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Outside the Lab Profession, Neurology, Digital and computational pathology, Clinical care

Diagnostics at a Distance

At a Glance

  • Since 2013, University College London Hospitals has been providing long-distance neuropathology diagnostic services to Brighton and Sussex University Hospital an on-site pathologist; although the workflow is more involved and can take more time, the benefits of specialty service access can outweigh the challenges
  • Since the end of 2015, remote intraoperative diagnosis has been provided through telepathology 
  • In this scenario, digital pathology is a suitable alternative to having
  • It is difficult to predict how digital pathology adoption will progress in future – though unlikely to gain full adoption any time soon, the better and cheaper the technology becomes, the more likely its success will be

Digital pathology is a hot topic right now. The transition to computer-based services is on everyone’s mind – to speed up service delivery, to aid in teaching and training, or to provide long-distance consultation on unique or challenging specimens. But although tales of success (and discussions of difficulties) abound, we don’t often hear the behind-the-scenes stories of implementing and running a digital telepathology laboratory. At The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, one of the specialist hospitals of University College London Hospitals (UCLH), we have become the sole provider of diagnostic neuropathology to Brighton and Sussex University Hospital (BSUH), meaning that we offer regular long-distance services via digital technologies. We began providing routine neuropathological services on an ad hoc basis in 2013. Then, Brighton went for tender with a detailed service specification and we applied as a bidder – a contract we won in 2015. Ever since, we’ve been providing them with a full diagnostic neuropathology service.

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About the Author

Sebastian Brandner

Sebastian Brandner is Professor of Neuropathology at the University College London Institute of Neurology and Head of the Division of Neuropathology and honorary consultant neuropathologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

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