Image analysis is of course not a new concept. Pathologists analyze glass slides (and maybe whole slide images) every day with their eyes for routine diagnosis. Pathologists who have research responsibilities probably use or have used image analysis software at some point to extract information from digital images. Yet the methods used to analyze are not always optimal; especially when review of hundreds or thousands of slides are required, or when what is trying to be found with the human eye is difficult.
Today everyone is being challenged to do more with less, faster, while not sacrificing quality. This is one of the many reasons that the popularity and use of digital pathology continues to grow. However so much of the focus of digital pathology is on slide scanning when it should be on obtaining meaningful information from whole slide images with quantitative digital pathology.
When I was consulting, I saw that approximately 50% of digital pathology users purchased an analysis software package or module for use with WSI; and if analysis software was purchased an even lower percent actually used it.
But why even buy a whole slide scanner if you are not going to do something useful with the meaningful data that is generated.
There are a few areas in digital pathology where quantitative information may not be needed, however the majority of applications would greatly benefit from integrating quantitative results with digital pathology. So why do so many still not use quantitative digital pathology? Here are some of the most common reasons:
- It is too expensive! I have no money left after the scanner.
- My application is very challenging. What if it does not work?
- It’s too complicated and I do not have a MATLAB programming background.
I understand why adopters have these concerns; many software solutions on the market are very expensive, carry a lot of risk, and require expert knowledge to run. However at Visiopharm we have done a lot to address each of these barriers with our flexible platform options of cloud (SaaS) and/or deployed, and our Application Protocol Packages (APPs). APPs provide all current and potential customers with the ability to try our software on their application before purchase. Also APPs are load-and-go protocols so there is minimal learning required and no need for programming experience. You just open the APP, load your slides, and press go!
With regard to cost, we recognize that sometimes budgets will get cut or allocated toward other purchases. That is why we also have pay-as-you-go options for our both our cloud and deployed software solutions. But remember my quote above– why buy the scanner if you have no plans to do anything with all the meaningful data generated.
Quantitative digital pathology will provide you the results you need to justify the value of digital pathology and the slide scanner. So don’t cut the software out just remember to plan and budget for it.
Come see Visiopharm’s Quantitative Digital Pathology software in action at USCAP 2013. Our solutions will be on display and available for demonstrations at the booths of our authorized distributors. Come visit with us at:
You can also e-mail us to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a Visiopharm team member. We would welcome the opportunity to meet you and answer any of your questions!