The digital pathology market is likely to experience an exponential growth by the end of the decade, especially in the regions, such as North America and Europe, where pathologists and medical laboratories are increasingly inclining towards the adoption of these systems. Cloud or Storage as a Service (SaaS) technology-enabled digital pathology is accompanied by key benefits, such as improved connectivity and efficiency, increased productivity, and cost reduction. Incorporation of digital pathology solutions enables accurate, high through put analysis and interpretation of histological images through the use of computer-assisted image analytics, which negate observer variability.
In addition, these technological solutions provide virtual, secure storage options with multi-tenant access to the digital slides. Cloud technology is further facilitating distance consultations between pathologists and physicians globally through the seamless integration of tools, which allow effective information exchange without physical transportation of slides; thus, streamlining the diagnostic analysis process with increased communication between healthcare professionals, which is driving the preference for digital pathology solutions across the globe.
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Additionally, with the advent of Whole Slide Imaging (WSI), the market is anticipated to witness potential growth opportunities and is currently recognized as one of the foremost promising avenues in the field of diagnostic medicine. Reduced human error and improved accuracy attributable to the automated, slide scanning features, and algorithm-facilitated classification of disease conditions are some of the benefits associated with WSI that is presumed to further accelerate the demand in the future. Additionally, the high healthcare expenditure in the field of cancer diagnostics and the surging demand for personalized medicine has triggered the growth of the digital pathology field. The rising need for automation in image-based analytical tools employed for diagnosis is paving the way for the adoption of digital pathology systems.
High Implementation costs and a stringent regulatory framework pose as major hurdles in the incorporation of digital pathology solutions, particularly in the emerging economies. Currently, the digital pathology system is approved by the U.S. FDA for a limited number of applications, which are research-centric. The untapped diagnostic application areas in the U.S. serve as excellent opportunities for the industry players that are worth capitalizing in the near future. For example, in March 2016, Royal Philips entered into a collaborative agreement with Massachusetts General Hospital, wherein the latter is to serve as a testing center to conduct a multi center device precision study involving the former’s digital pathology WSI, IntelliSite Solution. The study is designed to determine the reproducibility of the IntelliSite pathology solution in primary diagnostic use pertinent to the field of cancer.
The digital pathology market is marked by dynamic activities, such as strategic partnerships which are imperative in widening the consumer base. Recently, in June 2016, the Dutch conglomerate, Royal Philips acquired the Irish, PathXL, one of the largest pathology, image-based analysis firms. This acquisition was carried out in order to develop integrated tools targeting applications in computational pathology, workflow solutions, education, and image analytics. Additionally, this acquisition is aimed at underpinning the gradual transition of medical institutions present across the globe from the traditional systems to digitized pathology systems. The aforementioned acquisition will further enable pathologists to perform high throughput analysis of colossal clinical data images sets that are diverse in nature and facilitate improvements in the diagnosis quality; thereby presenting a potential for the inclusion of new therapies and improvements to enhance patient health outcomes.
In 2014, another prominent market player, Objective Pathology formed a partnership with Microscopes International to introduce their new uSCOPEDigital Microscope to the Canadian market for geographical expansion. The future hence looks promising for the digital pathology industry with the sweeping digitization of tools employed in the diagnostics sector revolutionizing the healthcare industry across the globe.
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Grand View Research has segmented the global digital pathology market on the basis of technology, application and region: