How Lab Cloud is Changing the Way Pathology Labs Work

Today, the healthcare industry is undergoing a transformation. New models of care, such as accountable care and patient-centered care, are forcing hospitals and other healthcare organizations to find new ways to deliver services while reducing costs.In response to this changing environment, a number of technology solutions have arisen that aim to make pathology services more efficient. These solutions typically take the form of digital platforms (or lab software as a service) that can be deployed in private cloud networks. The most common examples include virtual microscope stations and virtual reading stations, which are hosted in secure data centers with pre-installed software. With this simplified deployment model for pathology labs software becoming increasingly popular, many organizations may wonder how it will impact the way pathology labs work going forward.

How will virtual microscopy stations change the way pathology labs work?

Customers of pathology labs software will find it easier to integrate new equipment into their workflows. Fewer customers will need to invest in their own hardware, which previously needed to be purchased and maintained. This, in turn, will allow customers to focus more on their core business objectives. In addition, by deploying pathology labs software in the cloud, organizations can take advantage of the scalability and redundancy features provided by cloud providers. This will help them avoid service disruption during periods of high demand, such as during outbreaks of infectious diseases. In the future, virtual microscopy stations could also enable customers to benefit from remote collaboration features, allowing them to work in distributed teams. This could help improve communication between different departments and make it easier to share information and samples between labs.

What is a Virtual Reading Station?

Like virtual microscopy stations, virtual reading stations consist of computer terminals that enable pathologists to perform their tasks remotely. Virtual reading stations are typically used for reading images from diagnostic tests such as PCR and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The most common use case for virtual reading stations is reading cytology samples from Pap smears and other diagnostic tests for cervical cancer. Due to their importance for detecting and preventing the disease, these tests are often performed on a daily basis in pathology labs. However, reading images from these tests is time-consuming and error-prone, which can negatively impact the turnaround time for diagnosis. Virtual reading stations can help address these issues by speeding up the image reading process.

Why are Virtual Reading Stations Important for Pathology Labs?

The need for faster reading times of diagnostic tests is particularly relevant in the context of screening for infectious diseases. For example, rapid fluorescence tests are commonly used in lab settings to detect viral infections and determine whether patients need to be hospitalized. However, reading these tests still takes hours and is prone to errors due to the lack of staff availability. To improve turnaround times, some labs have been using robotic readers and other automation solutions. However, automation can be expensive, and it may not be suitable for all tests or labs. Virtual reading stations, on the other hand, provide an attractive alternative. They are typically less expensive than automation solutions, and they can be used for any type of test.

Lab Cloud Benefits to Look Out For

When choosing a pathology labs software platform, organizations should look for those that provide cloud services. Cloud-based solutions usually offer greater scalability and permit better management of peak demand. This means that customers have reduced risk of service disruption, especially during times of high demand like infectious disease outbreaks. Cloud-based solutions are also more likely to offer robust security features, such as two-factor authentication, encryption, and data privacy laws. This can help prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information and protect patient data. On top of that, cloud-based solutions tend to be more user-friendly than on-premise solutions. This can make it easier for inexperienced lab staff to adopt the lab management software.

Final Words: Wrapping up

Pathology labs software is increasingly being delivered in a cloud environment. Virtual microscopy stations and virtual reading stations enable labs to benefit from the scalability, redundancy, and security features of cloud providers. This can help improve turnaround times for various diagnostic tests and make it easier for customers to manage their daily operations. To succeed in the future, it is important for pathology labs to understand how virtual microscopy stations and virtual reading stations can impact their workflows. To make the best decisions for their organizations, pathologists should carefully evaluate the different solutions available and select the one that best fits their needs.