Digital Pathology

Digital pathology is an image-based information environment that is enabled by computer technology to allow for the management of information generated from a digital slide. It is enabled in part by virtual microscopy, which is the practice of converting glass slides into digital slides that can be viewed, managed, and analyzed on a computer monitor. With the advent of whole-slide imaging, the field of digital pathology has exploded and is currently regarded as one of the most promising avenues of diagnostic medicine to achieve even better, faster and cheaper diagnosis, prognosis and prediction of cancer and other important diseases.

Digital pathology also holds the promise of interconnecting pathologists around the globe in ways that will advance diagnostic accuracy and improve patient outcomes.

In pathology, trained pathologists look at tissue slides under a microscope. The tissue on those slides may be subjected to staining to highlight structures. When those slides are digitized, they then have the potential to be numerically analyzed using computer algorithms. Algorithms can be used to automate the manual counting of structures, or for classifying the condition of tissue such as is used in grading tumors.

This could reduce human error and improve accuracy of diagnoses. Digital slides are also, by nature, easier to share than physical slides. This increases potential for using data for education and consultations between two or more experts.

In April, the US Food and Drug Administration approved for marketing the Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution (PIPS), the first whole slide imaging (WSI) system that allows for review and interpretation of digital surgical pathology slides prepared from biopsied tissue. It was the first time the FDA permitted the marketing of a WSI system for these purposes.

Thus the high cost of implementing this technology is slowing adoption of these systems by smaller private pathology groups. It is estimated that around 1,000 pathology labs worldwide own and use digital pathology systems on a regular basis.

Smaller organizations often believe they must engage in full adoption, which means digitizing all cases and every glass slide, then reading all the images on a monitor. Partial adoption is also possible, though, and new technology is expected to allow smaller pathology groups to go digital via a cloud-based pathologist workflow solution.

Proscia Lands Major Deals as Digital Pathology Demand Grows

EVEN AS THE WORLDWIDE COVID-19 PANDEMIC DERAILED SOME INDUSTRIES, it gave a major boost to digital pathology. That has meant an expanding market for Proscia, a seven-year-old provider of digital and computational pathology solutions. Established in 2014, Proscia recently won …

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Digital Pathology Launched in the ‘Era of COVID-19’

CEO SUMMARY: Is it smart to initiate digital pathology (DP) systems and whole-slide imaging just as a novel coronavirus upends healthcare and society at large? That was the question asked at Poplar Healthcare, a pathology lab in Memphis. Senior management proceeded with the implemen…

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Joint Pathology Center Goes Digital; Signs Deals with Proscia, Huron

IT’S A MAJOR ENDORSEMENT of digital pathology and whole slide imaging. Last week, the federal government’s Joint Pathology Center announced agreements with two digital pathology companies. The goal is to digitize incoming slides and archived slides, support a digital pathol…

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Pathology Groups Should Plan to Use Digital Pathology

WHEN AN ANATOMIC PATHOLOGY GROUP CONSIDERS IMPLEMENTING digital pathology and whole-slide imaging (WSI) for primary diagnosis, it must identify and understand a range of challenges and opportunities. “Every pathology group should start by considering how it will use the related technologies of a…

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Expert Sees Pros, Cons In DP and WSI Systems

CEO SUMMARY: Now that the FDA has cleared two digital pathology systems for use in primary diagnosis, a growing number of pathology groups are taking up the question of whether and when they should adopt and use a digital pathology system and whole slide imaging. One pathologist with hand…

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FDA Clears Aperio’s Digital Pathology System

CEO SUMMARY: In May, the FDA announced clearance for Leica Biosystems to market its Aperio AT2 DX System for clinical diagnosis in the United States. The Aperio AT2 DX System is intended for in vitro diagnostic use as an aid to pathologists reviewing and interpreting digital images of sur…

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Outside US, Digital Path Moves Ahead Rapidly

CEO SUMMARY: Implementation of digital pathology and whole-slide imaging systems in the United States lags behind that of other countries for two reasons. One is a more acute shortage of pathologists in those countries and the other is a less restrictive regulatory environment. In some lo…

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Digital Pathology Systems Will Create Opportunities

CEO SUMMARY: Advanced Pathology Associates, a 15-member private pathology group practice, had the distinction of generating data for the clinical study that Philips submitted to the Food and Drug Administra…

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USC’s Clive Taylor, MD, Talks Digital Path, WSI

CEO SUMMARY: The FDA’s clearance of the first digital pathology system for use in primary diagnosis will be a disruptive force for pathologists in the coming years. At the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, pathologist Clive Taylor, MD, predicts that the benefits of …

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Digital Pathology Systems Will Create Opportunities

CEO SUMMARY: Advanced Pathology Associates, a 15-member private pathology group practice, had the distinction of generating data for the clinical study that Philips submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review of its whole slide imaging system. Following the FDA’s decision t…

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