Digital Pathology has offered tremendous opportunities to pathologists, be it in the laboratories, universities, or even research centers. It has unlocked new possibilities not only for day-to-day reporting but also for a remote or expert consultation indeveloping economiesor developed economies.
Integration of machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies are assisting pathologists to make an informed decision.
Telepathology: A Connection of Hope
The current circumstances owing to coronavirus outbreak; has triggered a need for remote work on a grand scale. The pathologist community needs a solution that's quick, cost-effective and will facilitate the transfer of image-rich pathology data between distant locations.
In developing economies there are huge gaps in the healthcare system. Few of them being the availability of expert pathologists for consultation during emergencies; especially in rural areas, and challenges involved in physically transporting the slides.
What is Telepathology?
The use of telecommunications technology to facilitate the transmission of image-rich pathology data between two distant locations for research, consultation, education, and analysis purpose.
To practice telepathology, a pathologist must select the images that need to be analyzed and then make an analysis. A pathologist can study the slides remotely in real-time basis and deliver immediate analysis.
Impact of Telepathology
1. Accessibility of Care
Pathology analysis is critical, concerning patient outcomes. The absence of a local pathologist or absence of expert opinion can harm patient health, create delays and costs, and effect surgery choices and planning.
2. Quality of Care
- Telepathology can improve access to pathologists by broadening access to pathology services in a rural and remote region
- Avoiding operation loss or service disruptions in the absence of a pathologist
- Availability of a substitute when the local pathologist is unavailable
- Saving the valuable time of pathologists by sparing them to travel to remote
3. Improved Efficiency
- Improved access to pathology can lead to better care
- Facilitates quality assurance even for remote pathologists
- Facilitates learning and expertise building. Explaining the findings provides an educational benefit to the referring pathologist
- Keeping remote pathologists up to date with recent findings
- Saves the cost and time involved in physical transportation of the slides or the for the pathologist to travel
- Quicker access to expert consultation
- Saves repetitive activities in slide processing or cytology screening
- Access to patient files easier and faster
How Can Developing Economies Benefit from Telepathology?
- Medical professionals in different locations can view images at the same time and consult through teleconferencing.
- A doctor can consult with a pathologist who specializes in the patient's area of concern
- A healthcare provider can get second opinions more conveniently and effectively
- Allows pathologists and other specialists to collaborate on a complex case
- Patient data can be synchronized across various electronic health information systems
- Once implemented, a telepathology system is less expensive to operate than the traditional system, hence it beneficial even for smaller labs
- Empowerment of smaller labs; ensuring access to quality pathologists round the clock
- It provides access to telemedicine- this allows patients even from remote locations to get access to top clinicians without having to need to travelIt provides access to telemedicine- this allows patients even from remote locations to get access to top clinicians without having to need to travel
- Shorter turn-around time of a patient to conduct a test and seamless collection of report
- Seamless management of lab workflow which results in better efficiency and error-free work
- Reduces the worry of storing and acquisition of patient data as all the data can be uploaded on the cloud
How Is OptraSCAN Assisting the Pathologist Community?
We found three major challenges pathologists face while implementing Telepathology
- Huge costs involved, hence medium to small labs are unable to adopt this solution. This again doesn't serve the labs located in remote areas
- Revision of existing workflows and processes
- Technical concerns
Here's How We Are Resolving the Challenges:
1. Cost effective& requires minimum upfront cost- OptraSCAN's On-Demand TELEPath™ is an affordable, unique automated pathology solution that provides the pathologist community much-needed flexible working model for implementing telepathology with minimum upfront investment.With TELEPath™, one can achieve a considerable increase in working flexibility, accessibility and efficiency to provide better telepathology services.TELEPath™ is a path-breaking solution that can easily bridge the expert opinion gap concerning urban & rural areas.
2. All OptraSCAN solutions can be integrated with the LIS database currently in place at any establishment.
3. Walkaway automation with 24/7 technical support team
On-Demand TELEPathTM Solution Provides:
- 15-slides high-resolution scanners
- Subscription-based image management system with in-built telepathology functionality
- Scalable storage infrastructure on a private cloud for up to 10 TB space
Benefits of On-Demand TELEPathTM:
- Minimal upfront investment and capital outlays
- Allows you to focus on your core areas of working without any technological and operational burdens
- Easy scalability & integration within your existing eco-system
- Augments efficient workflows for multi-site collaboration, anytime & anywhere access
- Allows integrated real-time remote connectivity for expert opinions
- Helps in expanding market reach and accessibility, in turn increasing profits while reducing costs of operations and, thereby, cost to your customers
- Easily eliminates the logistics challenges, time spent on cross visits and sample shipment
Telepathology Is Here to Stay
Needless to say, we as a community will experience more such remote logins in future.
Telepathology is already being practiced to diverging degrees worldwide. Taking advantage of digital solutions laboratories are evolving rapidly and there is an immense opportunity for the field to expand further and unlock complex medical puzzles.
As digital pathology enables collaboration between pathologists as well as within cross-disciplinary teams, pathology labs will be able to offer expertise to regions beyond their current scope where experienced or specialized pathologists are scarce.
Pathologists now need to embrace and take advantage of what these new tools offer in adding objectivity to one's approach.