Digital Pathology

Skip to articles

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.

Digital Pathology Makes Group More Competitive

CEO SUMMARY: One 15-member pathology group said adopting digital pathology will give it more competitive advantage. Advanced Pathology Associates (APA) in suburban Maryland, was one of four sites that participated in the clinical study of the Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution application for FDA clearance to use the system for primary diagnosis. The experience was of

Read More

GE, UPMC Ending Omnyx, Their Digital Pathology Joint Venture

IN RECENT WEEKS, pathology laboratory clients of the Omnyx digital pathology system learned that the joint venture is ending. Company officials tell these customers that their digital pathology systems will continue to receive service.

Omnyx was formed in 2008 as a joint venture between GE Healthcare and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Its goal

Read More

Ohio State University Medical Center Inks Pact To Adopt Digital Pathology

CEO SUMMARY: For years, the adoption of digital pathology has lagged behind the predictions of its advocates. That has encouraged one digital pathology company—Inspirata, Inc., of Tampa—to come up with a different business strategy designed to help anatomic pathology labs address the barriers and capital costs involved with establishing a digital pathology system. The Ohio

Read More

Digital Pathology Enables UCLA–China Lab Connection

CEO SUMMARY: Digital pathology holds the promise of interconnecting pathologists around the globe in ways that advance diagnostic accuracy and improve patient outcomes. One pioneering digital pathology collaboration involves the pathology departments at the medical schools of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China.

PART ONE OF A SERIES

DIGITAL PATHOLOGY

Read More

Considering Full versus Partial Adoption of Digital Pathology

CEO SUMMARY: Digital pathology is considered to be one of the more disruptive technologies now finding acceptance in anatomic pathology. Since founding Aperio Technologies, Inc., of Vista, California, in 1999, President Dirk G. Soenksen, M.S., M.B.A., has been in the forefront of this important trend. In part one of this two-part interview, Soenksen discussed the

Read More