Digital pathology, also known as virtual pathology or virtual microscopy, includes managing, interpreting, and analyzing digital information. This process is accompanied by glass slide generation and the conversion of these into digital pathology slides utilizing digital pathology solutions. Digital pathology systems have acquired worldwide popularity due to their adeptness for accurately identifying and validating new drug candidates, development of molecular therapies, categorizing the patients for treatment, and for assessing toxicology.
TMR, a market intelligence company, studies the key advantages of digital pathology over microscopy, the major innovations in digital pathology that have been broadly adopted worldwide, the limitations related to the use of these devices, and the steps taken to overcome these limitations.
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Why is Digital Pathology Preferred over Manual Microscopy?
Digital pathology is preferred over manual microscopy owing to a number of advantages, including:
- Ability to add digital images to pathology reports
- The computerized analysis provided by digital pathology can be used for determining prognostic scores
- Eliminates the danger of glass slide breakage during transit
- Interpretation of frozen sections can be carried out remotely via using digital pathology
- Quality assurance is enhanced by using digital pathology systems
- There is a reduced number of manual errors owing to automated case reviews carried out by digital pathology
- Image precision and analysis efficiency is far better than in the case of manual microscopy
Which Innovations have been Most Extensively Adopted in the Field of Digital Pathology?
New innovations in digital pathology have enhanced features including multilevel scanning of the entire slide for replicating the microscope’s z-axis focus function. In addition, extended focus imaging has enabled the combination of multilevel images for making the whole section as a point of focus. This will further make it possible for a slide scanner to present a new perspective that is not achieved by utilizing a microscope.
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Recently, in June 2015, Royal Philips, along with UZ Leuven, the biggest university hospital at Belgium, decided to collaborate for optimizing and digitizing cancer research via digital pathology. UZ Leuven will be deploying the Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution in order to enable swift cancer diagnosis for improving the patients’ treatment.
What are the Key Concerns of Pathologists on the Adoption of Digital Pathology?
Due to the rise in workload and the need for identification of new markers required for diagnosis, pathologists face scarcity of time for commitment to new training procedures and to consider testing a digital solution in place of their currently utilized procedure. A number of pathologists are still to be convinced on the advantages of image sharing and on the fact that the amount of time required in viewing a case via a digital image is less as compared to viewing utilizing a microscope.
To overcome these hurdles, the EU, the FDA, and others are providing leadership and discussions with companies engaged in slide scanning on the ways to carry out process optimization so that pathologists could fully benefit from digital pathology technology in the near future.
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