Terabytes Will Soon Arrive In Pathology IT Systems

As digital imaging generates data to be stored, terabyte-sized storage systems will be required

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IN MANY PATHOLOGY GROUP PRACTICES across the country, digital imaging is playing a bigger role. That’s the message from Mark Newburger, CEO of Apollo Telemedicine, Inc., based in Washington, DC.

Newburger’s firm was initially launched in 1993 to support the evolving needs in healthcare for real time digital images. Over time, Apollo Telemedicine developed systems to support “full motion, full color, real time robotics imaging.”

“To work with maximum success, telemedicine must be supported by real time images,” observed Newburger. “Physicians at each end need to see the same things, in enough detail and resolution to support effective diagnosis.

Suggesting Care Options

“This is what engaged us in anatomic pathology,” he continued. “It is a subset of telemedicine that is ideally suited for working with digital images. However, technology has not yet reached the point where it is simple to digitize an entire slide in a way that allows any pathologist with access to that image to use it just as they would a real slide.

“Another challenge is the ability to store all the data generated by digitizing an entire slide,” said Newburger. “It’s been estimated that it would require 50 petabytes of data storage to handle digital images of just 10% of the pathology slides produced each year. To put that into perspective, two petabytes would be enough to store the entire contents of every college and university library in the United States! By contrast, a single pathology practice will need terabytes of storage to handle basic ‘field of view” digital images of their slides. ”

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