Pathology is evolving. More and more facilities are incorporating a digital scanner that expedites a pathology diagnosis.
According to a study by the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA), telepathology has the potential to save U.S. healthcare providers $240 million per year. That’s because it allows for faster diagnoses, which often leads to better patient outcomes and fewer diagnostic errors.
Remote pathologists can review tissue specimens quickly and easily, allowing your practice to provide pathology as standard care, provide accurate diagnoses, and increase revenue. As a result, many pathologists are turning to telepathology, which uses technology to connect remote pathologists with patients.
One of the most significant pieces of technology in telepathology is the digital pathology scanner, which allows pathologists to view slides from anywhere in the world.
But how does a pathology scanner work as a telehealth solution?
How can you integrate this service into your practice? Is your lab using the latest technology to help diagnose time-sensitive diseases like cancer?
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how we use these scanners in telepathology and what benefits they offer.
Telepathology gives us a new way to collaborate by doing diagnoses for many patients, no matter where they are. This way is more accurate and fast. Plus, it helps communication and makes it easier for people to get expert opinions.
After the initial pathology scan, the digital image can be quickly sent to a remote professional for a quicker conclusion and diagnosis. Images or data of tissue samples can be transmitted electronically, which allows pathologists to give a remote diagnosis more quickly to more patients.
Telepathology is useful for patients who cannot travel to get pathology services.
They do not have to travel far for help. It can be costly and time-consuming for them to do so. This way, they can still get the help they need.
You can also use telepathology to offer diagnoses for patients who need specialist care. Often, these services can be more convenient for a patient than traveling to visit a specialist in person.
This emerging technology is perfect for second opinions and helps with the diagnosis of difficult cases. Doctors can now get a specialized diagnosis to their patients much faster.
Telepathology lets pathologists look at data without having to travel back and forth between offices or hospitals. The result is a faster diagnosis and more saved lives.
How Do Telepathology Scanners Work?
Telepathology is made possible by the emergence of digital pathology scanners. Digital pathology scanners are tools that are growing in popularity as more and more practices are adding them to their practice.
Digital scanner devices use high-resolution images to examine tissue specimens. This is done instead of using traditional glass slides. The digitized images can be stored, shared, and analyzed electronically.
All scanning systems are designed to make your data more organized so it can be accurately archived. The software makes it easy to communicate and collect all the information you need for the entire process in one place.
The easy-to-learn software also makes it easy to share data and delegate remote access to real-time scanners.
How to Use a Pathology Scanner
Pathology systems that use this scanner produce faster results with fewer errors. This helps identify disease markers or other important findings that may lead to a diagnosis.
Digital scanners use three different systems: virtual slide systems, image-based systems, and live data transfer capabilities. With real-time remote collaboration, specialists around the world can work together in real-time.
Using an Image-Based Scanner
The simplest digital scanner system is the image-based scanner. This is a great choice when introducing digital equipment to a traditional workflow. The operator needs only to scan a single image and store it with the correct data and labels.
Image-based scanners use line-based or tile-based scanning methods. Line-based scanning is where the scanner moves in a straight line across the image, one line at a time. Tile-based scanning is where the scanner moves in a series of small tiles or squares across the image.
Line-based scanning is generally faster than tile-based scanning, but it can be less accurate. Each line captures a small portion of the image, so there is potential for some missed details. Tile-based scanning is slower, but it captures the entire image in each tile, so it can be more accurate.
High-resolution images can provide more detailed information about structures and tissue. Additionally, high resolution images can be enlarged or zoomed in on without losing clarity, making them ideal for studying small details. Doctors can zoom in on an image without it looking pixelated.
Using a Virtual Slide System
Virtual slide systems take many images of one entire slide. This method reduces the possibility of blurred photos. When you choose a digital scanning system, keep in mind that virtual slide systems tend to be the easiest to read.
The virtual slide system creates several high-quality scans that give you more options. Virtual slide systems can be a good choice if you wish to cut diagnostic errors.
To operate a virtual slide system, one needs to take extra care when scanning to avoid blurry photos.
Store each digital file with care. Keep in mind that this option requires extra data storage. Consult your IT department so that they can ensure that you have plenty of storage space for the data. They may have already done, so, but communication is key when it comes to managing large files.
Using a Real-Time System
Real-time systems perform digital pathology scans like the other two systems. But they also allow a specialist to control them via an internet connection for a fast, accurate analysis.
Specialists no longer have to wait around for slides because they can get an instant digital picture with a few simple steps. Experts can diagnose patients without anyone spending unnecessary time traveling to another location.
A live remote system is excellent for both collaboration and educational purposes. The remote evaluation can project onto a large screen for group collaboration.
The remote pathologist should perform their evaluation with caution to prevent blurred images. A strong internet connection can prevent any mistakes or confusion.
Telepathology Best Practices
There are several best practices to keep in mind when providing a remote evaluation. Here are some tips to consider when you are providing a remote pathology diagnosis.
Make sure you properly prepare each slide. Make sure that you have a fresh specimen with proper blocking procedures.
Keep in mind that you should always do a test scan first, especially if it’s your first time using this feature. It may seem like common sense, but if you don’t check your focus, you will end up with a blurry image.
You will need enough space on your servers for all the files sent or received. You will be working with a lot of high-resolution images that can take up a significant amount of space and speed on your facility’s servers.
Make sure your IT team has implemented a high bandwidth connection. Real-time remote evaluations from specialists will depend on a solid internet connection. If you are sending large, high-resolution images often, it can affect internet speed.
Keep your IT department in the loop. Communicate with them about how and when you will be using your digital scanner for your personnel or as a remote pathologist.
Let your IT team know what to expect and when to expect it. They can work behind the scenes to ensure that your remote connection goes off without a hitch. All your digital files should have the space to maintain a regular archive as needed.
Make sure to use a secure transmission method when sending digital information. Password-protect your files. Use secure technology that meets HIPAA requirements for privacy and security. Your IT team should already have this set up for your facility.
Always verify the accuracy of diagnoses by consulting with many specialists whenever possible. Telepathology makes that easy! You can offer specialist services to your patients by partnering with a team of remote pathologists all around the world.
Specialist Direct connects patients with a team of international experts, giving them access to some of the world’s top doctors. Our specialists provide real-time consultation for any condition.
Ready to See It for Yourself?
Using a digital scanner for diagnosis has changed pathology. Pathologists can spend less time on the road, and more time at their desks with digital pathology scans.
Integrating these new tools into your workflow is an easy switch with a simple setup and staff training. You can connect to our network of pathology specialists who have already been vetted through our system.
You can contact Specialist Direct to book a demo and learn about our world-class team of telepathology specialists. A faster diagnosis means lives saved, which is something worth fighting for. Are YOU ready to go digital?