The term digital pathology describes the acquisition, management, sharing, and interpretation of pathology information — including slides and data — in a digital environment. Digital pathology is centered around the use of high-resolution digital slide images which are created using whole slide imaging scanners and then viewed on computer screens or mobile devices. Over the last two decades, regulatory and technological advancements have made it easier than ever for pathology labs to embrace the opportunities offered by digital pathology.1,2,3
While the earliest digital microscope systems took over 24 hours to scan a single slide,4 a modern digital pathology scanner can produce high-resolution, high-quality images in under 1 minute per slide.5 Furthermore, ancillary technologies that support the digital pathology workflow, such as data storage and computational technologies have become more sophisticated and less expensive.1,6
A series of parallel developments spearheaded by regulatory bodies in the US and the EU, including the approval for primary diagnosis to be conducted on computer monitors using digital pathologic images, have provided additional momentum to the digital pathology movement.2,3
Looking to the future, digital pathology companies are working on sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms designed to further enhance the digital pathology workflow. These developments are expected to create a paradigm shift in the way that pathologists carry out their day-to-day work.