News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Sunquest Information Systems Acquired by Huntsman Gay Capital in $208 Million Deal

Clinical Laboratory and Pathology Customers Will See Few Changes Under New Ownership

Sunquest Information Systems, Inc., has a new owner. Earlier this month, an investment consortium led by Huntsman Gay Capital paid an estimated $208 million to acquire a 51% controlling interest in Sunquest, which is based in Tucson, Arizona. Sunquest’s previous owner, Vista Equity Partners, will retain the remaining 49% of Sunquest’s stock and continue as a minority owner.

Sunquest’s flagship product is a laboratory information system (LIS) that is used by many clinical laboratory companies and hospital/health system laboratories in the United States and a number of other countries. It also sells an anatomic pathology information system, as well as other health informatics software products. The company says it has 1,400 hospital and medical laboratory customers worldwide. (more…)

Pathology’s Most Intrepid Computer Nerds Are Busy and Innovative

Helping pathologists go “all digital” is the vision of these informaticians

DATELINE: PITTSBURGH—Lots of news and exciting developments have been showcased at this week’s gathering of pathology informatics gurus and innovators here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The occasion is the 14th annual Advancing Practice, Instruction, and Innovation in Informatics (APIII) and your Dark Daily editor is here to participate and make a presentation.

This high-energy meeting showcases a wide range of developments in pathology informatics. Not surprisingly, digital scanning and working with digital images are prominent topics. But there is another fascinating aspect to the sessions here. Organizers of APIII invited a number of radiologists who were seminal in advancing radiology informatics to come to APIII and discuss the lessons learned as radiology weaned itself away from film during the past 15 years.

Three Trends Now Fueling Wider Adoption of Digital Pathology

Upcoming Pathology Visions conference will tackle digital pathology advances

Digital pathology is entering a new phase of adoption marked by three significant trends. This is the assessment of Dirk Soenksen, Founder and CEO of Aperio Technologies, Inc., in Vista, California. He believes these three trends are working together to accelerate the adoption of digital imaging and digital pathology systems by pathology laboratories across the nation.

Soenksen has observed the following three trends in recent months:

  • The desire by some pathologists who already use digital pathology in niche settings to expand the use of digital pathology within their laboratories to partial or full adoption.
  • A heightened interest by laboratory information system (LIS) vendors to integrate their software with digital image management (pathology PACS) software, as a way to improve their competitive advantage.
  • Widespread support for the newly formed Digital Pathology Association (DPA) a not-for-profit group comprising industry and non-industry members, and its mission to focus on education, best practices, and increasing awareness.


Convergence of In Vivo Imaging and Digitized Pathology Is Under Way

Three factors are driving the development of imaging systems in pathology. First, the market for digital pathology imaging systems has accelerating momentum as pathology labs acquire and use this technology. Second, the same factors that drove acceptance of digital radiology systems are encouraging wider use of digital pathology solutions. Third, digital imaging systems hold great promise for pathologists, radiologists, oncologists, and other medical professionals seeking to improve the accuracy and timeliness of diagnostics.

“The fields of imaging and informatics in medicine are on the cusp of fusion with the fields of molecular medicine, pathology imaging, and radiology imaging,” said Michael Becich, M.D., Ph.D. “The point at which these three disciplines intersect offers almost unlimited potential for the future of personalized medicine!” Becich is Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Pathology, Information Sciences and Telecommunications at the University of Pittsburgh. Becich also is one of three course directors for a conference to be held later this month: Advancing Practice, Instruction and Innovation Through Informatics (APIII).

“It’s a very exciting time to be working in these fields,” explained Becich. “Digitized pathology tools are contributing to more accurate diagnoses. They are also shortening the time required to make a diagnosis on what have been particularly difficult cases, and we are improving patient safety as well.”

Dark Daily readers interested in how digitized pathology is developing and its intersection with radiology imaging will find expert sessions on this topic at the upcoming conference: “Advancing Practice, Instruction and Innovation Through Informatics (APIII), scheduled for October 19-23, 2008 at the Marriott City Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Of particular interest, conference co-organizer the Association for Pathology Informatics (API) has developed a partnership with the Society of Imaging and Informatics in Medicine to produce a learning track of sessions for radiology informatics professionals.

“The acceptance of digitized pathology imaging systems by pathologists is gaining speed,” observed Becich. “Use of digitized pathology images is already changing the standard of practice in several areas of surgical pathology. Every pathology group should be developing a strategy that addresses digitized pathology systems. Furthermore, the intersection of in vivo imaging and in vitro molecular testing promises to further transform the traditional work practices in pathology.”

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