“Pathology is not a problem to be solved, but the soul’s way of working on itself.” ~ James Hillman.
Not every physician sees patients. Though they do not frequently engage with their patients, pathologists are legally direct care providers. Instead, they are working in the lab, examining samples and test findings to make diagnoses and forming and honing treatment strategies.
Pathologists work in an area of medicine that is generally invisible to patients, yet there is a reason why they are frequently referred to as “the doctor’s doctor.” Hospital laboratories, as well as independent diagnostic testing facilities, medical schools, government offices, pharmaceutical firms, and research institutions, are all open twenty-four hours a day. This round-the-clock availability is part of what enables doctors and specialists who work directly with patients to do what they do.
“Overall, in 2020–21, 17.8 million (69%) Australians accessed 204.1 million Medicare-subsidised pathology tests, imaging scans, and a range of diagnostic services—AIHW.”
Pathology is expanding its specialty every year as fresh research reveals previously unexplored portions of the field. Pathologists are constantly in demand. So why don’t more individuals choose it as a career option?
In the past year, pathologists and other medical laboratory specialists have received more attention than ever before as the laboratory has taken centre stage in the healthcare system. It is an opportunity to explain to patients and medical staff that the laboratory cannot and should not be prioritised below patient or healthcare needs. The rest of the world is progressively realising that the laboratory is much more than just tests in and results out.
Age of Digital Pathology
Pathology is becoming a bigger priority for health providers as part of their overall digitalization initiatives, making it possible for a fully digital care solution to speed up the processing of viewing slides to aid in better decision-making. Although there are obstacles ahead, the strength of virtualization and the capacity to collaborate with other teams, along with developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI), indicate that digital pathology is essential to a new paradigm of diagnostic accuracy.
Virtualisation and Care Orchestration
One of the main difficulties pathology departments are facing is a continuous shortage of pathologists. With technology created to meet contemporary histopathology requirements for routine use in high-volume labs and integrated pathology networks, enterprise-wide digital pathology solutions are equipped to address this issue head-on.
Cases can be transported anywhere in the network to be read thanks to virtualization and improved care orchestration, which increases access to specialists, optimises workloads, and lowers the rate of erroneous interpretations made by non-subspecialized pathologists.
By facilitating quick transfers of complex cases for second opinions and promoting fast diagnosis, virtual networks also help pathology departments mitigate the effects of higher caseloads brought on by the pandemic. Pathologists have the chance to work with professionals when they are connected to other teams, which enhances knowledge sharing and educational opportunities.
AI Power in Pathology
As a result of the advancements in digital pathology, professionals will be better equipped to provide every patient with predictable results and defined care paths by using automated slide-reading tools and artificial intelligence (AI) software.
Critical patient data might be made more quickly available to oncologists and pathologists through the use of AI-powered processes, which would improve the clinician experience and improve patient care. This will be crucial in the years to come as the sector attempts to balance the need for more workers with the rising demand for pathology services and the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
Pathologists will become important players in the data-driven healthcare systems of the future if we can give them the interoperability and connection, they need to share high-quality images, use new digitised technologies (like AI), and expand diagnostic insights across networks.
The Question is – Will AI Replace Pathologists?
Although complete replacement seems impossible, pathology practise will likely change over the next few decades as a result of AI technology’s unstoppable advancement. It’s possible that the laboratory of tomorrow won’t resemble the one we have now. Now join for a Certificate III in Pathology Collection to secure a job as a pathologist.
Related Blog: How to Become a Pathology Collector?