Recently attended Pathology Visions 2007 co-hosted by Aperio and the California Society of Pathologists held this week in San Diego. In its third year of existence, Aperio sought to make the conference and industry meeting with other vendors in attendance including Apollo, CRI, Nikon, Olympus and McKesson. Information about the Keynote speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Hammond and general session speakers, Dr. Jared Schwartz on behalf of the College of American Pathologists (CAP) and Mr. Robert Michel, Editor, The Dark Report is available here.
The breakout sessions included tracts for clinical, image analysis and research, education and IT topics. Panel discussions were held for similar topics as well. The organizers mentioned the registration included over 275 participants.
By all measures the meeting was a success in my opinion, particularly given a number of personal issues faced by the meeting hotel and local vendors and sponsors with the wildfires in San Diego County. The talks and panels were provocative and addressed digital pathology on a broad spectrum of current and likely future issues. I left the conference with more questions than answers, namely;
- Is digital pathology going through an evolution or revolution?
- Is it here yet and if so, do general practicing pathologists have a sense of what is or what is to come?
- And how will these new tools and applications be used or misused? Are these new technologies threats to pathology or opportunities, particularly with the market forces and bevy of recent mergers, acquisitions, purchases and contracts between laboratories, large commercial vendors, LIS vendors, and other providers of laboratory and radiology services.
- Are our professional societies, colleges and residencies prepared to deal with appropriate clinical business practices, standards and training ? Will these be enabling technologies or disruptive to a point of disabling traditional small community-hospital based groups of pathologists or will digital pathology allow greater opportunities for these practices?
I would argue that digital pathology is going through an evolution that provides increased opportunity for the surgical pathologist than will enable us to enhance accuracy, quality, safety and overall enhanced care to our patients. The technologies may be disruptive but I think the economies of scale will require the adoption of digital pathology in some form whether it is telepathology, whole slide imaging, image analysis or education within most pathology practices including community, academic, private, hospital-based or commercial laboratories. Based on the talks presented the data would suggest those who understand what the technology can and can’t do have shared success on many levels.
I hope this blog and others like it at pathtalk.org, conferences such as this one, APIII, Lab InfoTech Summit, CAP’s Futurescape of Pathology, vendor products and support and organizations such as API and CAP wil continue the evolution and adoption of digital pathology that will enhance our specialty.
I welcome your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.