You can promote better outcomes for patients using digital pathology.
Digital pathology is the practice of using technology to acquire images for the diagnosis of various conditions. Furthermore, the practice is supported by data analysis. Together, these technologies are changing the pathology field.
Now, medical professionals can generate and create digital libraries using the technique. By doing so, they enable machines to “see” patient test imaging results.
The technology behind digital pathology is highly complex. However, getting started with digital pathology is relatively easy.
To learn more about the evolution of digital pathology systems, read on.
What Is Digital Pathology?
Digital pathology encompasses the electronic capture of glass slides. For example, a pathologist may use a whole slide image scanner to capture a patient sample. They can then view the results on a computer monitor or another electronic device.
A digital image viewer works like a microscope. For this reason, pathologists can “move” digital slides around in the same fashion.
With digital imaging, pathologists retain the same functions as a standard microscope. However, the field has delivered remarkable advancements. For this reason and others, the future of digital pathology looks bright.
Now, labs are more efficient. Also, the workflow of practitioners is improving, thanks to a faster test turnaround. In addition, the field is also helping practitioners improve their cash flow.
Digital technology has evolved over the last 20 years. The practice started by attaching a camera to a microscope.
The field advanced further with the development of diagnostic scanners. Now, the field is becoming indispensable in laboratories around the world.
The first digital scanners were large and cumbersome. Also, the scanners took up to six minutes to process a slide. That time is an eternity compared to the 30 seconds that it takes scanners to process slides today.
Also, pathologists can configure modern scanners for multiple magnifications. They can also process up to around 1,000 slides at a time.
More recently, the cloud has made its impact on digital pathology. Now, the cloud is an affordable, secure way to store diagnostic imaging.
Improved Workflow with Digital Pathology Systems
There are several benefits to digital pathology. However, glass slides will continue to serve as an important part of the pathology practice—at least for now.
Pathology starts with collecting tissue. For these reasons, time-tested glass slides remain a requirement in the field. However, pathologists now transform those slides into digital format.
Now, pathology goes beyond sampling tissue or making scans. It’s about improving productivity as well as sample and test quality.
Digital pathology gives physicians easy access to prior cases. It also allows medical professionals to store results for long-term predictive analytics.
The practice also reduces errors. Using barcodes, for example, pathologists lessen the risk of misidentification.
Today’s pathology equipment enables operators to zoom in on samples. They can also view slides from multiple angles and in real-time. It also allows pathologists to measure several areas of interest digitally.
Pathologists can also use tech to digitally mark up slides. Also, they can view slide data and notes with an easy to use dashboard.
Digital pathology enables a faster test turnaround time. In some cases, pathologists can give their opinions in real-time. It improves productivity for both short-term and long-term processes.
Going Digital with Pathology
There are a few steps involved with making the transition to digital pathology. However, it starts with people rather than equipment.
During the transition, it’s important to start with pathologists and executive buy-in. It’s vital that these key stakeholders understand the benefits of the practice.
You can build a case for buy-in by gathering recent case studies. You can also investigate digital pathology best practices.
It’s also important that you make an honest assessment of the barriers to adoption. You must also clearly understand your organization’s research needs.
With this information, you can create a visual representation of your practice’s new workflow. Together, these pieces of information can help you make a compelling business case for digital pathology.
Your investigation must go beyond digital pathology equipment, however. You’ll also need to consider the infrastructure you need to store digital information.
It’s important to include this in your assessment of the new workflow. You also must consider employee retraining in both digital and non-digital processes.
When you execute this transformation, you’ll want to convert all manual processes into digital format. You also want to take full advantage of the technology. For instance, you want to automate as much of the process as possible.
As you implement the digital pathology rollout, it’s important to note speed, cost, and volume improvements. For instance, keep track of reductions in overtime and damaged slides. Also, take note of whether the implementation improves customer satisfaction.
Once you’ve completed the rollout, make the most use of your digital assets. For example, use your digital image results to foster collaboration internally and externally.
Meeting Today’s Needs with Tomorrow’s Technology
The digital pathology market is expanding. Today, a growing number of pharmaceutical and clinical organizations use the practice.
The technology helps to streamline the drug discovery process. It also helps to make preclinical and clinical trials more efficient.
These organizations understand the opportunities that lie in the use of digital pathology. For example, they’re learning that digital pathology can help to find opportunities that are hidden from the naked eye.
Digital pathology can prove highly beneficial. However, the initial startup costs can prove costly. For this reason, many organizations partner with digital pathology companies.
Take the First Step Toward the Future
Now that you know more about digital pathology systems, you need a cost-effective way to implement the practice. You can enjoy the benefits of digital pathology without the costs by partnering with an exceptional service provider.
Specialist Direct is committed to offering the best of clinical care. We provide access to a national network of specialists and thought-leaders.
With Specialist Direct, you can rest assured that the vital information you need is assessable and secure. No matter your needs, we can help you develop a solution to meet your unique application.
Contact us today! We can show you how to use technology to improve productivity now—and in the future.