Mobile Technology for the Practice of Pathology

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Abstract

Recently, several technological advances have been introduced to mobile phones leading some people to refer to them as “smartphones.” These changes have led to widespread consumer adoption. A similar adoption has occurred within the medical field and this revolution is changing the practice of medicine, including pathology. Several mobile applications have been published for dermatology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, neurosurgery, and clinical pathology. The applications are wide ranging, including mobile technology to increase patient engagement, self-monitoring by patients, clinical algorithm calculation, facilitation between experts to resource-poor environments. These advances have been received with mixed reviews. For anatomic pathology, mobile technology applications can be broken into 4 broad categories: (a) educational uses, (b) microscope with mobile phone, (c) mobile phone as microscope/acquisition device, and (d) miscellaneous. Using a mobile phone as an acquisition device paired with a microscope seems to be the most interesting current application because of the need for expert consultation with resource-poor environments. However, several emerging uses for mobile technology may become more prominent as the technology matures including image analysis, alternative light sources, and increased opportunities for clinician and patient engagement. The flexibility represented by mobile technology represents a burgeoning field in pathology informatics.

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