Digital diagnostic pathology is the use of technology for more accurate and faster diagnoses.
It entails acquiring, managing, storing, retrieving, and sharing medical images in a digital environment. Also, digital pathology involves the creation of digital slides viewable on a computer or mobile device.
The slides are then shared through a cloud-based system or software applications. This allows pathology teams to have access from anywhere in the world. Keep reading to learn more.
What are the Benefits of Digital Diagnostic Pathology?
Digital diagnostic pathology services benefit the client and the pathologist. Some of the benefits are:
Pathologists can increase productivity when using digital diagnostic pathology.
They can also reduce the turnaround time, enabling more timely diagnosis and treatment plans.
Increases Sharing of Images
With traditional slides, there is a restrictive 1:1 ratio of the number of slides to viewers. In digital pathology services, images can be viewed and enhanced on a computer or tablet. There is no sharing limit.
Reduces Error Rate
When using digital diagnostic pathology, the error rate reduces by more than 50%.
This is because there is better communication, and pathologists can review images more thoroughly.
Also, it makes reporting more accessible and establishes traceability for future reference.
It’s now easier for pathologists, surgeons, and other healthcare providers to join forces for more accurate diagnoses.
They don’t have to all converge into one room to view the same slide. Additionally, there is a breakdown of geographical barriers, making collaboration more effective.
Reduces Patient Wait Times
By speeding up the process, patients can have faster turnaround times and access treatment sooner.
Pathologists have more time to review images and provide a diagnosis for timely procedures or treatments.
Supports Flexible Work Schedules, Including Remote Work
Pathologists can now review digital slides from home or on the go, allowing for more flexible work schedules.
It’s beneficial for pathologists who have different workstations across many health facilities.
Images sent through traditional means can be lost or misplaced. But, this risk is eliminated or reduced with digital pathology services.
It’s easier to trace, retrieve, and even track documents’ movement when using a digital system.
It’s important to note that digital pathology has been around for more than 50 years. Its roots date back to 1960, when the first telepathology experiments launched.
In the 90s, the principle of virtual microscopy emerged. It involved sending digitized images to radiologists for diagnosis.
Diagnostic digital pathology can transform organizations. It’s essential in the Covid 19 era, as many businesses, including health care facilities, work hard to prevent overcrowding in the emergency room.
Patients’ experience will be more positive if there are no wait times or delays. To adopt digital pathology, you need to.
Understand Digital Pathology
You have to understand the benefits of digital pathology, best practices, and understand the barriers. Then you can work with experts who champion the digital pathology initiative.
Hire a partner with expertise in digital imaging, workflow, and integration of digital pathology. They will help you set up the system, train your staff and work with your IT department.
Also, choose a partner familiar with your industry’s guidelines and regulations.
Set Goals and Understand Needs
Create a detailed workflow, understand which image sharing tools you need. Also, consider storage demands and patient information protection protocols required.
Adopt the Right Technology
If you want to use remote access, you need specific hardware like tablets or laptops. You also need Wi-Fi coverage in your facility for secure file transfer.
As you look at the budgets, compare tools and current infrastructure demands, understand the future of diagnostic pathology, the costs, and your organization’s return on investment.
Install the System
Ensure a complete product integration into existing infrastructure, software, and hardware systems.
As you set up the system, ensure it has strong physical security. This includes measures like off-site data backup, 24/7 monitoring, and reliable network connections.
Besides, make sure you have a plan for outage alerts if the system fails.
Your staff needs training on the hardware, software applications, and workflows associated with digital pathology. To adequately support staff training demands, offer:
- Lunch and learn
- Peer to peer training
- Online learning opportunities
- Hold periodic meetings to gauge the success of the training sessions
Plan for Support
The right service provider will provide both pre-sales support and post-sale support.
They should offer technical support, maintenance plans, onsite training, and upgrades.
This partner can also act as an extension of your staff available to address concerns with the system before they become critical issues.
Hold Yourself Accountable
A digital diagnostic pathology solution is excellent for increasing your success, but it’s one part of creating a successful diagnostic lab.
It will only work if you commit to continual improvement. It would be best if you held yourself accountable for meeting deadlines. This will increase testing accuracy and ensure that patient care is a top priority.
The Future of Digital Diagnostic Pathology
Large biopharmaceuticals and top clinical research organizations (CROs) use digital pathology to improve drug development processes.
Quantitative analysis for digital pathology is crucial in this industry.
In the past, digital pathology ruled research and quality control in clinical laboratories of pharmaceutical companies.
Nowadays, hospitals and labs have adopted it to improve patient care through quick access to images. They can analyze previous pathological examinations, case report information, and other findings.
The future of digital diagnostic pathology is promising. More organizations are adopting digital microfluidic imaging for patient care use in various pathology disciplines.
It provides physicians with images acquired through automated methods. This helps them find the correct diagnosis during interpretation.
Furthermore, data mining techniques offer pathologists quantitative information to identify tumor features. This enables them to make more accurate treatment decisions.
By understanding patient needs, workflow demands, and making good choices. Then, you can make the transition without too much disruption to your daily processes.
Reap the Rewards of Digital Pathology
Although moving from analogue to digital diagnostic pathology may be daunting. Remember that upgrading will enable you to operate a future-ready and competitive enterprise.
Most importantly, focus on what you want to do by implementing a digital diagnostic pathology system.
To understand more about telepathology and diagnostic pathology, talk to Specialist Direct.
You get all the help and knowledge you need to develop digital telepathology solutions.
Specialist Direct is a client-focused, technology-savvy, and cost-effective telehealth solutions provider. Our expertise can advance your digital pathology equipment and HIPAA-compliant telehealth networks. Call or email us today for more information.