It only makes sense that as the population continues to age, and many of us are burdened by poor health choices, that the need for organ transplants will continue to rise. Organ shortages have become a serious issue, which is why it is crucial to be able to harvest healthy organs for transplant as efficiently as possible.
The need for kidney and liver transplants far exceed other organs, and the current US waiting lists are filled with people hoping for a life-saving intervention. Of the more than 125,000 people on waiting lists for organ transplant in the US, close to 103,000 are waiting for a kidney and more than 14,000 are waiting for a liver.
In fact, when it comes to kidney transplants, it is estimated that 13 people die every day while waiting for a transplant. Organ Procurement Organizations that are tasked with evaluating and securing viable organs for transplant know that time is of the essence, which is why more and more are turning to telepathology to find the matches they need.
The Problem with Local Hospital Pathologists
It’s no secret that hospital pathologists do great work and are at the top of their field. However, even though they are more than capable of producing an accurate liver biopsy or kidney biopsy, it is the element of availability and speed that makes them a liability in the organ transplant arena.
When OPOs need interpretations to qualify donor cases in a hurry, but it is after hours or on a weekend and no one at the hospital is available, it slows the process and keeps patients waiting instead of being prepped for surgery. Many Organ Procurement Organizations are encouraged to use hospital pathologists because it is good for business, but for the patients who are on waiting lists there is a better way.
Saving Lives with Telepathology
Telepathology, often called digital pathology, is a term that refers to practicing the discipline of pathology from a distance. Ronald S. Weinstein M.D. first used the term in 1986. As the technology used to facilitate the transmission of pathology image-rich data has continued to evolve, its use for speeding up the organ transplant process has become more valuable.
With speed and accuracy being the two most critical factors involved in placing donor organs successfully, telepathology plays a huge role in reducing waiting lists and saving lives. When a kidney biopsy or liver biopsy can be performed remotely with speed and accuracy, it creates a host of benefits for OPOs, which includes increasing their rankings.
Why Specialist Direct?
When you decide to use telepathology solutions by Specialist Direct, you will be working in a cloud-based, HIPPA compliant technology platform that provides STAT interpretations (within one hour), and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And the turnaround time is guaranteed to be within the one-hour time frame, which means regardless of when you need results, they will be available to you within the hour, any day of the year.
Compared to the current hospital model, working with Specialist Direct will enable you to increase the number of organs placed, meet clinical standards and manage donor cases to reduce stress and have the most efficient process possible. If you’d like more information about our unique telepathology solutions, contact us today.