Digital technology has driven innovations across various industries including healthcare. It has the potential to revolutionize the healthcare sector by improving accessibility, health outcomes, treatment, patient care, and diagnosis. It has opened up new dimensions in pathology as well.
Digital pathology basically refers to an image-based information environment, wherein advanced scanners are used to generate digital slides or digital pathology images from the general surgical pathology tissues. These images or digital slides are then stored and analysed to make a diagnosis.
Digital pathology is an emerging diagnostic technology and it can boost digital diagnostics, a term used for the technology that will break the diagnostic barrier by making remote and automated health assessment or diagnosis possible. Moreover, digital diagnosis is expected to be more accurate, cost-saving, and more convenient.
Digital diagnostics include various mobile applications and software programs that are used for remote or digital diagnosis. An example of digital diagnosis is the Lifelens project, a mobile application developed for malaria diagnosis. With this app, a user can take a drop of blood and place it on a film to test for the presence of the malarial parasite.
Digital pathology relies on the Whole Slide Imaging (WSI) technology, which is also known as ‘virtual microscopy’. The WSI system for digital pathology was allowed for marketing in the US in April 2017, which has paved the way for the use of digital pathology for diagnostic purposes.
Digital pathology and digital diagnostics have huge potentials to change the face of the healthcare industry. Digital pathology can streamline workflow and thus, reduce the pressure on pathologists and allow them to devote more time on diagnosis. They do not have to worry about losing a specimen or damaging it while storing. So, digital pathology can ensure faster and efficient workflow, and can also cut down costs and increase the accuracy of the diagnosis.
Similarly, digital diagnosis can reduce diagnostics costs, besides improving the accuracy of diagnostic results by leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning). When it comes to pattern recognition, machines usually outperform humans and this is the reason why AI and Ml-powered diagnostic tools can improve the accuracy of diagnostic results. Better diagnosis will eventually ensure better patient care and health outcomes.
Apart from these, both digital pathology and digital diagnostics will play a crucial role in making healthcare more accessible, by reducing costs and breaking the distance barrier. So, in the coming days, we can expect increased adoption of digital technology in the healthcare industry.