Digital Pathology Blog

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Posted by David C. Wilbur, M.D. 11/30/2022

Image Management in Research: Use Cases and Workflow Solutions

On Tuesday, December 6 at 9 am ET, The Pathologist will be hosting a forum on Digital Pathology & Artificial Intelligence. Dr. David Wilbur, Corista’s Chief Scientific Officer, will join speakers from Dell, Inify Laboratories, Owkin and Proscia to discuss these technologies and their role in Pathology.

Dr. Wilbur focuses on how the use cases and workflow solutions of digital pathology compare to those in the clinical environment. While both of these are well established in the clinical setting, image management systems need some additional features to satisfy the requirements for research. Use cases and workflows are similar in how the user interacts with the digital environment but can be quite different in how they relate to the ultimate task and output.

Topics: Digital Pathology, Pathology, Artificial Intelligence

Posted by Robin Weisburger 06/21/2022

Digital Solutions for Training Today's Pathologists

The strains of the last two plus years have forced us to make many changes to our daily routines, both on a personal and a professional level. Remote interactions have become the norm, with families “zooming” for the holidays and family events, elbow bumps instead of hand-shakes, and remote work conferences and meetings in all walks of life. We are all looking forward to the return to many of our previous lifestyles, but the old adage remains true, out of adversity comes opportunity.

Topics: Digital Pathology, Pathology, digital imaging

Posted by Keith Kaplan, MD, Chief Medical Officer 05/10/2022

The Tumor Board, Virtually

There is a joke among surgeons and oncologists -- the pathologist at a tumor board is like the guy whose funeral that you are attending; you can't do it without him, but you don't want him saying too much. 

Nearly 2 years ago, our tumor boards went "virtual". Like billions around the world, we scrambled to get Zoom, GoToMeeting, WebEx and other applications up and running to hear each other’s voices and share screens to show radiology and pathology images. We anticipated that by the Summer or Fall we would be back to "normal".

Topics: Digital Pathology, Healthcare, Studies/Reports, Telemedicine, Pathology

Posted by David C. Wilbur, M.D. 04/05/2022

Proficiency Testing in the Digital Pathology Age

Don’t get me wrong based on the title; I am not advocating for proficiency testing (PT). After Medical Boards, Resident In-Service and Board exams, I never thought I would be thinking about any more testing at all. There are better ways to test for ongoing real proficiency. Exercises that test “real-world” skills, such as focused review of signed out cases or concurrent reviews - with feedback – not only lead to better outcomes (patient safety) but also improve practice (constructive feedback). But testing is an unfortunate part of modern life. It’s a metric, and regulators like metrics. For years we dealt with the specter of impending gynecologic cytology PT. Based on the complexity of the federally mandated glass slide testing format, the organizations capable of producing such a monumental effort appeared to reach a détente with CMS, and no testing took place for many years after the federal regulation went into effect. However, when one organization came up with a program, the seeming détente was at an end, and CAP and ASCP were essentially forced to enter the fray.

Topics: Digital Pathology, Pathology, digital imaging, Slide Management

Posted by Keith Kaplan, MD, Chief Medical Officer 11/02/2021

What Does the Gene Panel Show?

Recently I received a call from an oncologist. After giving me the patient’s name, she asked “What does the gene panel show?”

I responded we didn’t have the patient’s biopsy yet, that he was scheduled to undergo a CT-guided needle core biopsy, and we would process it overnight and review tomorrow as we normally do.

The oncologist acknowledged the patient was undergoing the biopsy in the afternoon, and we hadn’t even yet done an immediate fine needle aspiration rapid on-site assessment prior to the core biopsy.

Topics: Digital Pathology, Healthcare, Pathology

Posted by Keith Kaplan, MD, Chief Medical Officer 11/17/2020

The Paraffin Curtain is Melting

Surgical pathology is increasingly becoming more based in molecular diagnoses rather than morphologic diagnoses. For 150 years, morphology has been an accurate predictor of clinical behavior with standardized criteria for both histological grading and pathologic staging of tumors. While there are certainly “gray areas” in morphology and classification of disease, a traditional approach of classifying tumors based on location, gross pathologic findings and histologic findings combined with immunohistochemistry, over the past 30 years, has served our patients well in terms of classifying tumors for appropriate therapy and management.

Topics: Pathology

Posted by Keith Kaplan, MD, Chief Medical Officer 05/07/2019

Digital Pathology — It's All About Quality

Quality is Job 1

This of course was Ford Motor Company’s marketing slogan in the early 1980s. The message was clear – in the wake of some issues, Ford was going to build in quality to its automobiles rather than make it a checkbox at the end of the process. Over the years, Ford prospered while its major domestic competitors, General Motors and Chrysler, struggled to compete with Ford as well as foreign automakers.

Topics: Pathology

Posted by Keith Kaplan, MD, Chief Medical Officer 01/23/2018

Automation in Pathology Will be Enabled by Artificial Intelligence

There is a lot of talk currently about artificial intelligence. AI- in short, is the ability for computing systems to be programmed to perform tasks AND to learn from those tasks to refine their abilities the next time a problem or question or decision is faced by the system tasked to perform the operation.

Topics: Pathology, Artificial Intelligence

Posted by Nigel Lee, PhD and David C. Wilbur, MD 10/31/2017

Pathology's Changing Environment: Incorporating AI and Its Benefits

Until recently, the practice of pathology has been entirely “human-driven”.  Well-trained pathologists examine all tissues and arrive at diagnoses based on their application of learned criteria and experience.  However, it is well-known that the accuracy of human interpretation can be hampered by subjectivity (inter-observer variability), inconsistency (intra-observer variability), and fatigue. Recently, the rise of digital methods in pathology has led to a growing interest in applying artificial intelligence (AI) to aid or even improve on the analysis of medical specimens.  For the pathologist, AI has the potential to improve accuracy, productivity, and workflow by allowing the computer do what it does well: consume lots of data, recognize patterns, and perform automated analyses.  Objective and reproducible specimen examination, along with certainty  that all material has been “seen,” leads to greater accuracy.  AI can be trained to identify specific features and present them selectively to human observers, leading to prescreening (“guided screening”) of specimens and promising improved workflow and productivity.  And, finally, the “holy grail”: under the right circumstances, AI-driven systems can make novel observations of morphologic patterns in pathology specimens, potentially leading to new knowledge and ultimately computer-generated diagnosis.  In this blog, we describe our general approach to applying AI to digital pathology specimens, detail some of the important steps involved in establishing an AI workflow, and discuss the potential benefits of AI.

Topics: Pathology

Posted by Keith Kaplan, MD, Chief Medical Officer 04/11/2017

Who has the most important job at Starbucks?


I’ve spent a lot of time in Starbucks, and over the years, it seems little has really changed with the basic operations. The line to the register is flanked by food options and souvenirs leading to someone who takes your order and your money (The Register). Your order moves to someone standing at the espresso machine (On Bar). Other Starbucks associates are simultaneously working the Drive-Thru customers (On Drive-Thru).

Another associate is grinding beans, ensuring the coffee urns are full, teas are brewed, cups, lids and cup protectors are in place, and coolers are well stocked with sandwiches, croissants and breakfast sandwiches (Customer Support).

So, who has the most important job at Starbucks? The Register? On Bar? On Drive-Thru? Customer Support?

Topics: Healthcare, Pathology, Management