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An end-to-end solution for digital pathology for greatly improved accessibility and flexibility

Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Reference Number: TOUK20180323001
Publication Date: 23 March 2018

Summary

A small UK company has developed an end-to-end digital pathology solution and has started selling to the healthcare system. The advantages of more efficient work and shortened waiting times are imminent. At the same time, there is very little investment needed into infrastructure. IT departments in healthcare systems or vendors to thereof are sought for commercial agreements with technical assistance.

Description

Very few healthcare systems in Europe have moved towards the digitisation of work flow in histopathology. This field of medicine is possibly the most out-of-date.
Various new tools and improvements in technology exist such as digital scanning equipment, yet they only seem to improve the quality and productivity of work in an immediate environment.
Nationwide systems have been held back by a lack of integration between regulating bodies, particularly those for data management and data security.
One of the challenges with managing the information coming out of these digital tools is the sheer size of it. It is in gigabytes per sample and therefore, difficult to manage. A mix of local hardware and cloud based platforms are required.
A digital laboratory information management system (LIMS) coupled to the management of media will bring many benefits. Sharing of information becomes easy, allowing for spreading out of workload, and allowing for a quick second opinion where need be. It will be easy to access historic information and make comparisons to later findings.

A small UK company has a toolset to achieve just that. On the one hand, they have spent several years working in the same room with practitioners, developing a LIMS just for pathology. On the other, they have produced schema for configuring existing IT infrastructure. The latter is not an easy task as individual hospitals have tried and failed.
The LIMS and image document management have both been certified to all the necessary medical accreditations. The system is up and running in a regional healthcare trust and another will follow shortly. The system is scalable to a country-wide network to provide tools for a national standardised approach.
Not only has the quality of work of pathologists risen, it has become more efficient. As there is little additional investment, this change in configuration will quickly translate into an economic gain. Compared to current practices, some components such as the storage of terabytes of data will be done much more cheaply. The patients are enjoying shorter waiting times and the healthcare provider is improving its performance. Once several providers are networked, they will benefit from the reduced risk as any links in the chain are easier to back up.
It is worth noting that the system will integrate future advances such as automated image analysis.

The UK company now seeks partners Europe-wide in healthcare systems, or working closely with them. The model can be replicated pretty much anywhere under a commercial agreement with technical assistance.

Advantages and Innovations

In most healthcare providers and systems, the pathology workflow is very much a batch operation. Also, it is really not an integral part of the full system and laboratory. When the load rises, locum specialists are recruited (if possible). As is often the case, there are specialisms within specialisms and there is currently little chance to consult the best people.
The new solution has proven to smooth out the work flow and reduce waiting times. It pays off economically to the healthcare providers.

Stage Of Development

Already on the market

Requested partner

Type of partner sought: industry and public organisations.
Specific activity of partner sought: IT departments within healthcare systems or vendors of software and networking solutions to healthcare systems.
Role of partner sought: a co-operation will start with a scoping exercise. Eventually, the partner will need to provide in-situ managed service. With technical input from the partner, the UK company can work towards an optimal and future proof solution including the roles and tasks. The UK partner will offer the LIMS or offer integration to existing LIMS.

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