Interview with Ken Berta, Philips Digital Pathology Head of Commercial Operations North America

| July 23, 2015

Recently, I had a chance to sit down with Ken Berta, Head of Commercial Operations North America – Digital Pathology at Philips, to discuss the headway they’ve made in their sector of the healthcare industry and various other issues.

I asked about Philips’ Digital Pathology mission and vision and he shared with me that Philips sees the importance of connecting the worlds of clinical and consumer to drive health care forward. To support this, Philips is combining its long history in health and wellness products on the consumer electronics side with its deep presence in health systems, including medical imaging, to connect data across the health continuum – from healthy living and prevention to diagnosis, treatment, recovery and home care.

As part of this continuum, Philips Digital Pathology Solutions is focused on “information intelligence” to help deliver faster, more efficient and more confident diagnoses. Mr. Berta mentioned “Philips’ digital pathology is not just pathology, but rather a blended state, combining pathology, imaging, radiology, genomics and third party application and analytics for image analysis”.

He referred to their recent partnership with Inspirata and how the two companies plan to work together on issues such as big data and “smart analytics”. Mr. Berta described Inspirata’s mission to develop and deliver innovative cancer diagnostic solutions to optimize patient outcomes and explained how that aligns with Philips’ goal of delivering cost-effective digital pathology solutions and patient-centric pathology informatics solutions.

Mr. Berta also discussed the joint development agreement between Philips Digital Pathology Solutions and Mount Sinai Health System to create a state-of-the-art digital image repository of archived glass slides of patient tissue samples. Given the scale of the number of hospital campuses and patients that Mount Sinai serves, this collaboration will advance research by unlocking vast amounts of data, and ultimately lead to improved and personalized patient care.

He also feels that the Affordable Care Act and changes in reimbursement are placing increasing pressure on laboratories to deliver outcomes-based results rather than think solely of fee-for-service and ROI for technology solutions. This may lead to more laboratories performing self-validation with the understanding that these technologies remain perceived as “disruptive workflow” solutions. While regulatory issues in the North American market have limited the opportunities to validate tangible ROI for many laboratories, other markets internationally have demonstrated the value proposition through patient safety and rejecting the status quo of analog slides alone.

Mr. Berta is convinced that by focusing on 4 main core objectives in the digital pathology market, pathologists will have access not only to tissue information but also patient information in a more seamless manner. This more holistic view will lead to better patient care and outcomes. The 4 main objectives are: ensuring image quality; improving workflow; integrating systems, including LIS, HIS, and EMRs; and providing access to additional patient information including radiology and genomic/proteomic data in real-time for an integrated diagnostic solution.

A few months ago during the USCAP Annual Meeting in Boston, I was able to visit the Philips booth where Mr. Berta gave me the opportunity to scan a slide and see the image presented on a worklist in under a minute. The overall experience of using the platform was excellent, with image quality and scan time as advertised.

For more information check out Philips Digital Pathology Solutions.

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Category: Digital Pathology News, Informatics, International, Vendor products, Whole slide

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