Today, most pathologists analyse patient tissue samples in a microscope. Diagnostic pathology is of crucial importance for health care, especially cancer care. Pathologists analyse tissue from the patient to determine its characteristics (histology). This knowledge is used to find the correct diagnosis and therapy. Due to lack of pathologists in Sweden, the waiting time for the pathology report is often long, with an anxious wait and delayed therapy for the patient as a result.
Digitising the pathology workflowIn digital pathology the histology samples are instead scanned to create digital images of the tissue, which can be analysed on a computer screen. Analyses of the pathology department show that digitization of the workflow from referral, finished preparation and scanning of samples to the pathologist´s workstation may result in a better overview of the workload, less administration and shorter turnaround times. Digital pathology also entails unique opportunities for collaborations between hospitals both regionally and worldwide as the digital samples can be sent instantly.
The pathologist workstation re-invented
This possibility is an advantage that is expected to have enormous impact. The CMIV research agenda in digital pathology tackles image analysis challenges such as correlating findings between radiology and histology in liver biopsies and carotid artery plaques, as well as breast cancer histological grading and lung cancer cytology screening. Furthermore, health economic effects are investigated and human-computer interaction aspects are explored. Now focus is on strengthening the research and finding new digital solutions that will work in the clinical setting. A pathologist´s workstation is developed by medical IT company Sectra AB in close collaboration with CMIV and pathologists to ensure novel solutions with high usability.
World pioneers in digitization of histology samples
Linköping and Kalmar are world pioneers in digitization of the histology samples. Claes Lundström is the vice project leader of the project “Optimized flows and IT tools for digital pathology”. The project aims to design an optimal workflow for digitized pathology, to develop IT tools such as the pathologist’s workstation, and to bring the resulting innovations out into the clinical reality. Apart from CMIV the project consortium currently consists of Sectra AB, eleven regional care providers, the Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, and LRI Imaging AB. The main funding source is VINNOVA (the Swedish Innovation Agency). CMIV efforts within the project are primarily focused on a number of research initiatives.