Science and technology are constantly changing how we work, even within the healthcare industry. As the advancements bridge the gap between science and technology, medical practices are able to work more efficiently. This, in turn, allows medical professionals to give their patients the ongoing care they need.
For example, more practices are using telepathology scanners to offer better care.
According to this report, digital pathology is expected to reach $5.7 billion by 2020 worldwide.
Unsure if telepathology is right for your practice? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the benefits of telepathology.
What is Telepathology?
The internet is constantly making our lives easier. Today, we can get instant updates from our phones about everything from our favorite sports team to new scientific discoveries. Telepathology takes advantage of this instant communication to help practices work more efficiently.
As a term, “telepathology” means to practice pathology even at a distance.
Think about how often we use telecommunications on a daily basis. We send one another photos and videos, all straight from our phones.
Telepathology takes advantage of this convenience for medical purposes.
With telepathology scanners, your team can send data and images to one another instantly. This includes materials for research, educational purposes, or diagnoses.
Telepathology makes it easier for pathologists to work internally. When communication is easier for your team, it’s also easier for you to provide patients with the answers and diagnosis they need.
Types of Telepathology
Today, telepathology is divided into three systems:
- Image-based systems
- Virtual slide systems
- Real-time systems
The first, image-based systems, are the most affordable. They’re also easy to use. Unfortunately, static images don’t capture as much information as real-time or virtual slide systems.
Virtual slide telepathology uses automated digital slides made from images of the standard glass slides samples are mounted on. With a telepathology scanner, you can make a digital image of a whole side without moving the slide to get multiple images. Then, that image file is stored within a computer.
Anyone with the right credentials at your medical practice can then access these slides. They’ll show multiple fields of view with high-resolution images captured by the slide scanners.
The third type of system uses live video feeds. A computer monitor can display the pathologist’s slides in real-time. Using a microphone, two people can communicate and review the slides for live discussion.
These systems of digital pathology imaging take the diagnostic game into the future by allowing a diagnostic pro to be in every medical practice anytime.
The Benefits of Telepathology Scanners
Using telepathology scanners can improve your medical practice’s diagnostic accuracy and efficiency.
There are a few barriers to consider regarding telepathology, including training and transitioning. However, the benefits often outweigh the costs. Here are a few other benefits to consider.
1. Faster Consultations & Diagnoses
Frozen section digital pathology requires efficiency and timing. With a telepathology scanner, pathologists have access to the images remotely. They can also view a slide in real-time, which maximizes time.
This allows your medical team to make faster diagnoses.
In some cases, you may need to contact sub-specialists for a consult. With these image systems applications, you can bring other consultants into the discussion. You also don’t have to wait for these experts to visit your practice.
Instead, everyone has access to the same images at the same time.
This will allow your medical practice to make faster consultations. When you streamline the communication process, you’re able to make faster diagnoses, too.
As a result, your medical team is working more efficiently and providing patients with the answers they need sooner.
2. Higher Quality Evaluations
Speed isn’t the only factor to consider when researching telepathology scanners.
These imaging systems improve evaluation quality, too.
Looking into a microscope can limit a pathologist’s view. With virtual imaging, however, it’s easier to get a full view of the slide. Pathologists can also choose to use one slide or many at once.
This reduces the margin for human error and improves accuracy.
3. Remote Evaluations
In some cases, your medical practice will need to make remote consultations.
Telepathology scanners make it easier to evaluate and consult slides from a distance. While adding convenience, this allows reduces the chance slides will become contaminated during travel.
4. Video Collaborations
According to this research, 69% of pathologists are interested in using video conferencing for remote attendance. With telepathology, video collaboration makes it easier to transfer images across different monitors.
Video collaborations also make it easier for multiple pathologists to see a single slide at once. This adds convenience and allows a team to communicate more effectively. Instead of traveling to the same place, your team can all communicate regardless of their location.
5. Efficient Workflow
A multi-step workflow can waste time and make working more complicated than it needs to be. Telepathology, on the other hand, streamlines the process.
Instead of pulling hundreds of slides from storage, you have access to everything in one place. Pathologists won’t need to request a slide, collect it, and find the corresponding report.
In some cases, you’ll also need to hunt down where the one slide you need is currently housed.
That’s time you and your team could spend researching instead.
With remote pathology, you can improve workflow and improve overall efficiency.
6. Storage Integrity
Unfortunately, physical slides break. They also lose integrity over time, even with improved staining techniques. As a result, you’re left with a slide you can’t lose.
This will waste time and delay the diagnosis.
Telepathology allows labs to store samples and access everything using an easy-to-use database. Machine learning programs also better organize everything. As a result, it’s easier for pathologists to find everything they need, when they need it.
7. Education Opportunities
For proper education, you need the right slides at the right time. In other cases, you need a microscope to study the slide, even if you’re at a meeting or conference. This isn’t always convenient.
With telepathology, it’s easier for pathologists to share slides in and outside of the lab.
This makes it easier for pathologists to exchange slides. In addition to making consultations easier, this can also create new opportunities for educating budding pathologists, too.
Scan in the Benefits: Telepathology Scanners for Your Medical Practice
Scan in your slides. With telepathology scanners, you can improve your medical practice’s efficiency, productivity, and accuracy. As a result, telepathology makes it easier for you to diagnosis and help your patients.
Ready to start using telepathology scanners at your practice?
Contact us today with any questions you might have. We’re happy to help.