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Pathology labs face many challenges due to the disparate nature of case information. Gross images are captured and stored in one area, glass slides are prepared in another location, and the case history is filed in the patientís medical record.
Information needed from other modalities, for example flow cytometry or cytogenetics is, well, in another modality. When itís time to begin an interpretation, the necessary information required to read out a case isnít exactly at the pathologistís fingertips. To complicate matters, if a case requires a specialty pathologist, or a pathologist is needed to serve a remote facility, all of this information, including the glass slide, must be sent to the requisite pathologist, or the pathologist must travel to have physical access to the case information.
Healthcare organizations now have a better option: digital pathology. Digital pathology is a computerized, image-based environment that enables pathologists to manage and interpret information generated from a digitized glass slide, with image quality comparable to a microscope. Virtual microscopyóthe practice of converting entire glass microscope slides to high-resolution whole-slide digital images that can be viewed, managed and analyzedóis the key technology that enables digital pathology. The digital slide is a complete representation of the glass microscope slide and can be viewed at any magnification, transforming a computer monitor into a virtual microscope. Digital slides and other information can be viewed instantly, and the images can be shared with anyone in the world immediately.
Digitized slides are easily archived, replicated, accessed over networks, and integrated with laboratory information systems to support the viewing and consolidation of information thatís required for pathologists to do their work more efficiently and more productively.
Creating the Digital Image
Digital slides are multi-gigabyte images that correspond to the cellular details available on a microscope slide. State-of-the-art digital pathology systems comprise ultra-fast linear-array-based scanners integrated with digital slide viewing, management and analysis capabilities on the back-end. Using line-scanning technology, a digital image of an entire microscope slide can be created at giga-pixel resolution and in 24-bit true color in less than two minutes per slide, with superior image quality.