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Inside the Lab Digital and computational pathology, Guidelines and recommendations, Microscopy and imaging, Technology and innovation

Bottom-Up to 2020

“When will we see mainstream adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in pathology?” It’s a question I hear at every digital pathology meeting across the world – but one that has no definite answer. I know of a handful of labs that use AI every day; some use it prospectively before the pathologist sees the slides, whereas others use algorithms retrospectively to confirm diagnoses. Although small in number, these labs demonstrate that there is a real appetite for AI in pathology and that it can be used successfully. But exactly how long do I think widespread adoption will take? In my view, at least five years. Many people speak of a “third revolution” in pathology; however, before labs can capitalize on AI, it’s crucial to first have a proper digital pathology platform – a key obstacle for many slow adopters.

Our advantage at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is that we already have a digital pathology platform in place. Although the journey to a fully digital workflow is difficult for any lab (not least because the chance of reimbursement is initially minimal), one of AI’s benefits is that it gives clear justification for the implementation of a fully digital platform. The combination of AI and digital pathology makes it a much more exciting journey and increases the chance of buy-in from both pathologists and non-pathologists.

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About the Author

Liron Pantanowitz

Professor of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics and Director of Pathology Informatics, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, USA.

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