In recent history, the field of pathology has experienced significant technological advancements. Telepathology has arguably contributed the most to this branch of medicine over the past several years.
What Is Telepathology?
Telepathology refers to the practice of pathology from a distance. Since its inception, telepathology has been utilized in many forms, including for histopathology related cases. Histopathology refers the process by which a pathologist views a tissue sample for diagnosis purposes. Traditionally, histopathology has been done by placing tissue on glass slides, which are then reviewed under a microscope. Utilizing telepathology, the samples are digitized and reviewed using a computer via an online system.
What Are the Advantages of Telepathology?
Due to its many advantages, telepathology is used within various clinical applications. This includes the diagnosis of frozen section specimens, second opinion diagnoses, education, research, primary histopathology diagnoses, and subspecialty pathology expert diagnoses. The main advantages of telepathology are as follows:
- Faster diagnoses and consultations – Frozen section diagnoses can be made rapidly by providing remote pathologists with immediate access to the images. Telepathology consultations can be provided through subspecialists, including dermatologists, renal pathologists, and neuropathologists.
- Better quality evaluations – Virtual imaging permits pathologists to look at the entire slide with better clarity. With just a single slide and a portion of the entire series, pathologists have an easier time evaluating the whole pathological history. Human error is reduced significantly because the diagnostic process is driven by software.
- Evaluation of slides from a distance – Thanks to real-time telepathology, it is possible to evaluate an entire slide from a distance. Pathologists can use different levels of illumination, change focus, and use magnification to evaluate an entire slide from a distance. This is particularly useful when it comes to slides that should not be exposed for extensive periods of time due to the threat of contamination.
- Live video Collaboration – Real-time telepathology makes it possible to transfer images as a live video feed to various monitors. Different pathologists can observe the images as a part of a live video feed at the same time. Based on the live video feed, a pathology team can come to a single consensus regarding a diagnosis.
- Improved Communication – The live video feed promotes communication across teams. Different teams can study a live video feed and then use an online conferencing facility to communicate with each other and share conclusions. Even if the teams are in different locations, they can observe cases simultaneously.
Telepathology has proven to be very effective is improving the efficiency, speed and accuracy in diagnosing patient cases. For more information about the advantages of telepathology, please don’t hesitate to contact us.