I have heard this talked about for some time among the vendors, including Aperio and their CEO presented a couple of slides on this at the recent Pathology Visions meeting. Came across this press release this morning.
This service will allow pathologists to have their slides scanned and images hosted for consultation, education, tumor boards or archiving. It negates the need for laboratories without a scanner or necessary IT support to use digital pathology in their daily practice.
Your slides can be scanned at a (regional) scanning/hosting center, outside institutional firewalls & made available to you and any chosen colleague or consultant rapidly without any internal IT requirements for strorage and/or bandwidth.
For practices that both refer and receive slides for consultation, this enables both parties several advantages. For the referring pathologist, he/she may now review whole slide images with their consultants while possibly also having the original slides at their disposal and not with the consultant.
The referring pathologist may also share the case with several consultants without the requirement to send slides or re-cuts to several places.
For consulting pathologists, the requirements of unpacking, requisitioning, accessioning, sorting, tracking and re-packing and mailing are minimized thereby lessening chance for slides being lost, broken or returned to the wrong contributor.
Obviously when the need arises for the paraffin block or unstained sections, a workflow would have to be put in place to facilitate this beyond slides and images.
Clearly for digital pathology vendors who have produced and manufactured software and hardware, providing laboratory services with their products offers another revenue model for their companies.
These services will also provide another model for teleconsultation services and negates the need for the referring site to make capital investments in onsite equipment, software and necessary sustainment costs and is one more step towards full adoption of digital pathology.
The full press release is below.
Digital pathology leader improves laboratory efficiency with affordable service offering
Vista, CA – December 4, 2008 – Aperio Technologies, Inc., (Aperio), a global leader in digital pathology for the healthcare and life sciences industry, introduces SecondSlide, a service for sharing digital slides (whole slide images) from multiple sources, for multiple purposes.
SecondSlide improves lab efficiency and reduces costs associated with managing glass slides by providing pathologists with web-based access to a variety of digital slides, including H&Es, IHCs, frozen sections, pap smears, blood smears, and Gram stains. SecondSlide is compatible with digital slides created by current slide scanners, and supports digital grossing stations and images captured from cameras mounted on microscopes. “SecondSlide makes digital pathology more affordable for low-to-moderate volume slide sharing applications,” said Dirk Soenksen, Aperio’s chief executive officer. “Customers can pay a monthly fee that includes a custom-configured scanner and usage of the slide sharing network, or they can utilize a SecondSlide scanning center. Interest has been phenomenal.”
SecondSlide helps pathology groups, hospitals, and IDNs provide pathology expertise in multiple locations—including at remote or satellite locations—at different times. For clinical trials sponsors, SecondSlide facilitates confirmatory diagnoses and will improve the consistency of histological interpretations.
Customers gain rapid and secure web access to digital slides and associated data from SecondSlide’s data center. The SecondSlide data center runs Spectrum™, Aperio’s web-based information management (pathology PACS) software, providing access to functions such as digital slide conferencing, image analysis, and archival/retrieval. Customers can also use the data center to create and access digital slide repositories for self-education, tumor boards, and decision support.
Digital slides can be copied to the data center from remotely-located slide scanners. Remote scanners communicate with the data center using only outbound connections that require no modifications to an institution’s firewall, overcoming the major technical hurdle for the widespread adoption of digital slide sharing. Alternatively, customers can send glass slides to a scanning center for subsequent digital slide access from the data center.
Jared Schwartz, MD, PhD, Director of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Presbyterian Healthcare in Charlotte, NC and President of the College of American Pathologists said, “SecondSlide will benefit hospitals in rural areas with no sub-specialty expertise because it will allow them ready access to specialists with the expertise they require for the best patient care.”
The SecondSlide digital slide sharing service will be commercially available in the first quarter of 2009. For additional information please go to www.secondslide.com.