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.

Digital Pathology Moving from Niche Applications to Full-Scale Adoption

Each of these trends will be discussed at the upcoming Pathology Visions 2009 conference, to be held September 13-15 in San Diego. Pathology Visions provides a forum for pathologists, healthcare professionals, and scientists working in this field to discuss practical applications of digital pathology systems, as well as best practices and latest advances in digital pathology. Topics are divided into three tracks: Clinical, Research, and Drug Development. Pathology Visions is being hosted by the newly-formed and nonprofit Digital Pathology Association.

“Until recently, most digital pathology systems were adopted for niche applications,” Soenksen stated. “But over the past year, there has been more interest in getting closer to full adoption, meaning that some pathologists already using digital solutions would like to read slides routinely on a computer monitor.”

“It is a natural evolution. Pathologists who have used digital pathology solutions in niche application for several years are increasingly comfortable with this technology,” he explained. “They then recognize ways they could deliver more value to their organizations through partial or full adoption. Of course, this expanded use requires digital pathology systems to be more integrated into the workflow.”

“In fact, it is this interest (by customers of LIS systems) to integrate digital pathology into the workflow which caught the attention of several LIS companies,” continued Soenksen. “These firms view digital pathology as a basis for a competitive advantage, and that’s why more and more LIS companies are announcing relationships with digital pathology companies. They believe that an interface to a digital pathology system provides a basis of differentiation. Once digital pathology is integrated into the LIS, it is possible to share data with the LIS, setting the stage for more widespread adoption of digital pathology systems”.

“The fact that two sponsors of the newly-formed DPA are LIS vendors is evidence of this important trend,” Soenksen noted. “For example, Sunquest Information Systems Inc. is a gold sponsor and McKesson Corporation is a corporate sponsor of the DPA. Other LIS vendors are expected to join the DPA as well.”

Soenksen had an additional insight. “Further evidence of the rapid acceptance of digital pathology comes from the fact that the top 13 biopharma companies, along with many of the major contract research organizations, currently use digital pathology systems in the drug discovery process,” he said. “This encourages academic centers and pathologists collaborating in these research activities to become familiar with the capabilities of digital pathology technology.”

For Dark Daily readers wanting to dig deeper into the topic of digital imaging and digital pathology systems, they can surf the web site for Pathology Visions using the links below. 

 

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