Digital pathology has transformed the field of diagnostic medicine by allowing the acquisition, storage, and analysis of pathological data in a digital format. Among the various approaches within digital pathology, static and dynamic modalities play pivotal roles. In this blog, we will delve into static and dynamic digital pathology, understanding their unique characteristics, advantages, and applications.
STATIC DIGITAL PATHOLOGY:
Static digital pathology involves the transmission and analysis of still images of pathological specimens. It relies on the acquisition and sharing of high-resolution digital images, enabling remote consultations and second opinions. There are several key aspects of static digital pathology worth exploring:
Image Capture and Transmission:
Static digital pathology begins with the digitization of glass slides through whole slide imaging (WSI) technology. High-resolution scanners capture the entire slide, preserving microscopic details. These digital images can then be transmitted via secure networks to pathologists for analysis, consultation, and archival purposes.
Remote Consultations and Second Opinions:
Static digital pathology facilitates collaborations among pathologists regardless of their physical locations. Pathologists can review and analyze digital images on computer screens, enabling remote consultations, expert opinions, and second opinions. This enhances access to specialized expertise, especially in areas where pathology resources are limited.
Education and Training:
Static digital pathology is valuable for education and training purposes. Digitized slides can be used in educational institutions to teach pathology students, providing access to a wide range of case studies and rare pathological conditions. Furthermore, the ability to annotate and add annotations to images facilitates the sharing of knowledge and expertise among students and educators.
DYNAMIC DIGITAL PATHOLOGY:
Dynamic digital pathology involves the real-time transmission and interactive discussion of digital images and pathological findings. It enables remote collaborations, consultations, and diagnoses, replicating the experience of face-to-face interactions. Key aspects of dynamic digital pathology include:
Real-Time Video Conferencing:
Dynamic digital pathology relies on video conferencing technology, enabling pathologists to interact and discuss cases in real time. With the integration of digital pathology software and high-resolution cameras, pathologists can view and discuss digital slides together, simulating the experience of conventional microscopy-based discussions.
Remote Grossing Assistance:
Dynamic digital pathology extends beyond microscopic analysis by allowing remote grossing, which refers to the examination of surgical specimens outside the laboratory. Pathologists can remotely guide technicians or surgeons during specimen dissection, providing real-time feedback and guidance. This enhances efficiency, reduces delays, and ensures accuracy in the initial assessment of specimens.
Multi-Disciplinary Team Collaboration:
Dynamic digital pathology facilitates multi-disciplinary team collaborations by bringing together pathologists, surgeons, radiologists, and other specialists in a virtual setting. Real-time discussions enable comprehensive and integrated decision-making processes, leading to improved patient care outcomes.
Therefore, static and dynamic digital pathology represent two distinct yet interconnected modalities within the realm of diagnostic medicine. Static digital pathology enables the transmission and analysis of still images, fostering remote consultations and second opinions. On the other hand, dynamic digital pathology offers real-time video conferencing capabilities, promoting interactive discussions, remote grossing, and multi-disciplinary collaborations.
HYBRID DIGITAL PATHOLOGY:
Let us now talk about the third modality i.e., hybrid digital pathology. In hybrid mode, a telepathology system combines the advantages of both static and dynamic telepathology. It enables the transmission of static high-resolution images for detailed analysis and documentation, while also providing the option for real-time interaction and discussion using dynamic telepathology tools. This hybrid approach can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of teleconsultations, allowing pathologists to have a comprehensive understanding of the case while enabling immediate collaboration and decision-making. For example, using WSI telepathology and dynamic real time imaging systems, in different layers, and toggling back-and-forth among layers, in a single diagnostic session. In a hybrid system, the system operator can jump back-and-forth between the whole slide image modality and the dynamic modality.
Remote Collaboration and Consultations:
Hybrid digital pathology enables remote collaboration and consultations among pathologists and other healthcare professionals. Digitized slides can be shared securely, allowing for real-time discussions and decision-making regardless of geographical barriers. This remote collaboration fosters knowledge sharing, enhances diagnostic accuracy, and facilitates interdisciplinary discussions.
Enhanced Training and Education:
Hybrid digital pathology leverages the capabilities of image analysis and quantification offered by digital pathology. Pathologists can also capture digital images for subsequent analysis using computational pathology algorithms. This integration enables the extraction of quantitative data, such as cell counts, staining intensity, and morphological features, enhancing objectivity and precision in pathological assessments.
Quality Assurance and Research:
Hybrid digital pathology facilitates quality assurance activities and research endeavors in pathology. Digital images can be stored in a centralized database, allowing for standardized and systematic review. Pathologists can compare and discuss challenging cases, contributing to continuous quality improvement. Furthermore, the availability of large-scale digitized datasets paves the way for research projects, biomarker studies, and the development of predictive models for various diseases.
Hybrid digital pathology represents a powerful fusion of static and dynamic digital pathology, harnessing the strengths of both approaches. Its flexibility, remote collaboration capabilities, enhanced training and education opportunities, image analysis potential, and impact on quality assurance and research make it a promising avenue for advancing diagnostic medicine. As hybrid digital pathology continues to evolve and gain traction, it holds immense potential to revolutionize pathological diagnostics, improve patient care, and drive innovation in the field.
To conclude, let’s look at a comparison table with the salient features of all the modalities for a quick review:
Comparison table between various modalities:
We hope that you will find this quick review of the various modalities of digital pathology useful, and as always, we welcome your feedback on this and any other digital pathology topics. Happy reading!
Blog Author Blog Editor
Nupur Sharma, MD Snehal Sonawane, MD