For decades, there have been limited ways to share medical slides, with information management lagging behind even as medical science advanced. But in the past few years, a new industry of digital pathology has emerged that could finally offer a more efficient and large-scale way of distributing and analyzing these kinds of samples.
Despite being a relatively new field, digital pathology and whole slide imaging were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 following eight years of hearings and trials. Whole slide imaging is the practice of scanning and digitizing slide samples so they can be managed, shared, and interpreted faster and, hopefully, with more accuracy. Once digitized, each high-resolution image can then be accessed by computer, to be sent electronically or analyzed by an algorithm trained to identify cancerous cells — and all much faster than humans.