going-digital-pathology

Two schools of thought exist among pathologists; pitting glass microscopy versus digital pathology.

But does going digital necessitate abandoning the microscope? Is there a common-ground between the benefits of the classic microscope-pathology workflow, and the capabilities that comes with digitization?

Augmentiqs believes it has the answer by empowering pathologists with real-time computational and telepathology software within the existing microscope.

Pathology is the most subjective science, and thereby very much an outlier among other medical specialties that have integrated technology, AI and more reproducible & objective-based standards of disease diagnosis. This obvious par in methodology has led to the call for digital pathology.

Born out of the success of digital radiology and the transition from X-ray to MRI & CT, digital pathology (typically associated with whole slide imaging) has been with us for nearly two decades, yet to date, has still not experienced wide-spread adoption among pathology labs for primary diagnosis.

While high cost and need to prove the clinical value play a role in this slow adaption rate, the core issue is that unlike radiology where the image, whether it be an X-ray or MRI, is the final output or raw data; in pathology, the glass slide remains as the raw data.

For this reason, the biggest obstacle to pathology’s digital transition has been the need to acquire the image first. Scanning the glass slide is time-consuming and requires expensive hardware and software. 

In addition to being an extra and expensive step, the optical view of the microscope will forever maintain advantages to screen-based viewing due to the intricate design of the human eye that can’t be matched by an image sensor.

But despite the high capital cost and potential slowdown to workflow that comes with the integration of scanning systems, there are advantages to going digital including computational pathology and image sharing. Simply stated, digitizing the slide opens up a world of possibilities.

To bridge the benefits of digitization, including computational and telepathology capabilities, between the analog microscope and glass slide, Augmentiqs introduced to the world the concept of microscope-based digital pathology and augmented reality microscopy. These technologies transform the existing microscope into a platform for digital pathology.

Our novel approach for multi-directional communication between the microscope and PC, including augmented reality microscopy (ARM), brings pathology labs all of the benefits of digital pathology at a fraction of the cost and complications common to whole slide scanners.

As the microscope is already on the pathologist’s desk, it is prudent to consider upgrading what is – prior to jumping into the great unknown.

What sets Augmentiqs apart from traditional digital pathology systems

Augmentiqs: The Bridge to Digital Pathology

Augmentiqs transforms the ‘glass & light’ analog microscope into a smart microscope.

Utilizing a digital-pathology grade camera to capture a live image of the region of interest, and augmented reality to display information within the eyepiece (ARM technology) or on the computer screen, pathologists can access computational and collaborative software in real-time directly from the glass slide without having to first scan or take an image. Some possibilities include:

 

  • quantitative image analysis & AI algorithms,
  • consultations via live telepathology,
  • automatic case reports,
  • more..
augmented-reality-microscope

SIMPLE AND FAST SETUP

Augmentiqs is a plug & play system that is easily installed for clinical use. Once in place beneath the microscope eyepiece, digital pathology applications are immediately available.

Unlike scanners which require their own real estate, the Augmentiqs footprint is no more than a cable connecting the microscope to the PC.

THE GLASS MICROSCOPE WILL ALWAYS MAINTAIN ADVANTAGES IN PATHOLOGY DIAGNOSIS

glass microscopy vs digital pathology

The microscope still offers advantages over screens for primary diagnosis

Glass Microscopy Versus Digital Pathology

The optical view of the microscope maintains advantages over screen-based viewing, as the human eye has depth perception,  allowing one to more easily focus on the relevant areas while almost sub-consciously blocking out irrelevant data.

Connected to the phenomena of Computer Vision Syndrome and the eye-brain connection, the optical view of the microscope commands superior viewing and functional processing over that of a screen.

By becoming an integral part of the existing microscope, Augmentiqs allows pathologists to rapidly execute digital pathology applications directly from the glass slides without having to first photograph or digitize the entire slide with a whole-slide scanner.

Moreover, by maintaining control over the microscope’s fine and coarse magnification, Augmentiqs overcomes any focus issues that typically plague the digital imaging of whole slides.

It is easy to view images on the screen, but there are always advantages to viewing the raw data.

glass microscope versus scanners

AS COST BECOMES MORE CRITICAL IN HEALTHCARE, AUGMENTIQS IS

BRIDGING GLASS MICROSCOPY AND DIGITAL PATHOLOGY

clinical versus economic value of digital pathology

Does the clinical & workflow value of digital pathology justify the cost?

Advantages of Glass Microscopy

As long as the glass slide remains the “raw data” in pathology diagnosis, the human eye maintains the advantage of depth-perception over flat screens, and money doesn’t start growing on trees; the microscope will always maintain clinical and economic advantages over scanners.

COST OF AUGMENTIQS

Augmentiqs makes digital pathology affordable and easy.

Starting at under $7,000, Augmentiqs costs approximately 20 times less than a high-capacity whole-slide scanner – without requiring any unique IT infrastructure. At this price point, any pathology lab can benefit from the benefits digital pathology has to offer, while maintaining all the workflow, clinical and economic advantages of the microscope.

Already used by hospitals for frozen sections, research and image analysis, as well as by labs for consultations and AI development, Augmentiqs has what it takes to bridge the classic pathology lab to a digital future.

MODULAR SYSTEM

Augmentiqs aims to fit the needs of every pathologist, providing add-on software and hardware modules to enable further functionality.

Pathologists can start with just the primary digital-pathology grade camera and then upgrade the system to enable enhanced workflow and data collection with a novel method for tracking all microscope stage activity.

HIGH QUALITY IMAGING

Augmentiqs maintains imaging superiority over standard microscope cameras by removing the need for a C-mount or trinocular lens. The unique design of the optics provides a full field of view that is typically 3X the area of existing cameras.

Moreover, the 20mp sensor with high FPS allows pathologists to capture publication-grade images in any open format, and perform the most-demanding digital applications including AI training.

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augmented-reality-microscope

IMAGE ANALYSIS, AI & INFORMATICS

Augmentiqs is similar in concept to a smart phone and app store, acting as a platform for any image analysis and AI software directly in the microscope. 

As opposed to deploying these tools via whole-slide imaging, Augmentiqs with its ARM technology is quicker to use by performing real-time analysis without the need to first acquire digital images.

Augmentiqs is also the ideal tool for pathology informatics, providing workflow metadata that cannot be obtained via any other device.

REMOTE TELEPATHOLOGY

Real-time telepathology integrated within the microscope enables remote colleagues to view the live slide as seen within the microscope. By not scanning the whole slide, but rather focusing only on the region of interest, Augmentiqs is not burdened by heavy files and can support dynamic online consultations with full pixel resolution for all remote viewers.  

By offering simultaneous online viewing, annotations and dialog between pathologists, Augmentiqs is an efficient and cost-effective solution for consultation, tumor boards, and education, and the ideal solution for integrating digital pathology within your existing microscope.

If you are interested in learning more about Augmentiqs and the advantages of glass microscopy versus digital pathology scanners, please contact us at info@augmentiqs.com

Gabe Siegel, CEO

About Augmentiqs

Augmentiqs is a microscopy-centric approach to digital pathology, providing pathologists a stream-lined and cost-efficient method for realizing clinical and workflow enhancements. By connecting the microscope to the computer via live imaging and augmented reality, Augmentiqs supports and strengthens the advantages of the microscope for workflow and primary diagnosis, while improving efficiency with the introduction of pathology software applications.

By functioning as a platform for real-time software deployment and informatics within the microscope, Augmentiqs allows pathologists immediate access to imaging, analytical software, telepathology, LIMS integration and other digital pathology applications.