Then came the challenge of managing frozen sections, with six to seven of these arriving each day for diagnosis and margin status. For staff on duty processing these in the pathology lab, safety precautions including the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) were implemented. However, with our digital pathology solution, especially the scanner’s high image quality and fast scanning, we validated that we could then assess these frozen sections from home. We were even able to discuss cases online with surgeons in the operating theater. Our normal 20-minute turnaround time was not compromised, and I would go as far as saying that our understanding with our surgeons actually became stronger.
With the need for social distancing, online multidisciplinary team meetings involving surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists and pathologists soon became the norm. And thanks to the Philips scanner, we validated that we were also able to continue with our cytopathology operations, only visiting the lab when smears needed to be assessed microscopically. Our Tuesday tumor boards, during which clinicians throughout the HCG network discuss complex medical situations and share cases through digitized slides, were also unaffected, as were our teaching and research-related activities.
COVID-19 has slowed down the world, but with digital pathology helping us out the life of our pathologists has become easier and faster, all while working from the comfort of their own homes.
Healthcare Global Enterprises is India’s largest provider of cancer care.