Remote diagnostics for pathology staff at Ayrshire and Arran

Following the installation of a Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution, comprising an Ultra Fast Scanner and Image Management System, pathologists working at the University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock are to have access to remote diagnostics.

Philips and  NHS Ayrshire & Arran believe the technology’s implementation ‘may help set a new standard of diagnostic services and care for communities located outside main city centres’.

Philips said: “The system we are supplying to University Hospital Crosshouse  should help reduce pressure on the pathology service there – by streamlining the workflow and extending collaboration with the object of increasing diagnostic confidence.” The multinational technology provider says this ‘also opens the future possibility of introducing computational pathology, which would further enhance diagnostic decision-making, improve efficiency, and support the hospital in gaining new insights’.   

Dr Lorna Cottrell, Consultant Pathologist, commented: “We strongly believe digital pathology offers the potential to dramatically change the way we deliver our pathology service, bringing  safety, quality, and efficiency enhancements. Creating new working patterns will help address many of the challenges facing everyone in pathology over the next few years – even more so in the way we are adapting to a new way of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Home reporting could potentially be one of the biggest advantages to the way our team works. I cannot access fibre broadband where I live, so initially thought the speed of image transfer might be too slow. However, I have noticed very little difference between looking at slides at work and at home.”

Alongside  enabling pathologists to work from home for a specified number of days per week, Philips says the remote diagnostic system will reduce the need for them to ‘spend hours at the microscope’; pathologists can be prone to suffering from back and neck problems.

The digital pathology solution also allows digital cases to be sent for remote review by experts, with the expectation of high quality and faster diagnoses. Digital slides can also be used at multi-disciplinary meetings as an educational too, to review in real time to answer questions and facilitate clinical discussion.

We are energised by the many possibilities that introducing digital pathology into the hospital might unlock,” continued Dr Cottrell. “If our learnings inspire other hospitals and Trusts in other coastal or rural communities to do the same, it would be exciting to demonstrate that digital pathology solutions have a role to play in many different-sized communities – not just hospitals in urban or city centres.”