Technology = Improved Diagnostic Tools = Better Patient Outcomes
(Editor's note: This blog post is brought to you by Valerie Newitt, managing editor at ADVANCE.)
A massive new-millennium expansion of medical arts has everything to do with technology; as capabilities race forward, so do the practical, implementable benefits to laboratorians, diagnosticians, direct care providers, and ultimately patients.
Check out, for example, one of the stories in our Daily News Watch: "Software for Analyzing Digital Pathology Images Proving Its Usefulness." The item explains how a software program called Spatially Invariant Vector Quantization (SIVQ) is "able to separate malignancy from background tissue in digital slides."
The article notes that a research study to test the software's usefulness first directed a group of human pathologists to pinpoint the cancer on slides the old fashioned way, by hand. Their work was then used as the gold standard for grading the program's results. Researchers then systematically tested which settings within the program produced the most accurate results - which can serve as a blueprint for optimizing the software to detect various types of cancer and disease.
According to the article, "Digital tools like SIVQ can help pathologists to more quickly identify features on a slide with just a few clicks; to quickly calculate the area of an irregularly shaped feature; or to eliminate the slow and painstaking tallying of tiny elements ... The program isn't intended to replace the skill and art of human pathologists, but to provide an additional resource."
To be sure human expertise is still penultimate, but tools to confirm the human effort lead to better diagnostics and improved patient outcomes.