All About Digital Pathology

If you’re interested in becoming a professional in the healthcare industry, you cannot avoid the importance of health informatics. There is certainly a lot to learn about this growing field and the many advances in technology and software designed for medical use; healthcare information technology offers so many benefits that save both healthcare providers and patients time and money. Along those lines, you may want to learn more about digital pathology, a practice by which microscopic information available on slides may be transferred to a digital format in order to be viewed, analyzed, and stored on a computer (or even handheld devices). Here’s what you need to know about this rapidly growing technology.

Speed
If you’ve ever viewed a slide through a microscope you know what a hassle it is to switch lenses and move the slide around to find what you’re looking for. The format is limiting, to say the least. When slides are converted to a digital format, they may be viewed in a faster and more comprehensive manner, allowing for quicker diagnosis, which can only mean good things for patients in need of treatment.

Accuracy
Computer technology has really changed the game when it comes to the medical industry, providing a whole new way of assembling and managing data. In terms of digital pathology, the options for image analysis not only provide a means for faster diagnosis, but also improve the accuracy when it comes to viewing microscopic information in a more complete and detailed format (i.e. via computer monitor). The fact that healthcare providers also have the option to compare slides to computer databases full of information only helps advance the precision of digital pathology.

Cost and Storage
Whereas slides containing samples must be carefully handled and stored, digital slides are much easier (and cheaper) to manage after the fact. Digital slides don’t need to be kept in cold or sterile environments – they reside on a hard drive. They don’t require lab technicians to monitor, transport, or otherwise care for them. And you don’t need a pricy microscope to view the information they hold. A digital slide not only offers convenience when it comes to storage and access, but it’s a lot less expensive to maintain than a traditional slide.

Sharing
Health informatics is largely occupied with the pursuit of information sharing, and digital pathology exemplifies this ideal. Digital slides are not only easy to store and access for those who create them, but they may also be submitted to online databases for the purposes of sharing. This could mean sharing with patients or with other healthcare providers, but either way it can improve diagnosis and treatment for the patient in question, as well as other patients with similar health issues. So, when you browse the Health IT programs you’re interested in, consider the importance of digital pathology. Visit http://healthinformatics.uic.edu for more details!

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