The Chicago Cubs and Digital Pathology

| November 4, 2015

What do the Chicago Cubs and Digital Pathology have in common?

Both were suppose to happen this year.

In Back to The Future II, the Chicago Cubs are supposed to win the World Series (against Miami). Instead, as we now know, the Cubs lost the National League Championship Series on October 21, 2015 rather than winning the World Series.

The movie did get some other predictions right but this would have been a nice one to have.

Did anyone predict “adoption of digital pathology” by 2015 in 2010? Certainly. Myself included. Perhaps as early as 2005 people made predictions about “full” adoption of digital pathology in “5 years”. We haven’t quite made it yet.

But as Chicago Cubs fans know, there is always next year and next year I think will be relevant for the Chicago Cubs and Digital Pathology.

I think we are about a year early for both the Chicago Cubs and Digital Pathology.

The Cubs have the beginnings of a solid 4-man pitching rotation anchored by Lester and Arrieta. The bullpen gives me some concern but adding another solid starter could minimize this problem. There is depth as well at nearly every other position with first base solidly covered by Rizzo. The team is young and needed the experience. For those of us who didn’t think they could get through the Pirates, Cardinals or Mets it was only because of a lack of being there before.

2016 will be different.

For digital pathology, more than a decade has passed with concerns about regulatory issues, reimbursement issues and many of years of a pathology market and healthcare industry in general that has had its own issues with consolidation, unfavorable reimbursements, increasing costs and changing practice patterns. It has not made for a favorable environment to implement new technologies that require time, money and people without proven ROI in a down market.

Based on the latest revisions made by CMS, pathologists and laboratories stand to see increases in reimbursement, in some cases, significant improvements for many tests and practices based on more accurately weighted RVU factors and much more.

There is more palpable interest in digital pathology on a larger scale with a general recognition this is where pathology is and should be headed. