Construing images of cells and tissues at a higher resolution than the naked human eye is the core of pathology. From a long time, microscopes has been the only instrument available which provides the live images at a higher resolution. This is achieved through never ending improvement in the optics.
In the last decades, optical pathology has been changed gradually by the introduction of digital cameras, which produces still images of slides and thus can be accessed or transported to another pathologist for examination. A further improvement in this method is through introduction of digital slide scanner. These scanners produce whole slide images that can be examined through an image viewer. The advantage of this system is that it produces live as well as high resolution images. This in turn is expected to be one of the vital factor to support the growth in digital pathology market.
Digital pathology is the use of computer technology to convert analog microscopic images into digital images. It is also known as digital imaging, virtual slides, or virtual microscopy. In other words, it is the practice of converting glass slides into digital slides that can be viewed, managed, and analyzed on a computer screen. With the introduction mod whole slide imaging, this technology has been regarded as the most promising method of diagnostic medicine, which is expected to favor the growth in the digital pathology market in the near future.
Digital imaging in pathology can definitely improve workflow thereby increasing productivity while reducing costs, enable automated image analysis and quality control. However, the efficient use of digital slide systems is still a challenge.
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Some of the main challenges in digital pathology market are:
- Adoption rate: Technology and market trends
- Quality requirements accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, reproducibility and validity
- Financial/Reimbursement status
- Regulatory bodies
- Medical ethics
- New mindsets
Radiological procedures have already included digital methods in their regular procedures. For e.g.: CT Scans, MRI, X-rays etc.
Digital pathology market is segmented on the basis of product, on the basis of application and on the basis of end user:
On the basis of product:
- Communication system
- Storage system
On the basis of application:
- Disease Diagnosis
- Drug Discovery
- Education and Training
On the basis of end user:
- Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology companies
- Hospital laboratories
- Academic and Research institutes
Globally, the market of digital pathology is expected to grow around 10-15% CAGR. Over the years there has been an increased need to connect laboratories to hospitals and clinics. This owes to increase in the demand for pathology screening service in disease diagnosis and prognosis. The global value of this market is somewhat in between US$ 100-300 Mn and is continuously increasing year by year.
Effect on digital pathology market by increase in the incidences of deadly diseases:
Rising cancer prevalence, increasing tele consultations, utilization of digital pathology systems for drug discovery, and increasing government & industry player’s initiatives into the pathological services are the main driving factors of this market.
Increasing number of hospitals and diagnostics laboratories can also be a factor which are expected to fuel the overall demand for digital pathology systems.
North America dominates the digital pathology market over the forecast period:
Currently, North America (USA, Canada and Mexico) is the market leader of digital pathology market owing to vast number of companies. Also, increase in the inclination of the healthcare providers towards the integrated healthcare IT systems and cloud based systems to provide better interoperability in diagnostic research are the key factors of future growth in this region.
After North America, European region holds the second position for this market, which further followed by Asia-pacific and Latin America.
In the near future, Asia Pacific digital pathology industry is expected to expand at the highest CAGR with more focus on the countries like India, China and Japan. Factors for such a steep growth is growing patient population and rise in adoption rate for advanced technologies of disease diagnosis.
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Some of the major players which are dominating the market are: Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., Definiens AG, Omnyx, LLC, Hamamatsu Photonics K.K, Corista LLC, GE Healthcare, Inspirata Co, Philips Healthcare, 3D-Histech Ltd., Olympus Corporation, Sectra AB, Perkin Elmer, Inc, etc.