Royal Philips today commented on a recent report of Cancer Research UK (CRUK), which indicates that innovations, such as digital pathology, image measurement and digital collaboration are recommended to avert major gaps in UK pathology services in the near future.
Without high quality pathology services, healthcare could degenerate and seriously affect cancer care. Philips has been investing in the development of digital pathology technology and solutions aimed at transforming pathology and overcoming many of these issues.
The pathologist plays a critical role in the detection and diagnosis of a wide variety of diseases, including cancer. Suspicious tissue samples are investigated through a microscope to determine if the tissue is malignant and consequently guides treatment decisions.
In the process, providers often have to ship the glass slide samples for expert consults, running the risk for lost or damaged specimens and communication delays.
“Digitisation could enable easy access and sharing of information, improved communication and convenience in education,” says Russ Granzow, General Manager of Philips Digital Pathology Solutions. “We believe that digital pathology will help pathologists improve efficiencies and ultimately provide better care.”
The CRUK report refers to other countries which have adopted digital pathology more rapidly. Philips has been leading in this transformation to advance digital pathology with installations globally. In the UK, Philips has recently been working with Sheffield and Hull NHS Hospitals to create an innovative new digital pathology network.
The ‘East and South Yorkshire Digital Pathology Network (EASY Path)’ will bring together the clinical expertise of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust to create a virtual distributed network of specialist pathologists at both Trusts.
This is made possible using the Philips IntelliSite pathology solution*, an open platform comprising of an ultra-fast slide scanner, an image management system and web based pathology case viewer.
University of Bradford has developed a facility, Bradford Pathology, to support research and teaching in the Faculty of Life Sciences. It provides their Masters' students with hands-on experience of working in a histopathology laboratory including access to their so called Digital Pathology Suite. Working with Philips’ digital pathology solution, they learn about the applications of digital pathology in training and research.
The CRUK report highlights the urgent need to for pathology services to manage rising demand in an increasingly complex diagnostic landscape.
I am encouraged by its recommendation for NHS Trusts to invest in digital pathology infrastructure; explicit recognition that this technology should now move from evaluation to implementation. At the University of Bradford, we have recognised the importance of future-proofing pathology: our work on digital pathology promotes student exposure to the workplace of the future and identifies upskilling of the pathology workforce as an important factor in successful delivery of a digital diagnostic service."
Dr. Samar Betmouni, director of clinical pathology, Bradford Pathology
In addition to supporting digital integration of pathology services, Philips is also developing its tissue and image recognition technology to support automation and accuracy in pathology, for future routine diagnosis as well as tissue based research and discovery. This is also highlighted in the CRUK pathology report as a rich area of opportunity for improving cancer services in the future.