Digital Pathology: Opportunity for Better Patient Outcomes
Blog Posted: May 20, 2020

Digital pathology supports the creation, processing, analysis, sharing and exchange of information including images and data. This enables pathologists to have access to highly specialized medical experts (i.e. for second opinions on challenging cases) and paves the way for patient-pathologist consultations, both of which lead to better patient outcomes. Digital pathology makes possible a more timely and accurate sample evaluation and disease diagnosis allowing patients to begin the most appropriate life-saving treatment sooner.

Pathologists are no longer isolated in their lab or office evaluating glass slides one by one. The emphasis by healthcare providers and insurers on quality of care makes digital pathology the ultimate platform for pathologists to become an active partner with other physicians and specialists like interventional radiologists, oncologists and surgeons. Digital pathology imaging platforms make possible real-time tissue evaluation which is a significant advantage that can be a major practice changer, allowing bedside tissue evaluation of the biopsied tissue at the time of procurement or permitting intraoperative tissue evaluation to guide surgeons at the time of surgery.1 Rapid scanning and sharing of tissue samples remotely (i.e., telepathology) makes way for a multi-disciplinary approach to patient care. In many cases of cancer, treatment begins immediately once a diagnosis is made. In challenging cases, digital pathology allows patients and providers access to highly sub-specialized pathology experts without the constraints of physical location. This supports faster turnaround times and results in a more accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment for the patient.

In addition to collaborating with other experts, pathologists are able to consult with patients and patients’ families directly, either in person or via telepathology.2 Imagine a pathologist actually showing a patient images of his or her tissue slides instead of a physician explaining with just words what was found in the biopsy. This added layer of communication is routine practice for radiologists who sit down with patients to review their x-ray slides. For example, in the case of a fractured bone, the radiologist can point out the exact area of the fracture, allowing the patient to see his or her source of discomfort instead of just experiencing the symptoms. Pathologists have the same opportunity through patient-pathologist consults to help patients get a better understanding of the intricacies of the disease state going on inside of their bodies. Patients can ask the pathologist specific questions about the disease and their diagnosis. This puts patients in the driver’s seat when it comes to decisions about treatment, making way for truly personalized care.3

We live in an age where information is on the edge of our fingertips. If ever there was a time for digital pathology to take hold, it’s now. Faster turnaround times for tissue sample evaluation and diagnosis, collaboration with specialists for more accurate diagnosis and treatment and patient-pathologist consultations resulting in personalized care and patient empowerment are just a few advantages of going digital. As digital pathology sees more widespread adoption and application in the clinical setting, many pathologists and labs will find themselves behind the curve, lacking the technology and outcomes experts and patients will have come to expect.

Built on the vision of better patient outcomes, Instapath was founded in 2017 by engineers and scientists to enable patients to immediately know their cancer diagnosis. Our team made it our mission to develop fast and easy digital pathology technology so diagnosis can be made in minutes instead of days. To learn more about Instapath and our technology, visit https://instapathbio.com/tech/ or contact us at info@instapathbio.com.

1 Savitri Krishnamurthy, Jonathan Quincy Brown, Nicusor Iftimia, Richard M. Levenson, and Milind Rajadhyaksha (2019) Ex Vivo Microscopy: A Promising Next-Generation Digital Microscopy Tool for Surgical Pathology Practice. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine: September 2019, Vol. 143, No. 9, pp. 1058-1068.

2 Adam L. Booth, Matthew S. Katz, Michael J. Misialek, Timothy Craig Allen, and Lija Joseph (2019) “Please Help Me See the Dragon I Am Slaying”: Implementation of a Novel Patient-Pathologist Consultation Program and Survey of Patient Experience. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine: July 2019, Vol. 143, No. 7, pp. 852-858.

3 Rosenblum M. Interpersonal pathology: pathologists play a significant role in patient care—and part of that role should involve speaking to patients about their diagnoses. Pathologist. February 2016: 0216-701.

Mei Wang Mei Wang, Ph.D. | CEO at Instapath
Tags:  digital-pathology collaboration better-patient-outcomes