In the near future pathologists will probably continue using microscopes, but maybe for the next generation of Pathologists microscopes will be only a distant memory.
Digital pathology, or Telepathology, is in the center of interest of research groups, optic companies and medical innovation developers that aspire to change the way pathological laboratories operate today. The idea is to create technology that will scan the slides to the computer and decipher the findings.
The advantages are numerous. Pathologists and laboratory staff will be able to send findings for diagnosis anywhere near or far for diagnosis, consultation, and second opinion. Pathologists could measure accurately sizes and percentages of tumors, cells, and tissues. On top of that, pathologists will easily create lectures, compare several slides on a screen and more.
Digital pathology technology already exists and is used in several hospitals and laboratories, but is still not available and accessible enough. The resolution of a scanned slide has to be very high, so the computer file also has to be very big. That means saving or sending the file will take time and require much space. Today the slide scanner is expensive and not accessible for most pathology laboratories. Most labs already have a camera connected to microscope for specific slides that need to be sent or used for research or teaching.
The next step will be Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will be able to diagnose findings. Firstly, The AI will carry out primary diagnosis, but the goal is to create a AI that will do all of the deciphering with no human involvement.
Research and development companies are welcome to call L.E.M laboratory and use our resources to take digital pathology forward together. All under Israeli rules and regulations (Helsinki and so forth).
All over the world, and in Israel there is a shortage of pathologists. Part of the problem is that young medical students prefer other medical fields that seem more glamorous. Perhaps the innovative pathological technology will improve pathological public relations and make this important field more attractive. Nevertheless, perhaps one day artificial intelligence will replace the work of pathologists?
Professor Herzel Ben-Hur, chairman of L.E.M laboratory participated in the Digital Pathology conference in Madrid, August 2018, and told us about the event:
"I came to the conference because I wanted to hear from pathologists from around the world what is going on in the field. I saw some good works that are being done with good correlation. Pathologists feel the urgency to advance Digital Pathology also because there are not enough pathologists, a problem that is felt in Israel as well. Digital Pathology and Artificial Intelligence can improve the situation dramatically."
Learn more about Digital Pathology already in use in Belgium in this video: