Despite mentioning MikroScan 3 times during the month of November, I inadvertently omitted mentioning them in my Year in Review post at the end of December. While details began to come out about the size, capacity and price of the device, I did not know what scan times or image quality were and how they compared with established vendors or higher throughput devices.
Last month someone attending the USCAP meeting sent me a text that read "They are 3 deep in the MikroScan booth". The images I was told were of high quality with ease of use on the scanner and viewer side.
I had to see for myself. After accepting my offer to scan my slides complete with cracked cover slips, air bubbles, pen marks, fingerprints and coffee stains along with the tincture of time for some of the slides, the challenge was on.
A few days later with remote viewing through join me, a simple and easy application, I got what one would expect - a digital reproduction of every cell and the flaws on/in the slide. Despite intentionally using non-ideal slides, the images were excellent and the artifacts, while present were no more a distraction or deterrant to viewing the slides than if I were at a microscope.
What does this mean for the digital pathology user and laboratories?
For use cases that have a limited number of slides in an environment with limited space available (i.e. pathologist office, frozen section, cytology cart) this may just be what the doctor's doctor ordered for a rapid, reliable whole slide image that can be viewed for solo pathologist support, remote frozen section consultation between pathologists or immediate FNA interpretations.
This is not to suggest that it eliminates devices that process 4,5 or 300 or more slides with workflow and image managment software capabilities from the respective manufacturer. I am suggesting users may need both.
One device for the 1 or 2 slide frozen section or FNA case or limited consultation within arm's reach of a pathologist or technical assistant and a larger capacity device for large cases to be signed out, tumor boards, image analysis and archiving, likely to be centrally located where there is the greatest volume of slides and pathologists.
For more information check out www.mikroscan.com.