Today, there are a variety of types of digital cameras available for use in the pathology laboratory. They include compact cameras, digital single-lens reflex (DSLR), mobile device cameras (e.g. iPhones), desktop cameras (webcams). All of them have advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages: Relatively easy to use, contain liquid crystal display (LCD) screens and image management software which allows the user to select and edit images, cheaper price.
The quality of image from a compact camera with higher resolution can be considered of “good” quality digital image.
Disadvantages: Do not have many options to lens selections, not connected to a Laboratory Information System (LIS). The images from a compact camera would need to be downloaded by an individual and manually assigned to either a centralized database or to the surgical accession number.
Digital Single-Lens Reflex (DSLR)
Advantages: Have interchangeable lenses, higher image quality, can be easily attached to the grossing station stand.
Disadvantages: The user is still required to touch the camera to turn it on/off and for focusing,
the images taken by the DSLR must be downloaded to a separate file and are not automatically attached to the LIS, the amount of storage space is big.
Advantages: Sharing of digital images (they can be easily sent via text message, email or through Wi-Fi to whomever the operator chooses).
Disadvantages: Privacy concerns over the use of the images (captured digital images should only be shared with proper authorization), not automatically attached to the laboratory information system (they must be downloaded by the operator and attached to the specimen documentation manually), entirely hand operated.
Systems are comprised of high definition cameras with several functions in addition to still gross digital images. Some of these functions include streaming images in real-time, capturing video, annotation and measure of gross specimens. They can have live sample imaging communication features (real-time consultation) that allow for effective video conferencing, are capable of integrating with a pre-existing LIS (automatic linkage of gross digital images to the surgical report, thereby bypassing the manual uploading and archiving of these images). Operators can operate the camera functions, including zoom and focusing, either through the touch screen, footswitch, or remote control. An example of such system is the rmtConnect™
by Remote medical technology.
Disadvantages: Privacy in computer users is decreasing. Feed when video chatting can be interrupted and pixelated.