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BY Metin Gurcan. March 11, 2015

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The Impact of Image Analytics on Digital Pathology

My name is Metin Gurcan. I am an associate professor of biomedical informatics at the Ohio State University. I am an image analysis scientist and the last 20 years I have been working on medical image analysis, first in radiology and the last 10 years in histopathological image analysis.

When I first started working in radiological image analysis 20 years ago, I started working in the area of digital mammography. At that time, digital mammography was not a reality because mammography was still analog, so radiologists used to put their mammograms on light boxes and look at them on the light boxes. And then the technology to do digital mammography became available, and at the beginning, there was quite a bit of resistance in the radiological community and I remember hearing from lots of radiologists saying that actually digital mammography cannot be used because the technology was not enough for them to detect some subtle changes, these are called micro classifications, or, in some cases, some masses. But then several companies got the approval for digital mammography, and actually, lots of radiologists started using them. These days, many of the radiological departments are completely digital and they use digital mammography as part of their system.

This kind of encourages me that in the field of digital pathology, similar change can happen. Currently, there are lots of pathologists that are thinking that digital pathology cannot be done because reading some digital pathological cases, digitally, is difficult. But, as the technology improves and new systems are developed, this can become a reality, as it became a reality in digital mammography.

If you look at this field, we’ll probably see digital pathology becoming a reality and more and more pathologists actually using this. And when I work with different pathologists and, more importantly, with the residents who are going to become pathologists within the next two to three years, they are really excited about the possibility that digital pathology is going to become a reality because they are really interested in using these systems. The current system is really difficult to work through. With the adoption of these digital technologies we will be able to do a lot of things.

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Metin Gurcan

Dr. Gurcan is an Associate Professor, Biomedical Informatics at the Ohio State University and the founding director of the Clinical Image Analysis Lab there. He is an image analysis scientist who has ... Learn More