Use of digital pathology imaging allows both specialists to jointly review cases
In a pioneering effort at The University of Kansas, a radiologist and a pathologist are working side by side to review each other’s primary images and issue an integrated diagnostic report for breast cancer patients. The big surprise from this groundbreaking collaboration is a measurable improvement in diagnostic accuracy, leading to improved patient outcomes.
By reaching across the traditional silos that separate the daily practice of radiology from the daily practice of pathology, these two specialists have demonstrated that the concept of diagnostic integration of in vivo (imaging) and in vitro (pathology) diagnostics can demonstrably improve patient care. In part, this happens because of improved concordance in the reports issued by the radiologist and the pathologist.
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.”