Programmers, creatives, or teachers are still working from home in the Corona crisis. But pathologists? – At an institute of Pathology & Cytology, the home office for doctors was created overnight.
“That way our urgently needed physicians are still available for cancer diagnoses and other diseases, even in quarantine,” explains the head of the institute. Besides, “working from home for our doctors minimizes the risk of being infected by colleagues or other contact persons.”
The medical home office can only be realized if the pathologist at home can make qualitatively just as exact diagnoses of tumors and other diseases on the screen as he can with his microscope in the laboratory.
The key is called “PathoZoom”
Dr. Martin Weihrauch has been thinking about exactly how this high requirement can be met for a long time. His solution is named “PathoZoom
.” Together with colleagues and a team of software specialists, the Cologne oncologist and IT expert has developed the software. This enables pathologists to bring their laboratory home via smartphone, tablet, or laptop “while taking all data protection and professional practice rules into account,” assures Dr. Weihrauch.
With more than 20 years of clinical experience, the 48-year-old not only knows how crucial these points are, especially in Germany but is also aware of the reservation of German doctors to use new technologies. However, as a well-known pioneer in the field of digital pathology, Dr. Martin Weihrauch values the crisis as an opportunity to overcome the “German Angst” and finally scope all the prospects of telemedicine
Only in this way can medical care be maintained in many places these days – as at pathology institutes. “Clinical conferences and tumor boards, which we used to hold in teams every day in the smallest meeting rooms, are being canceled because of the danger of infection,” reports Dr. Weihrauch, describing what is currently happening behind the doors of German hospitals. “And doctors spend their valuable time at home in quarantine.”
A completely new dimension for “PathoZoom”
The initial motivation was to enable pathologists to work more flexibly with his software – anywhere at any time – to obtain second opinions with one mouse-click or to integrate doctors into a team on a part-time basis. But the Coronavirus has given “PathoZoom” a completely new, acute dimension: Clinics and institutes can use it to hold tumor boards immediately via video conferencing or diagnose preparations via telemedicine to keep the medical care system functional in this time of crisis.