Remote Diagnoses and Digital Pathology:
An alternative solution during the current COVID-19 crisis

  • HAMAMATSU Photonics K.K. Systems Division Sales Promotion Department

In addition to the devastating toll of lives lost and the staggering rates of unemployment and overall economic crisis, the current COVID-19 pandemic has also disrupted the global healthcare systems in ways as novel as the virus itself. From the need to understand the virus for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment to the lost revenue from elective and other non-critical procedures, COVID-19 is likely to affect our healthcare systems for years to come.

Pathologists are essential employees and are vital in the COVID crisis response and day-to-day hospital operations. By continuing to work in medical centers treating patients for COVID-19, pathologists are at higher risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. That, in turn, increases exposure risk to their families and communities. Moreover, there is a world-wide shortage of pathologists, so we must do everything we can to keep pathologists healthy and working.

The pandemic’s impact has increased the opportunity for pathologists to work from home using digital slides.

The benefits of whole slide imaging

This raises the question: What are the benefits of whole slide imaging systems for remote diagnoses?

Pathologists working from remote home offices have:

  • Reduced risk of virus exposure and transmission to or from high-risk populations, and therefore less chance of spreading the virus to family members.
  • Flexible hours that allow for consideration of lab prep times, overall case volume, and complex working family schedules.
  • Increased likelihood and speed of collaboration and secondary consults for faster responses to patients.
  • Easy retrieval of images for case comparisons, virtual tumor boards, and training.
  • Opportunities to evaluate image analysis (IA) and artificial intelligence (AI) for routine diagnoses and better patient outcomes.

Even with these notable advantages, technical challenges often arise when implementing such a system. These issues can range from slow internet speeds limiting image viewing experiences to incompatibility of the scanner with existing hospital IT infrastructure.

We at Hamamatsu understand the benefits and challenges of whole slide imaging systems. For over 15 years, we have been working to deliver robust and reliable scanners with optimal image quality. We support an open system architecture that does not demand a commitment to a closed-loop software environment—therefore allowing our scanners to be integrated into a multitude of hospital systems.

While our world survives and heals from SARS-CoV-2, we invite you to connect with us to discuss the future of digital pathology in the post-COVID world.

Finally, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the physicians, nurses, medical staff, first responders, and research scientists working round the clock and risking their health for all.


For more information

Important Notice

In EU, the following products are CE marked under EU’s In Vitro Diagnostics Directive (IVDD) for in vitro diagnostic use:
NanoZoomer-SQ, NanoZoomer S210, NanoZoomer S60, NanoZoomer S360, NDP.view2 (U12388-21), NDP.view2 plus (U12388-22) and NDP.serve3 software (U13173-01, -02, -03).
In China, the following products are registered for in vitro diagnostic use:
NanoZoomer-SQ, NanoZoomer S210 and NanoZoomer S60.
In Russia, the following products are registered as a medical device:
NanoZoomer-SQ, NanoZoomer S210 and NanoZoomer S60.
In the US, Japan and other countries, NanoZoomer is for research use only and is not permitted to be used for clinical diagnostic purposes.