Posted on February 7th, 2023.
Today, every medical profession is demanding the attention for development in terms of quality, convenience, safety as well as the decrease in the time it takes to diagnosis. This therefore also will include the field of pathology. The continuously progressing field of the histology as well as cytology is one that is now in the need of the human perception and insight as well (Maree, 2013).It also need to be understood that the constant dynamic state of the diagnosis is one that when it is paired with the economic problems and difficulties as well as the need for the centralizing of services has been leading to the development of the automation and optimization of mechanisms which can be an aid to specialize the services.
Pathology which translates to and is centred mainly on the diagnosis of many different diseases which are mostly related to the study of the specimens on the slides post biopsy, is a field that need an immense technological development and adaptation as well (Pantanowitz, 2010). Digital pathology promoted the technology in the diagnosis process and therefore it has the potential to transform and evolve the entirety of the diagnostic field (Ghaznavi, 2013). The use of digital pathology to introduce the similar benefits from the digital imaging which has been used by the field of radiology is one which cannot just be ignored. In this assignment we will therefore study and evaluate the present conditions of the industry and the future of digital pathology, in particular in clinic as well as the limitations of the field in particular.
The procedure of digital pathology is one which begins with the biopsy being done on the patient, which can be of many different forms as well. The obtained specimen is then sent and given to other department of pathology where the main diagnosis of the disease is done (Horstmeyer, 2014). It gives a chance for the diagnosis of the disease through the careful examination and testing of the specimen which is done together with the appropriate clinical information too as well.
When the specimen goes to and is at the laboratory information system some kind of procedures and processes are performed on the specimen for it to be tested and deal with on the glass slide (Maree, 2013). These slides are then very carefully tested and checked as well with the help of a microscopic device which also help in the examination process of the specimen in an effective and accurate manner.
If a process like the one mentioned above was to be done in a completely digitized, it would require the scanning of the slides before they are sent to the pathologists, this can help in a big way to low the diagnosis time, but still it also needs to be understood that the technology required for an approach like the above must be new and already developed at the same time with the use of the speed scanners or the high-tech scanners which have many features (Pantanowitz, 2010). Digital pathology is now being integrated into a various healthcare institutes’ overtime.
The digital imaging process is very important for the procedure of an appropriate technological diagnosis and is one which primarily consists of a 2 dimensional of numbers which represent both a pixel in its elements. This is converted into binary form and is stored to be transferred to a new computer. Digital Pathology has the possibility and the ability to transform the entire diagnosis process (Madabhushi, 2009). As such, Pathologists have been making diagnosis through digital pathology for some time now but the advancement of digital pathology is to a great extent, very slow.
A big number of digital tools and technique can improve the process of digital pathology; but it needs to be noticed that the quality and the accuracy therefore must be carried on in the phases of the analytics, pre-analytics as well as that of the post analytics as well. Diagnosis identification mistakes or errors however do occur in some cases of the non-digital pathology (Ho et al., 2014). Several of these errors occur at the stage of the process of copying the data from one location to another. So, digital pathology not only helps to reduce this issue but it can also work towards the reduction of the time used for the diagnosis and the time spent on the arrangement of the slides by the pathologists and the searching through the slides as well.
A digital work carried on therefore allows the creation of ease for the pathologists and can make it easy for them for the better management of the work as well. Digital tools can provide the information relating to the input of the data (Horstmeyer, 2014). Digital pathology helps the improvements in areas which are even seen in radiology as well. Where the people in the field have listed the increase in their efficiency after the use of a digital space to track and direct the specimens in the department of pathology (Ghaznavi, 2013). However, it needs to be mentioned that not a significant amount of studies is present which detail and explain the effect of such a shift and the studies are said to be “not ample” in essence.
Digitization for pathology offers many benefits such as the increase in quality and in the efficiency. Areas of interest in a digitized slide can be pointed out in addition to its linkage being created to a report as well (Thorstenson, 2013). it also must be mentioned that for a digital space to be effective for the people working in pathology, its involvement must be well and easy to use in addition to the technology being used to support the connection between the different components such as the Image management system and the slide scanner, as an example.
