When you boil it down to the bones, digital pathology needs to do one thing: make life easier for pathologists. Their role involves supporting physicians and patients across many institutions, geographies and hardware. They need to integrate all they do with their LISs. The end result has to be a better, faster, smarter, and easier to use workflow environment.
There is more that digital pathology can do, such as open up new income streams and improve quality control and risk avoidance. But all that is secondary because if you don’t get the first thing right, then it’s a moot point.
Last week I read an article in the New York Times that really resonated with me about the motivation behind products and services. It was a story about entrepreneur Richard Barton who founded the online travel agency Expedia (with Microsoft), Zillow, an online site where home shoppers can look at market value, and Glassdoor, where workplace data about companies can be viewed.
What do all these companies have in common? They each bring power to the people. “If we’re doing things for regular folks that make their lives better and save them money and give them transparency, we’re on the side of the angels,” says Mr. Barton.
This “power to the people” mentality is exactly what we need to be doing for pathologists, especially in light of the heavy responsibilities they carry in their work.
So it goes in digital pathology
Putting the power in the hands of pathologists to integrate digital pathology functionality into a common workflow - this is a power that physicians should own.
- Not a single scanner, but any scanner
- Not a single location, but any location integrating any scanner
- Not a couriered sample but a scanned case from any patient/referring physician from any location
- Not the set of tools offered by a single scanner’s viewer, but a set of tools Docs can use on every case with digital images they review, with their work integrating with their LIS
The more we look at digital pathology through the pathologist lens and their daily workflow, the more likely we will see the benefits accrue across departments, and the faster adoption will take place. Rightfully, in digital pathology, the power should belong to the pathologists.
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