When we refer to pathology we are talking about the study and diagnosis of a disease. This concept applied to technology is allowing long-distance examination and consequently, giving hope to patients in numerous remote and rural areas of getting a timely diagnosis. In summary, telepathology is the practice of pathology at a distance.
A specimen is obtained in a frozen image at the biopsy location, sliced thin to view under a microscope, and sent digitally so a pathologist and a specialist can review it. Simply explained, by capturing images digitally, they can be transmitted to different locations for examination by a medical professional.
Similar to the desktop scanners used in offices to transfer reproductions of photos or documents, a pathology scanner transfers these images to remotely located laboratories for analysis and diagnosis.
These scanners allow the digitization of slides which allows detail on the image on a compressed data size that allows the transfer of these files as needed.
This practice is changing the landscape in medical diagnosis, helping make remote diagnosis part of the day-to-day healthcare.
If you live in a big city with a lot of specialists nearby it may be easier to obtain a diagnosis in a short time, however, if you live in a rural area, your access to specialized healthcare will be limited in comparison, and that’s where Telepathology comes in, by allowing all patients to have access to better care than the one they may obtain in a small rural hospital.
One of the main benefits of Telepathology is fast diagnosis. If you live in a remote area, you can be easily tested and diagnosed with a single trip to your nearest healthcare provider, rather than having to go long distances to visit several specialists during different trips and having to wait several weeks for the results, this is very often the case with traditional diagnoses.
Rural hospitals may have a general surgeon but not a pathologist or a specialist, this technology will give these hospitals access to this information by obtaining support remotely, which can be life-saving.
A quick diagnosis is key to being able to develop a treatment plan for any illness. The faster a diagnosis is obtained, the fastest you can get treatment. Delays in diagnosis may not be as important when talking about a simple cold, however, when you are talking about an advanced illness, delaying treatment can make the difference between life and death.
This technology-enabled solution allows the same level of access for all patients regardless of their location.
Additionally, this technology is ideal for educational purposes, making it consistent and it’s a great option for standardized teaching, by using case-related information that can be offered to students anywhere.
Who Will Perform the Evaluation?
This is where remote specialists come in, one of the greatest advantages of Telepathology is having access to specialists all over the world. By partnering with a team of remote specialist providers, the patient has immediate access to higher quality and timely care.
Having a remote service allows advanced diagnosis in a fraction of the time. It will be easier to obtain second opinions as well as a consulting pathologist who specializes in the patient’s area of concern.
Additionally, the patient will also have access to integrated pathology services, obtaining different specialist evaluations at the same time, therefore, having a higher chance of a more accurate diagnosis.
Saving Time and Moving Forward
In the not-so-distant past, getting pathology results meant manual transport of a specimen via courier to a laboratory for examination, this process could take up to a week at times with an additional cost. Innovations in technology have enhanced these processes, offering faster results for better care, better resource utilization, and added value.
It is often logistically easier and more cost-effective to transmit an image than it is to move a patient or a pathologist, Telepathology can expedite rapid consultation with a fast turnaround time when traveling is not a viable option.
Let’s consider all the implications these services will have on all patients. Not only will they receive higher quality care but they will also get their results faster and more accurately by having access to specialists with immediate answers.
Patients will benefit from this technology greatly as it can speed up surgery times, provide better healthcare and reduce travel time. This provides patients access to services that they may not otherwise have which makes it as sustainable for patients as it is for healthcare workers.
This technology will automatically reduce costs for on-site specialists or lab analysis. Hospitals and clinics will reduce admissions and in-person visits, which in consequence will decrease the overflow that’s faced by healthcare workers daily.
By implementing remote analysis and diagnosis, patients can save valuable time and money while getting the best care. If you are ready to put our words to the test, contact us and we will gladly solve any doubts and get you started.