Yesterday afternoon my news alerts went wild with a story entitled "Digital imaging seen as pathology lab cure" that was printed and picked up by several others and mentioned on blogs as of yesterday.
My hometown newspaper (one of them, anyways), the Chicago Tribune printed a story by Jon Van on their Inside Technnology section. The story comes on the heels of the GE-UPMC Omnyx LLC venture. The new CEO of Omnyx has roots in Chicago having spent 20 years with Abbott Laboratories out of North Chicago.
The story highlights the following:
"Enabling pathologists to access information on a computer also will allow for sharing information more quickly, as is done in cardiology and radiology departments, Cartwright said.
Because of the dense information, digitizing an image used to take up to 10 minutes, and computer storage requirements made the process cost-prohibitive. Also, sending high-quality images over computer networks was time consuming.
GE engineers have cut the time needed to digitize a slide image to half a minute, Cartwright said, and advances in silicon chip design have lowered computer storage costs dramatically. The company also has devised a proprietary technology that enables quick streaming of digital images over networks."
While I think digital pathology holds the promise to improve the lives of our patients and in the process enable pathologists to work more efficiently with improved accuracy, speed, turn around time and cost in doing so, I don’t think it should be seen as a "cure" inasmuch as an enhancement to current business practices, much like electronic signout, improved LIS functions, some middleware applications and immunohistochemistry and FISH have improved and enhanced our practices.
The story in the paper continues on about "snow flea sage" based on some work from the University of Chicago for interested readers.