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article imageDigital First: Clinical transformation of pathology

By Tim Sandle     Jul 20, 2017 in Science
The digital transformation of pathology is being taken up at different rates worldwide. One area where considerable growth has taken place is with the U.K. National Health Service. This is crystallized in a new report.
Globally the digital transformation of pathology is gaining momentum. This is being seen across health and pharmaceutical sectors; together with education establishments and contract research organizations. One report puts the the worldwide market for digital pathology solutions at $5.7 billion.
File photo: Scientist working in a laboratory
File photo: Scientist working in a laboratory
CDC
As a sign of the importance of the technology the biggest single health employer in the world — England’s National Health Service (NHS) — published an overview called “Digital First: Clinical Transformation through Pathology Innovation”. The document describes precisely how healthcare can review and apply new technology to deal with the ever increasing demand for pathology services.
The title of the report carries with it the central message, as the text states: "Digital First is focused on harnessing the potential of digital channels to enable patients and healthcare professionals to interact in different ways, reducing face-to-face contact where this is not considered by clinician or patient to be necessary."
File photo: Scientist at work in Dr Sandle s laboratory
File photo: Scientist at work in Dr Sandle's laboratory
While improved turnaround times and greater throughput are central to the NHS driver, the report also highlights the importance of storing digital images, and using these are evidence with any report made by a pathologist. In addition, computerized quantitative analysis can be used for prognostic scores and remote-equipped technology also allows the pathologist to interpret frozen sections some distance away from the laboratory. There are also wins for the patient, according to the report in terms of data access. Here people will feel more in control of their health through better access to test results.
Speaking with the magazine The Pathologist about the report, Jo Martin, who is the national clinical director of pathology for NHS England, stated: “Pathology is leading the way in the use of digital technology, with the automated disciplines at the leading edge.”
Reasons for the NHS promoting the digital message include the advantages for improving communications, procedures, workload and quality. There are other advantages too, which Digital Journal has explored in a companion article titled "Pathology services are embracing digital technology."
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