One of the most recent advances in telemedicine is whole slide imaging for diagnosis. Check out this guide to learn more about the benefits of this technology.
Whole slide imaging represents a new frontier in pathology: slide-less pathology. Gone are the days of glass slides, on-site storage rooms, and aging colors. The digitization of slides preserves the quality of slides while also making research materials more accessible and record keeping easy.
If you work within the telehealth sector, whole slide imaging may change the way you work completely. Keep reading to learn about digitization and the competitive advantage it may add to your business.
What Is Whole Slide Imaging?
Whole slide imaging, or WSI, is the process of scanning traditional glass slides into digital slides. Pathology labs around the world took up this practice because it helps them in areas like diagnostics, education, and research.
The process takes place in four steps:
Lab technicians use whole slide imaging scanners to complete the process. The hardware – the scanner itself – is used to scan the slides and transmit the image to pathologists. Pathologists trained on the system use the software component of the scanner to format and compress the image according to the system requirements.
Why Go Digital: Advantages of Whole Slide Imaging
Conventional glass slides served us well in the past, but digital slides offer new advantages simply unavailable with old technologies. Digitization offers labs and organizations the chance to:
- Improve accuracy
- Increase productivity
- Save money
Digital Slides Improve Accuracy
With this type of imaging, pathologists receive a high-resolution digital image quickly.
The high-resolution images offer better color and contrast quality that improve the ability to analyze, archive, port and share the images without sacrificing color.
Whole Slide Imaging Increases Productivity
The second recorded advantage is the easy retrieval of images from the archive. A digital slide won’t break or fade, and the storage method won’t inadvertently corrupt the quality of the slide.
In a worst-case scenario, a file may become corrupted, and the original conventional slide may be required for analysis. Otherwise, you only need to enter the appropriate keyword to find the correct slide.
Organizations Save Money
It also presents an organizational use that extends beyond lab work. Quality assurance is easier with digital slides. And it serves as a permanent record of slides sent to other facilities for legal cases or analysis.
With a permanent record and more opportunities for quality assurance, organizations save money by eliminating poor readings, storage facilities, and potential fines and legal fees associated with mistakes.
Things to Consider Before Switching
The benefits of whole slide imaging mean the investment pays off quickly, but there may be some teething problems, particularly for smaller labs or labs in developing countries.
Expect to invest in new infrastructure to support digitization as well as the added human resources required for learning the new system. Labs also need continuous internet service, uninterrupted power supplies, and high-resolution monitors.
But even if you can’t afford an in-house digitization system, don’t despair. Telepathology services allow you access to these technologies without the human and financial costs of setting up a whole new system.
Let Us Help Make Sharing Easier
Digitization and whole slide imaging make telehealth more accessible than ever. With WSI, you’ll find it easier than ever to make an accurate diagnosis when you need it – no more waiting around for physical or poorly made slides.
Are you interested in improving your practice and patient outcomes? Learn more about what solutions Specialist Direct has to offer.