Digital pathology solutions are helping to create an equalized availability of pathology services across the U.S. Traditionally, major city centers have enjoyed higher-quality medical services, including the availability of state-of-the-art medical testing facilities. Remote healthcare facilities can augment their medical teams using telepathology to improve medical resources. Medical expertise can also be shared to help expedite the organ screening process to better serve transplant patients. Telepathology also continues to increase OPO reach with emerging diagnostic technology ICUs can leverage to access expert pathologist interpretations to improve transplant patient outcomes.
Providing Medical Advantages
Telepathology optimizes medical resources regardless of the size of medical teams or location. It can provide a viable solution in the procurement of organ donors by addressing common disparities in the availability of qualified, certified medical expertise in remote locations. Digital pathology uses digital slide scanning technology to significantly improve pathology consultations providing indispensable information with access to static images, remote control automated microscopes, and digital pathology slides in the organ screening process. Doctors can also access digital slides using synchronous browsing to compare past findings and improve their interpretations.
Clinical Teaching in Screening Protocols
Pathologists can utilize remote pathology technology to offer guidance and teach up-to-date testing practices crucial for organ screening. This includes sampling, staining, slicing, and diagnosis, which helps improve skills for remote healthcare facilities when organs become available. Medical facilities and primary hospitals can improve their pathological abilities and ensure more patients receive donations through proper, efficient screening. Platforms used also contribute to scientific research by providing continuing education as new screening technology becomes available. This intensifies development at primary hospitals to improve their organ screening capabilities.
Remote Organ Assessments
Remote donors can pose challenges in the organ procurement process. For example, lungs require transportation within four to six hours, making it difficult to meet the needs of remote patients on organ waiting lists. Also, medical specialists are usually not included or available in ICUs where clinicians lack the skills to accurately assess lungs and other organs for possible transplantation. Outdated methods at these smaller and remote locations slow down the organ donor process, contributing to patient backlogs. Considering it takes an average of at least five days to receive results for testing, access to timely tests and real-time results using telepathology solutions improves the process using board-certified pathologists. They can often provide results for potential donors near life’s end within 24 hours. Consultations also take place via primary hospitals, which can share pathology slides in minutes. Whole slide imaging is uploaded and shared via the internet to quickly consult with pathologists anywhere. Other testing methods using cryosectioning machines help expedite biopsy interpretations in organ donors, while digital pathology microscopes allow pathologists to operate tools remotely.
Remote Complex Interpretation Assistance
Remote pathology consultation provides crucial input when diagnosing difficult and complex cases using testing such as:
- Rapid intraoperative frozen section pathology
- Exfoliated cell smear
- Liquid-based cytology slides
- Puncture cytology slides used for atypical cases
- Immunohistochemical staining results
Access to second opinions is vital in organ procurement when interpretations are less definitive. Telepathology ensures opportunities for viable organs are not overlooked by less qualified or less experienced medical professionals.
Summary of Telepathology Advantages for Transplants
Telepathology offers many advantages for transplants, including:
- Digital pathology scanners provide improved imaging of digitized frozen sections.
- Real-time sharing of digital whole slide imaging microscopes allows doctors to share scanned images from any medical location via the internet.
- Quick diagnosis and access to pathology results increase success rates for transplant and donation procedures.
- Telepathology for transplantation applies to all phases of the organ transplant process, including real-time allograft selection and assessment of donor/recipient tissue specimens utilized pre-and post-surgery.
- Organ availability at underserved medical centers can be accessed through real-time testing and interpretation performed by board-certified pathologists. They can provide input to expedite the organ selection and approval process to realize urgent turnaround times.
- OPOs expand their reach with organ viability testing available in remote areas and access to 24/7 biopsy interpretations and results.
- Underserved ICUs can access expert pathologist interpretations to improve transplant patient outcomes.
- The histological diagnosis of biopsy specimens in kidney and liver assessment provides sampling and diagnosis of common issues such as hepatitis.
- Digital pathology services expand board-certified medical resources to alleviate pathologist shortages during the transplantation process.
As telemedicine technologies improve, OPOs have access to a growing number of diagnostic services. Telepathology is crucial to improving the diagnosis and treatment of diseases to assess organs for transplantation. Experienced pathologists can also contribute to the education of medical professionals in underserved areas to improve their diagnostic capabilities in the organ procurement process.
At Specialize Direct, we offer advanced PACS technology, industry-leading customer service, and valuable partnerships with board-certified pathologists to ensure your OPO receives optimal organ interpretations that help save lives. Our Telepathology Solutions, with specialists available 24/7/365, provide unsurpassed access to propel your success forward.