The global digital pathology market is expected to reach $5.7 billion in 2020. It allows for quick, accurate diagnoses and treatments performed at a distance.
Telepathology scanners are one of the most important advances in this field. They create digital scans of tissue slides that everyone on a patient’s care team can view. They can also communicate with each other to create the right treatment plan.
There are several different types of telepathology scanners, but they all provide a range of benefits. They make the diagnosis and treatment process easier and faster while also saving your medical practice money.
The more you know about these tools, the easier it will be to obtain and utilize them. Read on to learn what telepathology scanners are, what benefits and applications they provide, how they work, and where to get them.
What Are Telepathology Scanners?
Creating an accurate telepathology definition involves breaking the word down into its components. Tele means far and pathology is the study of disease. Put them together and you get telepathology, which means studying disease from a distance.
Telepathology scanners take digital images of tissue samples prepared on a slide by a tissue-studying professional known as a pathologist. Each image is encrypted and stored in a database that can be accessed by other healthcare professionals.
There are several types of telepathology technology, but they all fit into 3 categories. These include virtual slide, real-time, and image-based systems.
Virtual slide telepathology systems scan and digitize an entire slide. They create several high-resolution images and are fast and easy to use. They are expensive and require plenty of storage space to handle all the files.
Real-time or robotic telepathology systems allow the pathologist to remotely manipulate slides. They’re fast, accurate, and provide access to the entire slide. They can also be expensive and may experience signal lag.
Image-based systems create a single digital image of a slide. They’re the most affordable and easiest to use of the three categories. The issue is that they provide no options for remote control and tend to produce low-res, inaccurate images.
When used correctly, telepathology scanners can save lives. They speed up the process of diagnosing and treating a range of illnesses. This makes them one of the most important tools a healthcare practice can have.
What are Their Benefits and Applications?
Only 24% of medical practices are using telepathology systems to their full effect. They may not realize all the potential uses and helpful additions they’re missing out on by doing so.
Telepathology technology provides a range of benefits, including:
- Fast, remote diagnoses and treatments
- Increased collaborations between doctors with different specializations
- Improved training
- Better educational materials
- Easy, secure storage
There are financial benefits provided by telepathology scanners. They allow for less time in the operating room and reduced hiring and travel expenses.
Telepathology scanners have an almost limitless number of uses. They can diagnose almost any illness, including cancer. It also reduces the time spent preparing organs for transplants because they quickly spot infections or other issues.
These are a few of the current telepathology applications and benefits, but the list will continue to grow as the technology improves. It’s best to get ahead of the curve by installing telepathology technology in your healthcare practice today.
How Do They Work?
There are at least 18 different specialties in the field of pathology. They all focus on tissue analysis as a way to treat and diagnose an illness.
All pathologists should know how to use telepathology scanners. It will allow them to avoid medical errors and other mistakes while providing more effective, accurate care.
How to Use Each Type
The first thing to consider is what type of scanner you’re working with. Getting an accurate image from each requires a slightly different process.
Virtual slide systems create multiple images of an entire slide. Each image requires careful storage, but the results tend to be the easiest to read if created correctly.
Real-time systems require the pathologist to remotely manipulate the scanner. This must be done with care and expertise because improper remote movements will lead to blurry, unreadable images.
An image-based system is the simplest to use because it only requires placing the slide and taking a single image. The process must be performed and the results stored correctly to create the best possible image.
How to Avoid Mistakes
Diagnostic errors make up at least 28.6% of malpractice claims and 35.2% of payments. They affect anywhere from 80,000-160,000 patients in the US alone and cause twice as many cases of death and disability as any other medical error.
Making diagnostic errors is easy to do but less likely when you have the necessary knowledge. There are several mistakes to avoid they must keep in mind during every procedure.
Ensure that each slide is labeled and stored correctly by looking at the two-dimensional barcode. Use color normalization tools to prevent confusing differences in colors in your images.
Only use fresh specimens. Always follow proper blocking procedures.
Always ensure you prep the slide properly. The sample should be no larger than 4-5 micrometers, keep specimens flat, use the right amount of stain and coverslip, place the label on the top so it doesn’t hang over the sides.
When scanning, do a test run first, then check for out-of-focus areas during your actual scan. After that, store the files in a secure database for everyone else on the healthcare team to access remotely.
Where Can I Find Telepathology Technology?
Telepathology scanners are one of the most important sectors of the growing telepathology industry. They provide fast, accurate images of tissue samples that can be shared with professionals around the world.
Using the scanner properly starts when you prepare the specimen and goes until you store the resulting images in a secure database. Proper care will help you avoid common mistakes such as improper labeling or slide loading or reading.