Facing the Digital Future of Pathology

Digital pathology is pushing the boundaries of convention and dividing the community. Uptake of the technology is growing, but only slowly. Can its adoption be resisted forever? Here, we look at the benefits – and challenges – of implementing this inevitable technology.

By Iestyn Armstrong-Smith

Digital pathology is making its presence felt all over the world. For some pathologists, it’s life; for others it is something to be viewed with skepticism.

Earlier this year England’s National Health Service (NHS) published an overview of its National Pathology Program: “Digital First: Clinical Transformation through Pathology Innovation”(1). The document sets out how healthcare could apply new technology to help meet increasing demand, which is particularly pertinent for a health system that is financially stressed. Jo Martin (national clinical director of pathology for NHS England, and professor of pathology at Queen Mary University of London) prefaces by stating, “Pathology is leading the way in the use of digital technology, with the automated disciplines at the leading edge.” Martin highlights how, in her own practice, technology has had a huge impact on improving communications, procedures, workload and quality.

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