on advancing technology for new findings within their field. A portable scanner is crucial in a pathologist’s job. In return – as the field of pathology advances, it helps the entire health care team.
If you have an interest in learning more about portable scanners used in pathology, then keep reading on.
Field of Pathology
What is pathology? Pathologists work within the medical field. After completing medical school, students participate in up to four years of residency.
Pathologists specialize even further with additional one to year fellowship programs. This is where the field of pathology begins.
The standard pathology definition includes how pathologists look at diseases or illnesses and their cause, origin, or nature. Pathologists are able to determine these things by examining tissues, organs, biopsies, or even bodily fluids.
Many times, a pathologist also participates in the autopsy process. There are a few different specialties within pathology. Some of the more common ones include:
It is also not uncommon for general pathologists to be used in health care facilities. Similar to a general practitioner, these pathologists work within a broad field. They might defer certain complex cases to other specialties.
Technology has changed how other health care practitioners access a pathology report. In its most basic sense, digital technology allows pathologists to store and transfer medical information digitally.
Some of the things that are sent digitally are pathology reports and medical images. Digital pathology also makes it easier for pathologists when they are reading the slides. They can enhance images on the computer which reduces diagnostic error.
It also improves communication between physicians and cuts down on wait times for patients. Laboratories and hospitals making the switch towards digital technology require up-to-date computer software.
This is critical to the process of digital pathology. If the computer’s screen resolution or software is not compatible, then it can lead to misdiagnoses. Keep in mind – pathologists might also require additional training.
Most pathologists who have been in the field for a while were taught without the use of technology. Digital technology eliminates a lot of the uses of microscopes. For example, instead of viewing a tissue biopsy under a microscope, the sample is scanned into the computer with a slide.
What Are Scanners?
Digital pathology relies heavily on quality scanners. These digital scanners include a microscope and cameras. They can connect directly to computers and networks.
There are a few steps required before using a digital scanner. First, the tissue samples and slides need inspecting. Some digital scanners are whole image scanners while some upload smaller samples.
Glass covers remain the recommendation for scanning tissue samples. However, pathologists should still take precautions and examine their slides by hand before placing them on the scanner.
Common things to check the slides for are fingerprints, water spots, or other particles. A high-quality scanner will automatically focus on the tissue sample.
However, a pathologist may need to make adjustments to the slides. This is especially true if there are other integrity issues within the sample that may affect the data.
Whole slide scanners can magnify images up to 100 times. Most recommendations for scanners suggest that they have the capability of magnifying up to 40 times.
It is also helpful to have scanners with visual previews. Health practitioners can view their slides before uploading.
Scanners are not completely foolproof. They act as a supplement to the field of pathology. Health practitioners should exercise caution when assessing their slides and images.
Mobile technology and telehealth are changing the field of medicine. Scanners can be bulky and are typically left in offices. However, portable scanners are gaining popularity with telepathology.
A portable scanner should hold the same functions as a regular scanner but offer a lightweight, portable design. This allows pathologists or facilities to use the scanners in multiple settings or facilities.
What Is Telepathology?
Telepathology falls under the branch of telehealth. It uses digital technology and portable scanners for pathologists. In return, these health care specialists can communicate more easily to health providers.
Telepathology can also reduce patient wait times and improve quality care. You don’t have to worry about a lack of specialists either. Some of the specialties that exist under telepathology include:
- Soft Tissue
- Metabolic Bone
Telepathology is also beneficial in more rural areas. It can be used in health care facilities that don’t have a pathology department or do not have enough staffing. It also gives other pathologists and physicians easier access for consultation.
Ultimately, this can hopefully decrease misdiagnoses and improve quality care. Telepathology has the capability of using pathologists more frequently in the diagnostic process.
Digital technology has advanced into the world of pathology. Through machines such as a portable scanner, pathologists are able to branch into telehealth.
Telepathology gives facilities immediate access to pathologists. These medical providers are skilled, qualified, and educated. A portable scanner allows pathologists more flexibility in where they work.
It also lets them upload images directly onto a computer, tablet, or phone.
If your facility has an interest in using telepathology, then contact us today. We can give your company a free consultation and see which telehealth service can benefit you the most.