Digital pathology ushers in a new era of cancer care. Pathology is about to change. Forever.
Digital pathology takes the traditional pathology workflow—slides and microscopes—and uses scanners and software to digitize slides. With digitized slides, pathologists can examine high-resolution images with the aid of precision tools. Notes can be linked to specific areas of interest. Pathologists can review case files with the slide image still in full view. Images and comments can be shared between care teams with the same ease as sending an email.
At the same time, moving from glass to digital opens the door for next generation tools, like advanced image analysis and algorithms, as well as the integration of new data like molecular and genomic testing that can lead to more precise and individualized treatment plans. In the future, it’s conceivable that cancer will evolve from a disease that kills to a disease that can be managed like other chronic conditions. But a key step will be adopting technologies, like digital pathology, that can help deliver more precise diagnoses. Digital pathology can quickly impact stakeholders in the following ways:
- Help facilitate accurate and timely diagnoses by capitalizing on the proven benefits of specialist collaboration.1,2,3
- Create patient-centric information and reporting, leading to engaged patients that expect to see their pathology reports much in the way they expect to see radiology images and other reports.4
- Increase pathologist availability by eliminating time-consuming analog tasks.5
- Reduce costs and enhance lab performance. 6,7
Digital pathology has the potential to help patients receive better care, to elevate the role of pathologists and to transform healthcare organizations. As the burden of cancer grows, we cannot miss key opportunities to empower cancer care teams.
- Newman EA, Guest AB, Helvie MA, et al. Changes in surgical management resulting from case review at a breast cancer multidisciplinary tumor board. Cancer. 2006;107:2346–2351.
- Lee J-M, Kaplan JB, Murray MP, et al. Imaging Histologic Discordance at MRI-Guided 9-Gauge Vacuum-Assisted Breast Biopsy. Am. J. Roentgenol. October 1, 2007 2007;189(4):852-859.
- Romanoff, et al. Breast Pathology Review: Does It Make a Difference? Annals of Surgical Oncology. Published 24 May 2014.
- Kaplan, KJ. Empowering Patients with Digital Pathology. Digital Pathology Blog. September 23, 2014. http://tissuepathology.com/2014/09/23/ empoweringpatients-with-digital-pathology/.
- Stratman , Ho J. Digital pathology in the clinical workflow. A Time and Motion Study [abstract]. San Diego, CA: Pathology Visions; 2010.
- Report of the Second Phase of the Review of NHS Pathology Services in England, Chaired by Lord Carter of Coles.
- Isaacs, M. et al. Implementation of whole slide imaging in surgical pathology: A value added approach. Journal of Pathology Informatics. August 24, 2011; 2(39).
*Curtis Stratman is an employee of Omnyx, LLC. Jonhan Ho, MD, is employed by an affiliate of UPMC, which owns one half of Omnyx, LLC. Dr. Ho has received research funding from Omnyx, LLC through the University of Pittsburgh, and has the right to receive proceeds from the sale of Omnyx or its products. Dr. Ho also serves as a consultant to Omnyx, LLC, through an agreement with the University of Pittsburgh Physicians Department of Dermatology.