In Europe, digital pathology systems have clearance for primary diagnostic use, which has led to increased adoption of the technology and measurable efficiencies within and across laboratories. Last year, Netherlands-based Laboratory for Pathology East Netherlands Foundation (LabPON), the largest pathology laboratory in the Netherlands, became the first clinical laboratory in the world to have transitioned completely its histopathology diagnostic procedures using Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution instead of a microscope. Through an extensive and ongoing workflow comparison analysis, LabPON saw a significant increase in the speed of logistical workflow and increased throughput using digital diagnostics.
Justifying the transition
While some may consider digital pathology implementation as a complete “reinventing” of the discipline, my position on the transition to digital is that it is an opportunity for organizations that can lead to long-term growth and a positive return on investment, by for instance enabling pathology labs to offer consultation and second opinions to an every wider catchment area.
While the primary goal in the early introduction of digital pathology was to automate the microscope to allow pathologists to feel comfortable viewing a physical slide digitally – now, pathologists feel comfortable making diagnoses using digital images of the tissue versus physically looking at the glass slides. Given this transition already unfolding at the technology level, the role of the pathologist will only continue to change as the industry takes notice of the many benefits of a digitized system.