Understanding the value of digital pathology

Understanding the value of digital pathology

March 13, 2019
From the March 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
• Pathologists are becoming more adapted to DP (and it to them through various user interfaces and software improvements) and there is less and less resistance by pathologists insisting that they can manually read a slide via microscope faster than they can on a monitor. One study, of which there are few, claims an improvement in pathologist efficiency be 10-20 percent.
• Second opinions by experts are readily available all across the world, since the digital slide can be transmitted in seconds rather than the days of delay caused by shipping a slide. This is also relevant for pulling archived glass slides, which might be stored hours away, if required to be reviewed again.

In conclusion, the current market conditions exhibit that DP is readily available in different forms of sophistication and utility to the clinical, research and the pharma industry. Adoption has been steadily progressing in all three areas around the developed world, the laggard being the clinical market in the U.S. (over the past several years Europe has adopted at a much faster rate), which finally appears to be adopting at an increasing rate. Soon there will be more than one choice of FDA cleared product and manufacturer, allowing a more complete variety of choices and a more custom fit for solutions. The FDA may soon loosen up in terms of what is required of a “cleared” DP product making even more choices available.

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More benefits will be forthcoming as more companies, especially those in the artificial intelligence space, enter the marketplace, and the ROI will become more and more tangible. Digitization appears to be inevitable in all sophisticated areas of our lives, so if you have a practical use case now, you will probably have more in the future. Consider starting the ball rolling, as implementation takes time and planning.

About the author: John Wellbank is a full time consultant for Thermo Fisher Scientific, AP division, working with them in the digital pathology (DP) space. Prior to this he led Global Sales, Service and Marketing for Philips Digital Pathology, the first company to achieve FDA clearance for DP Primary Diagnosis. John currently serves as a board member and president of the Digital Pathology Association Foundation, a foundation set up by the Digital Pathology Association, where he previously served 2 years as president and chaired several committees.

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