The digital pathology specialty remains buoyant and is slated to grow in scope and stature, both domestically and globally. Rising household incomes, population growth and a large aging demographic are boosting demand for medical services generally and pathology test referrals in particular. Doctors are ordering more pathology tests as the range of available tests increases, thanks largely to new technology.
Internationally, the need for sophisticated diagnostics has never been greater, especially in the developing world – at the very same time the toolset at the digital pathologist’s fingertips has never been more powerful. It’s now possible to extend the reach of “modern medicine” to corners of the globe that currently lack the means or the infrastructure.
When it comes to the fusion of medicine and the digital medium, patients certainly get it. They’re avid seekers and consumers of health research and diagnosis tools online. As eMarketer notes, the wired population ferrets out healthcare info use the web “to educate themselves and find online communities to address health-related concerns.”
The axiom “physician, heal thyself” has rarely been more apt. Just as consumers are treating the web as a direct pipeline to the medical profession for diagnoses and other high-level services, so the medical community needs to look inward and emulate this embrace of the very latest tools and communications channels.
Now is the time for technology – that is, social media technologies, operating via the cloud – to foster a conversation within the global pathology community. But this can’t be just talk. The means exist to make the interchange transactional. Technologies are being integrated to assist community-based pathologists in their daily operation and help them connect on an entirely new level with other pathologist colleagues worldwide. The beneficiaries: the patients who receive the enhanced clinical treatment made possible through these advanced technology tools.
This must involve an “open source” vehicle to share information, as well as encompass the tools to actually view and sign out cases. Ideally, on a global basis, medical professionals should be able to access consults, job search tools, online education, and much more. This can be a place where online commerce can occur via slide sharing and actual consults.
In short order, the daily log of the thoroughly modern pathologist could well look like this:
The cloud figures to add considerable clarity to specialties like pathology. And that has to be a welcome prognosis for all of us.