When people think of IT, they don’t usually automatically think of natural science and pathology. However, there are several ways in which technology can actually help the way scientists – particularly pathologists – work.
There are many ways in which technology can benefit the natural sciences. These include:
- Developing new scientific ideas into physical products
- Offering tools and techniques that can be used to assess theories
- Creating better instruments and analytical methods for scientists to use
- Incorporating skills explored via science into technology
- Analyze wider social and environmental consequences of scientific theories
- Enable more efficient research and development through newer technologies
IT and Natural Sciences
Aside from technology as a whole, information technology specifically can significantly help natural scientists. From chemistry and physics to bioinformatics and astronomy, software developed by IT professionals can substantially impact the way scientists work.
Scientific software tends to be tailored to specific uses. For example, biomedical researchers will use programs to work on everything from image analysis and data analysis and graphing to molecular biology and mass spectrometry.
Additionally, they also make use of general-purpose software, like spreadsheets and publically available information systems. Essentially, the software can help in everything from research and design to testing and implementation.
Software is an essential part of many scientific applications. Consider, for example, NASA. Aside from operating the U.S. space program, it also serves as a center for a significant amount of scientific research. This research is then used to help develop satellites and space shuttles, among other projects.
When launching these projects into space, one of the most essential things that NASA scientists must do is ensure that the trajectories have been calculated correctly. It is possible to do these manually – however, it takes time and money, and the work would then have to be rechecked to ensure the calculations are correct. With specialized scientific software, NASA can test and launch satellites without having to worry about costly mistakes.
Another critical scientific field in which IT and software play a significant part is pathology. As the professionals at NovoPath note, the right software technology helps pathologists and laboratories reduce the possibility of human error. It also provides more accurate reports to help ensure better patient safety.
IT and Pathology
There are several ways in which information software makes the role of pathologists easier. These include:
- Digitizing Workflow: All parts of a pathologist’s job, from scanning to storing information, can be moved from manual to digital.
- Deep Learning: AI can be used to provide a classification of pathology slides, allowing pathologists to transfer attention from simple slides to cases that need more attention. This can be particularly beneficial in parts of the world suffering from a shortage of pathologists.
- Make Prognosis and Prediction more Accurate: AI can also be used to spot linkages that the human eye may not be able to catch, helping pathologists make better informed and more accurate conclusions. This can further help reduce human error in diagnosis. For example, a study showed that using the help of a deep learning system along with the expertise of a human pathologist reduced the error rate of diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer by 85%.
Technology, and particularly information technology, is key to all parts of natural science in the modern world. Even in situations where its benefits may not be immediately obvious, it’s not a stretch to claim that IT plays a key support role in scientific activities.