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BY Michael Feldman. February 20, 2015

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Global Impact of Digital Pathology

This is Mike Feldman. I am an associate professor of pathology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice surgical pathology and I also direct the division of informatics in our pathology department.

We’ve seen in other countries that there is a non-uniformity to the number of patients relative to the number of pathologists. So there are great disparities in countries where there aren’t as many pathologists and the pathologists literally can’t keep up with the workflow that’s being handed to them.

In places in Africa there may only be three or four pathologists for an entire country. Or in some countries there are billions of people but smaller numbers of pathologists than there are in the United States.

So there’s this sort of inequality of the number of patients who need pathologists and the number of pathologists who are available to service those countries.

And so digital pathology, by enhancing and bringing efficiencies to the process would greatly speed up the pathologists and allow them to do more work.

But the other thing I think it does that I don’t want to overlook is it allows people to present their expertise over a distance.

So my ability to diagnose is limited geographically to where I live right now; but my ability to project my knowledge to far corners of the earth really becomes enabled through digital pathology. And we see this all the time, when you click a video on YouTube you don’t know whether it’s coming from China, or from India, or from Africa – it just comes to you.

And so the ability to bring digital slides to the table actually is a very enabling technology to democratize the ability of diagnostics to be projected worldwide.

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Michael Feldman

Dr. Feldman is a Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. His professional interests revolve a... Learn More