Digital Pathology Goes Mobile

by Isha Doshi, Associate Product Manager, OptraSCAN

Mobile technology could act as a radical stimulus in aiding digital pathology on to a totally new level in remitting/delivering clinical diagnostics. The Digital Pathology market today has been flooded with recent technological advances developed in smartphones and other electronic devices. These have been used to acquire and transmit digital images of glass slides, indicative of cost savings and productivity gains over traditional forms of telepathology.

Medical applications on smartphones and other electronic devices are changing the face and user perspective toward medicine. The smartphone utility has also presented a new opportunity for digital pathology consultation in rural and other developing regions. Mobile applications designed for digital pathology serve to act as a platform not only for telepathology, but also as a management system for digital slide images.

Such applications are designed to target the clinical workflow being managed by users including histotechnicians, pathologists and telepathologists. They would aid the various users to simulate the clinical workflow by allowing (a) the histotechnician with respect to slide scanning and case handling, (b) the pathologist to perform case review and for teleconferencing between pathologists, for time sensitive consultations. The mobile applications would mainly target hospitals, clinical labs, reference labs and consulting pathologists.

Mobile applications revolving around digital pathology would seamlessly integrate digital pathology into the standard laboratory workflow uploading pathology images, and creating a hierarchy of cases consisting of multiple digital slides, along with relevant metadata, case history and specimen description. With advancements in digital pathology, additional features such as analysis, interpretation of slide images and generation of diagnostic reports may become widely used. These applications would provide users “anytime, anywhere access to the lab, 24×7, and empower the pathologist to collaborate and consult with telepathologists and other experts, globally in real-time.

One such example is the implementation of a digital pathology mobile app at a California based start-up pathology services lab where the primary pathologist has the image management system configured on their laptop and their portable device. The user is able to readily and seamlessly review, refer and generate diagnostic report(s) on cases assigned to them without the necessity of sitting in front of their computer. Prompt e-mail notifications are generated where necessary alerting of any pending case awaiting review and/or to initiate a teleconference to discuss an active case with consulting pathologists (who could be located globally). This routine has been well established, yet is undergoing major enhancements to adapt to latest technological advancements.

Such mobile applications would not only allow collaboration between various pathology experts, but would also bridge the gap between healthcare providers and recipients. Digital pathology on such mobile platforms proves to be a clear indicator of cost and time reduction for slide transportation, thereby providing faster and accurate diagnosis with a reduced turnaround time.

Disclaimer: In seeking to foster discourse on a wide array of ideas, the Digital Pathology Association believes that it is important to share a range of prominent industry viewpoints. This article does not necessarily express the viewpoints of the DPA, however we view this as a valuable point with which to facilitate discussion.

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