Agfa HealthCare unveils integrated digital pathology/PACS* solution at RSNA

| December 1, 2011

Earlier this week at RSNA, the tradeshow of tradeshows and the single best week for cab drivers in the city of Chicago, Agfa HealthCare announced a combined pathology and radiology PACS solution building on their radiology experience and backbone.  

Little curious they would choose to do this at a radiology show rather than say at say, USCAP or one of the dedicated pathology informatics/digital pathology meetings and not clear to me from this press release if they have built their own scanner for pathology slides or using someone else's device.  I suspect the latter. Either way — cool news piece with another player in the digital pathology space with shared pathology/radiology diagnostic imaging at a big operation with 1,600 teaching beds.  

Now the large radiology vendors such as GE, Philips and Afga in this space, who will be the next company with extensive radiology PACS and image acquisition/management to enter the digital pathology market?

And will this help drive a convergence towards Departments of Diagnostic Medicine/Imaging? And if that does happen wouldn't pathologists be better positioned and suited to be the gatekeepers of the images as a percentage of volume of information from those images?

One of the most popular posts I have written is now nearly 3 years old entitled Departments of Diagnostic Medicine? I think because of the picture of the cast of House, still a good show and one of my personal favorites.  I wasn't warm to the idea then but coming around to the idea this may happen with digital pathology scanners, radiology image/management experience and combined collective intelligence of radiologists and pathologist to use synergistic technologies for diagnosis, staging and progonosis.  

System now in hospital trial leverages company’s PACS, informatics, image storage and distribution expertise with new digital pathology solution

  • Press release
  • Mortsel, Belgium/Greenville, SC
  • November 29, 2011 04:00

• Solution currently implemented for clinical review at the La Pitié-Salpêtrière teaching hospital in Paris, France.
• Solution links new, pathology slide scanning device with dedicated analytical workstation to enhance data sharing of radiology and pathology images. 
• A critical step towards improved productivity and enhanced quality assurance in pathology for university hospitals and large clinics.

(RSNA 2011, Booth #8350) Agfa HealthCare announces today that it has successfully implemented a comprehensive solution that, for the first time, integrates digital pathology with X-ray imaging and informatics through its IMPAX Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) platform. This solution, revealed at the 97th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), is currently in clinical review at the La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, a 1600-bed Paris teaching hospital. It includes a high-throughput, whole slide scanning device coupled with dedicated workstations used by pathologists to view digital pathology images that support more confident diagnosis through specific clinical applications.

Solution facilitates collaboration between care providers in hospital
Once slides are digitally scanned, the pathologist selects the Regions of Interest (ROI) to be automatically integrated into the IMPAX PACS. Combining digital pathology and radiology images onto the same image management system results in multiple advantages including improved multidisciplinary team discussions such as tumor boards, better education within teaching hospitals, enhanced research and more expedient peer review. Integration also offers excellent workflow optimization in terms of image management and facilitates collaboration between clinicians, radiologists and pathologists, resulting in improved communications and a more streamlined workflow.

Pathology now joins other medical specialties on digital network
Anatomical pathology is the last medical discipline to be digitized; radiology, orthopaedics and cardiology have long benefited from the move from analog to digital workflows.
"Combining radiology and pathology images represents a critical step towards integrated diagnostics where a multi-disciplinary approach and sub-specialization are highly used, such as in a large teaching hospital," says Prof. Philippe Grenier, Head of Radiology at La Pitié-Salpêtrière. He adds that such advances take image management beyond the radiology department toward an enterprise model characterized by broader clinical access, more data from various sources and better communication between medical disciplines. The correlation of radiology and pathology images is expected to provide more efficient, higher quality patient care.
"Digital pathology offers more and better tools. By integrating our digital images within the PACS, I believe we'll reach a new level of clinical care management workflow," comments Prof. Frédérique Capron, Head of Pathology at La Pitié-Salpêtrière.

IT leadership assists successful pathology integration
Agfa HealthCare leveraged its current expertise in digital imaging informatics, storage and distribution by offering digital pathology solutions linked to scanning devices and analytical workstations, as well as the integration of pathology images within radiology storage instances. This complete solution facilitates the exchange of clinical data in multiple forms. The solution deployed at La Pitié-Salpêtrière includes IMPAX PACS. Plans are to expand, in other selected sites, the integration within IMPAX Data Center with XERO viewer for long-term data storage and distribution. The IMPAX Data Center Viewer, powered by XERO, is an enterprise medical image viewer that allows clinicians secure access to patient information, independent of location, on a variety of web-enabled devices. It serves a key role in creating a longitudinal patient record that can store X-ray images and related information, including cardiology and now pathology scans and demographics.
"We are pleased to work with La Pitié-Salpêtrière as part of our commitment to digital pathology," says Jérôme Galbrun, Global Head of Business Development, Agfa HealthCare. "The benefits of the digital pathology solution extend far beyond the pathology department. We aim to develop comprehensive solutions to improve access to sub-specialty care, greatly increase information sharing and reduce diagnosis time, particularly in remote locations."

Agfa HealthCare's digital pathology solution is currently in pre-clinical validation phase and expected to be available in 2012.

* Note: Not available in Canada or the U.S.


Category: Digital Pathology News, Pathology News

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