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Disruptive Technology Part 2- Multiplexing and Digital Pathology


Disruptive technology… everyone has heard this buzzword lately but what does it actually mean, and what does it mean to you as a histotechnologist? Techopedia defines disruptive technology as an enhanced or new technology that replaces an existing technology. People often view the word disruptive as implying something inherently bad, but that is not necessarily the case for disruptive technologies. They are simply a change, which may feel negative, as it alters your routine and requirements investment in time and money, however the results of adopting disruptive technologies can ultimately be positive.


Last year, Fixation on Histology, did a post on disruptive technologies in which we talked about barcoding systems, a disruptive technology that has resulted in better tracking of specimens for those labs that have implemented the technology correctly.


In today’s post we are going to talk about a few other examples, that are featured in NSH’s new episode of our podcast, HistoHelp. This episode stars David Krull, the current Committee Chair of NSH’s Veterinary, Industry, Research Committee. In it, Dave shares his opinions on why disruptive technology is actually beneficial to the histologist. For example, the introduction of automated staining frees up the scientists’ time to concentrate on tasks other than applying reagent and setting a timer. They are able to dig deeper into the science they are trying to progress in their labs.


Another disruptive technology currently on Dave’s mind is multiplexing. For those who are unfamiliar with multiplexing, multiplex IHC refers to techniques used to identify multiple biomarkers on one tissue sample. This can be a couple of different colors, but with imaging mass cytometry, this can increase to up to 35 protein markers at a time. This type of equipment is currently out of the price range of most lab’s budgets, but within a few years could become much more common, as tends to happen with disruptive technologies.


Another disruptive technology already beginning to grow more common place is digital pathology. The move away from glass slides to digital images has allowed for more flexibility on the part of the pathologist as labs are able to get opinions they may not previously have had access to, making diagnosis easier and more accurate, especially for rural labs in underserved communities. Additionally, the cloud has allowed for easier storage and easier access to older slides, without fear of degradation of the specimen over time. (If your lab is interested in implementing a digital pathology solution, check out NSH’s Digital Pathology Certificate Program!)


Listen to Dave’s podcast episode to hear about additional disruptive technologies as they apply to Histotechnology, including artificial intelligence!

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The National Society for Histotechnology is a professional member organization for individuals actively involved in the histology profession. NSH has over 3,000 members worldwide, and is the leading provider of histology focused continuing education.  

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