PathCentral Launches Digital Pathology Network, The First Comprehensive Online Information Exchange Open to the Global Pathology Community
The week leading up to and the week of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology (USCAP) meeting are often times for significant news in pathology and in recent years for digital pathology. For good reason – perhaps the single largest gathering of pathologists, not only from North America but from across the world. Many countries, departments, groups and every subspecialty in pathology is present at the meeting.
So it is only fitting that PathCentral would choose the USCAP meeting to announce the “most comprehensive online information exchange and digital consultation forum” in pathology.
And they aren’t the only ones. Leica Biosystems recently announced at USCAP, their Dell platform for pathology image sharing between China and the U.S. – see Leica Biosystems and Dell Enable Access to Pathology Images Between China and the U.S.
And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to read about “How a Small Town in Haiti is Changing Global Healthcare” and watch “Diagnosis without Borders“
There is a common theme here. Much like our building materials, pool tables, clothing, toys, televisions, PCs, Smartphones and a million other products, these same countries will export their pathology cases to the U.S. But instead of the cargo ships going back empty in our case, they will send back pathology support and reports to guide diagnoses, treatment, management and clinical trial management.
The untethering of pathologist from microscope, histology lab and LIS is here and is now worldwide.
One does not have to go back many years or USCAP meetings to remember folks concerned about “outsourcing of pathology services” to foreign countries. Naysayers over the years have told me that beyond cost, support requirements, lack of IT resources, speed, workflow, user interface issues, network requirements, etc… one of the major impediments to the wide scale adoption of digital pathology has been a fear of “outsourcing”. Our skills and services would be commoditized, sold on the open market to the lowest bidder and sent offshore.
There are of course many reasons why this has not occurred and will not occur. Mainly, capacity of pathologists elsewhere where there are dramatic shortages of pathologists on many continents, lack of subspecialty expertise and in-turn a lack of quality to insure standards of care are being met that would be expected of the American community which will become increasingly important as fee-for-service volume based models become pay-for-performance quality/outcomes based models of care.
While you may be better off going to Malaysia or India for your open heart surgery or joint replacement, Western pathology is still the best in the world and this technology offers us the opportunity to provide it on a scale to places that could not previously have access to do so.
The PathCentral Pathology Network enables physicians to upload case files using digital images for pathologists to review and render critical consulting diagnoses on both a global and a domestic real-time basis. In terms of scanning technology and imaging software, the Network is agnostic and designed to be non-exclusive – that is, open to all users regardless of location or consulting institution. The PathCentral Pathology Network seeks to connect the world’s pathologists, incorporating tools from social media, making it an ideal forum for pathologists to send and perform consults, create connections, post information, share cases, ask questions, and expand professional relationships.
PathCentral has long been a pioneer in cloud-hosted solutions for the pathology community, through its Anatomic Pathology Laboratory Information Systems (APLIS). The core IT infrastructure in the APLIS is the backbone of almost every reference laboratory that offers remote review of cases via “tech only” testing. This technology, forged over the last 12 years, fueled development of the PathCentral Pathology Network. Today, it represents the industry’s first open, cloud-based platform, harnessing all the technologies of social media, digital imaging and laboratory information system functionality under one virtual roof.
“We envision that the PathCentral Pathology Network will help pathologists in various facets of their practice by freeing them up from their physical location and providing a venue to consult, collaborate and connect to anywhere in the world,” said Jaye Connolly, Chief Executive Officer, PathCentral. “The Network not only enables us to electronically connect a broad base of users, it helps address the global shortage of highly qualified pathology consultants by bringing their expertise to all corners of the globe. As a truly open network, it will uniquely encourage participation and feedback from everyone who accesses it.”
In January, China-based Kindstar Globalgene Technology, Inc. became the first international organization to sign on to the Network as a sender and a user. Through its participation, Kindstar will be able to access U.S. pathologists and facilitate pathology consultations for more than 3,300 hospitals throughout China. Kindstar and its clients will gain access to hundreds of American pathologists at leading U.S. medical institutions, including many of the top 50 cancer centers, delivering patient diagnoses to physicians in China via the cloud.
Through its comprehensive suite of products and services, PathCentral provides independent community-based pathologists with the tools they need to increase revenues, improve operating efficiencies, ensure patient safety, and become highly competitive in their local markets. With its blend of leading edge IT cloud computing technology and global connectivity, PathCentral intends to enable pathologists around the world to grow, thrive and more effectively meet the demands of 21st Century diagnostic medicine. For more information, please visit www.pathcentral.net.