Comparison of Telepathology Solutions
The comparison of telepathology solutions considers the pros and cons of digital pathology technologies available today. It includes a look at Whole Slide Imaging (WSI), a technology that creates a digital image of the glass slide at multiple magnifications, and 3rd ocular cameras with screen sharing applications such as Skype or Zoom.
WSI as a Platform for Telepathology
WSI, a technology heavily associated with digital pathology, enables the digital storage and retrieval of glass slides, which can then be viewed by remote parties, perform quantitative analysis, train artificial intelligence and perform morphometrics.
Yet when performing a comparison of telepathology solutions, there are many instances that the time required for scanning slides combined with the digitally heavy files containing multiple magnifications that can not be easily transferred over the Internet, makes WSI an inconvenient method for real-time communications. Furthermore, for labs seeking a cost effective method for telepathology, WSI is generally associated with a high capital expense with ongoing maintenance and storage costs.
For these reasons, WSI is not as effective as being physically co-located with a multi-headed microscope, or utilizing other real-time telepathology solutions.
WSI is a technology for image storage and retrieval, but is not ideal for real-time telepathology
Microscope scientific cameras have been used in image sharing for years. Are there really differences?
Comparing 3rd Ocular Cameras and Screen Sharing Applications for Telepathology
As the raw data in pathology is the slide, and the microscope is the most effective instrument for its viewing; instant and interactive sharing of a high quality live view of the microscope’s optical field is the basic requirement for any telepathology application.
And indeed, third ocular cameras have been connected to screen-sharing applications by many labs, successfully portraying a live view of the tissue to remote viewers.
However, there are several aspects of 3rd ocular cameras that are not ideal for telepathology.
- The optical design of third ocular cameras generally captures a coned-in, narrow fraction of the field of view as seen from within the eyepiece. The ability to view the same image, including surrounding tissue to the region of interest, could be of great value to the remote parties.
- Furthermore, consumer-oriented screen-sharing applications (i.e., Skype, Zoom, Webex) substitute image quality for speed. The result is an image viewed remotely that is heavily compressed and not of digital pathology grade.
- Screen sharing applications generally do not enable annotations and morphometric calculations, nor do they allow for an atmosphere of multi-directional collaboration.
- Most cameras do not support quantitative and analytic software like QuPath and Artificial Intelligence, making integration of these tools very difficult during remote consultations.
For these reasons, third ocular scientific cameras do not lend well to real-time telepathology.
Comparing Augmentiqs telepathology benefits to other digital pathology technologies
Augmentiqs is a digital pathology technology that is integrated in the existing microscope. It is a complete solution for sharing an uncompressed and full-resolution live view of the microscope’s optical plane in real time with remote viewers.
Easy Integration in any Microscope
Augmentiqs is easily integrated into the existing microscope, being placed in the optical path above the nosepiece and below the eyepiece.
Regardless of microscope brand or model, and without the need for trinocular lens or C-mount, Augmentiqs transforms the microscope into a connected device capable of performing digital functionalities.
Augmentiqs is a cost-efficient solution for telepathology, in addition to other digital pathology applications.
The system is similar in cost to any 3rd ocular camera, while enabling certain functionality that cannot be found in even the most advanced WSI systems.
No Change to Optical Quality
The microscope user continues to view the same optical quality of the tissue through the eyepiece, while a high-resolution camera within the Augmentiqs system captures a live view of the tissue.
Without any need for scanning, remote pathologists can view and discuss a high digital pathology grade image.
The microscope user and remote viewers may perform annotations, morphometric calculations, utilize quantitative toolsets such as nuclei or color segmentation, or compare digital images to the existing slide.
All actions performed are automatically shared and visible by all remote participants.
Unique Internet Connection
Augmentiqs is further unique in that it is a complete hardware and software solution, with a communication protocol designed specifically for the needs of telepathology.
Unlike other technologies that heavily compress the image, Augmentiqs ensures all remote viewers receive a full-resolution image – regardless of their Internet bandwidth.
Augmentiqs further enhances the telepathology experience with an optional augmented overlay of digital information on top of the optical field of view within the microscope eyepiece.
This includes morphometrics, annotations, quantitative analytics and more.
Unlimited Number of Participants
Augmentiqs supports a theoretically unlimited number of remote viewers for a simultaneous connection.
During the telepathology session, all remote viewers may perform annotations and download images directly to their computer, while the microscope user can work normally while sharing the tissue features using the mechanical stage and change objectives for increased magnification as necessary.
Augmentiqs a combined hardware & software solution that is easily integrated in the existing microscope.
Augmentiqs includes a complete annotation and morphometric software suite that can be viewed and manipulated by all remote viewers.
Click here to learn more about annotation software.
Augmentiqs includes augmented reality of the optical plane of the eyepiece, where all annotations are visible.