Have you struggled to find adequate and safe medical care during COVID-19?
If so, you’re not alone. The introduction of the novel coronavirus into our society caused many to significantly reduce the number of places they went. Very few people wanted to go into the doctor’s office unless absolutely necessary. Once there, they hoped to spend as little time as possible in the clinic.
Fortunately, advances in medical technology have made it possible to conduct even more advanced diagnoses from a distance. These telepathology solutions have served both doctors and patients well during COVID-19.
But what are these technologies, and how do they help stave off the coronavirus?
Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Telepathology?
In order to understand telepathology, we must first comprehend pathology.
Pathology studies diseases and their effects on the body. Pathologists, then, assist doctors by studying their patients’ test results in a lab and giving out the result. They’re the unseen people behind diagnoses and are incredibly well-trained in their field.
Telepathology, then, consists of the process of studying a disease from afar. It takes advantage of different telecommunication technologies to transmit key elements. For instance, the internet can be used to digitally send whole slide images (WSI) of certain lab results, allowing pathologists to study them from a distance.
The Uses of Telepathology
Originally, telepathology was used mostly when medical professionals needed to perform diagnoses from rural areas that might not have adequate access to technology. This served physicians well when they went to more remote areas of the globe.
It became essential when serving populations who didn’t have access to other forms of medical care, such as the northern reaches of Canada or Norway or areas in Africa.
It also helped medical professionals be able to more easily capture images and send them to one another for a second opinion before diagnosis. It has also been used for education, peer review of different studies, and occasionally even for clinical diagnosis.
Pathology and COVID-19
As COVID-19 began to sweep through the world, more and more government orders rolled in, all urging people to stay home.
Pathologists understood the need for these measures. After all, the more people they had physically in the lab, the higher chance they risked of unintentionally spreading the new virus. Yet, the CLIA mandates they must perform all diagnostic work within a lab.
To avoid becoming spreaders, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) appealed to President Trump, asking for permission to waive this CLIA regulation temporarily. Trump granted the waiver, and pathologists began working from home.
That’s when telepathology solutions became crucial. After all, pathology still comprises a critical part of our medical system, and it would not be wise to have to shut down our pathological studies in the middle of a pandemic.
The Effects of Travel Bans on Pathology
In addition, many peer reviewed elements of pathology require pathologists to travel between locations.
In cases in which peer review is necessary, a primary pathologist reviews, studies, and diagnoses a slide. Once that is done, a second pathologist travels to the primary pathologist’s location, and the two review the slides together and discuss the diagnosis.
This year, travel became increasingly difficult as many cities issued travel advisories. In some places, the regulations for travel changed by the week, making it nearly impossible to anticipate. Even so, many pathologists felt strongly about not traveling this year in order to contribute to the containment of the virus.
Telepathology Solutions During COVID-19
Yet, pathology can’t just come to a screeching standstill for an indefinite period of time. This is especially true during a pandemic when we need trained medical professionals to review disease in a continuous manner, or we risk falling behind the medical curve.
That’s where telepathology solutions come in. As mentioned above, telepathology made its debut when pathologists needed ways to communicate with people in remote locations. Now, whether we live minutes or hours away from a medical center, we’ve all lived our lives in a somewhat remote manner.
During COVID-19, pathologists have adapted their use of telepathology solutions to complete their everyday work. They can now review images of slides from a distance, with just an internet connection, and they can confer with their colleagues with increased ease.
This has allowed pathologists to continue their work throughout 2020 while maintaining a safe distance from their colleagues.
About the Systems
Virtual slides comprise an essential part of telepathology. Often, they come from cameras installed on microscopes. These images are then sent to pathologists working from other locations. This gives pathologists the ability to see samples at the microscopic level without being in the same room.
Using video conferencing software, pathologists can then communicate with their colleagues about what they’re observing. This helps them come to accurate conclusions about their slides and continue their work.
In some cases, when people work in laboratories in-person, the slides are placed on large screens to help encourage social distancing measures.
Strides in digital pathology also make it possible for pathologists to use digital systems to collect, share, and manage information. This has allowed them to take many of their processes and adapt them to current public health measures.
Do You Need Telepathology Services?
Do you need pathology services but don’t know how to go about getting a team together in the midst of COVID-19?
Let our telehealth solutions help you. By using telehealth professionals, you’ll get full, accurate pathology services without having to risk furthering the spread of COVID-19.
In addition, we get our results to you fast. Our U.S. Board-certified pathologists work around the clock every day because we know accurate and fast work is essential to you and your patients. We use top-of-the-line technology In fact, we work so quickly that we’ll have the results back to you in an hour or less.
Ready to get started? Contact us today!