The need for more professionals and doctors in pathology can also be a good reason to invest in the digitization of pathology (Laurinavicius et al., 2012). According to a survey by the Cancer Research UK it was mentioned that the importance of the increase in the number of the doctors in pathology would involve the increase of the efficiency which will involve the networking and the building up of the services of pathology (Cooper et al., 2012). However it needs to be said that with the increasing in the cost of the staff as well as the increasing cost of signing contracts with staff, it needs to be understood that the need for digitization of pathology is greater now more than ever.
The need for another or second opinion on complicated diagnosis can also be a valuable point. Overtime with the adaption of technology in the field of pathology we will be able to achieve results such as having the availability of getting access to many numbers of opinions on a single case (Thorstenson, 2013). These opinions may be required by the department or they can be needed from a number of departments or other hospital experts as well. The use of such facility would also allow the benefit of working from different regions.
The digitization will allow the diagnosis to be done from various regions through the transfer of the data from a secured ways (Horstmeyer, 2014). This will not only increase the ease but will also allow the preservation of time as well. Technology such as virtual microscopy can help in this. The important applications of the digitization involve parts such as Virtual Microscopy, which is basically just a software and hardware component designed to replace a traditional microscope. Outsourcing of diagnosis for a number of specimens could also be achieved through the digitization of the process.
This would help the allocation of the work across a number of different regions globally and beyond public or private networks (Laurinavicius et al., 2012). It would also allow the availability of access to worldwide experts in countries where the professionals in the field may not be as well equipped to continue complex diagnosis. It will also allow the diagnosis to be done through many expert perspectives and insight (Wintell et al., 2015). This would be an easy access way towards the achievement of a diagnosis of high accurate results. The virtual slides can work also as a new feature; however it is supported by a plethora of technologies as it involves a large amount of data (Higgins, 2015).
As the focus of any provision of health service has to be cantered on an accurate diagnosis and this can be done through the proper and accurate diagnosis with the benefit of digitization.
In this section, the important difference is the use of the slide scanner in the place of a microscope that allows the image to be processed and read as well. So, the pathologist has the benefit of not just to have to read from a single slide in a microscope but even to see a magnified image which can be better assessed and analysed (Madabhushi, 2009). Data in a form like this can also be transported over long distance in less or no time with increased convenience as well. This allows for an easy followed diagnosis of the data which can help to preserve both the time and the amount of human working time involved in the process (Higgins, 2015). However a main challenge which exists in the way towards the implementation of the digitization of pathology can be in the fact that the equipment involved in the process are believed to be of high cost. Another challenge which stand in the way of the much needed digitization in the field of pathology can be is the fact that not sufficient standards or information systems which can support digitization exists yet (Lauro et al., 2016).
The fast changing technology can also be a potential factor which can affect the process and impact it in a negative way after a high cost investment in the technology. The lab systems which are currently in place therefore must be updated to support the and resolve the problems such as issues which are not only are related to digital pathology but are also related to the digitization of the healthcare field itself (Goode, 2013). These can involve the creation of the secure platforms for the exchange of a patient’s confidential data, integration as well as and the analysis and process of data, the creation of the route of communication between the pathologists and the clinic which has to be one that is very easy and allow fast and good communication for a great number of diagnosis.
Issues related to the technicality such as homogenous formats, example DICOM and the different interfaces so that to integrate the data as well are also among those that must be looked at and investigated.
The most important aim for the digitization of pathology can be considered as the need to save the time taken in the process of diagnosis and in order to reduce the human efforts involved in it as well. The biggest goal of the digitization of pathology is also to make the digital form of the specimens available in the nearest future. If such goals are defined and are clear, then they can be dealt with in an organized manner as well.
The need for the digitization of pathology is relevant to the diagnosis of diseases in an efficient and effective way. With the increase in the demand of the digitization of other medical fields it can be stated that the importance of digitization in pathology is greater now and more than ever.
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