The importance of digital pathology in the fight against COVID-19

  • March 24th 2020
  • by Pathcore
  • in

We are living in uncertain, unprecedented times. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rapidly evolve around the world, you are most certainly feeling the impact of it. Many countries are taking drastic measures to stop its reach - implementing curfews and lockdowns, preventing gatherings, avoiding public places, and more. 

Recently, we’ve seen a sudden (yet necessary) shift in the way people work. Staff are being asked to self-isolate and practice “social distancing”, meaning to work remotely if possible. While some companies have had little trouble supporting remote staff, this has not been easy for all. Increasingly, remote work is becoming popular and recent events have forced many organizations to think about how they manage information.

Now, more than ever before, we see the need to adopt digital practices, and pathology is no exception.

How does remote work affect pathology? 

For labs that have implemented digital pathology, the effects of remote work are less severe. 

Why is that? Let’s take a step back and look at the definition of digital pathology. DPA defines digital pathology as “a dynamic, image-based environment that enables the acquisition, management, and interpretation of pathology information generated from a digitized glass slide” (1). Essentially, some users can work in a digital environment and slides can be viewed, analyzed, shared, annotated, etc. from anywhere and from any device. With the proper tools, being physically present in the lab is not a requirement.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, digital pathology is more important than ever before. Allowing pathologists to practice social distancing by enabling remote work is the most effective way to reduce the risk of transmission. Pathologists can work from home and remotely control their microscopes, as well as view slides in real-time and from uploaded collections, share information with collaborators, and continue to provide diagnostics remotely, keeping high-risk communities safe. 

Remote pathology also helps to keep workloads under control during this time. In a recent study that examined job satisfaction, well-being, stress, and burnout among pathologists, it was discovered that high levels of stress and burnout are prevalent among pathologists (2). The main contributing factor is the quantity of their workload. Without the ability to work remotely, pathologists that self-isolate face an issue upon their return to work. They have a two week backlog worth of work to complete, in addition to current tasks. Imagine the stress this creates, in addition to the delay in turnaround times, diagnosis, and research.

How do Pathcore’s solutions enable remote work for pathologists?

At Pathcore, our goal has always been to connect pathology. Now more than ever, we strive to enable pathologists in research, clinical, and academic environments to remain connected and collaborative, even while working remotely. You should not be experiencing a tradeoff between the safety of your staff and productivity of your organization.

Each of our digital pathology solutions enables users to work wherever, whenever, and from any device:

PathcoreFlow™: Flow is an IMS and workflow solution for users in research and laboratories. Flow is 100% browser-based and accessible from all devices and browsers without the need for extensions and plug-ins. It provides users with a best-in-class experience for viewing and working with WSI, from wherever and whenever. Our comprehensive toolset for digital pathology gives you the power to organize, collaborate and conduct image analysis with ease using features such as: figure maker, reporting and auditing tools, annotations, tagging, search, share links, and more. Learn more about PathcoreFlow.

PathcoreScholar™: Scholar is a first-of-its-kind education platform for anatomic pathology. Our interactive e-learning platform enables self-directed learning outside the laboratory and supports faculty by automating grading and delivery of consistent content. Scholar is web-based for anytime, anywhere access for trainees, residents and pathologists. It uses a simulated case-review environment for whole-slide images, delivering an authentic clinical experience. Learn more about PathcoreScholar.

PathcoreLive™: Live enables real-time, browser-based remote control and viewing capabilities for consults to multiple clinics from a central location, with direct control over microscope and slides. This eliminates travel to off-site clinics, allows you to support multiple ORs simultaneously from your office, and work remotely when on call from any PC. Learn more about PathcoreLive.

Providing pathologists with the tools to work both onsite and remotely creates a flexible work environment that becomes especially useful and necessary in times like these. There is no better time than now to explore Pathcore’s solutions to future-proof your pathology environment, and increase day-to-day productivity while withstanding adverse effects of sudden events.

Speak with our solutions experts or schedule a demo with us to learn more about our solutions.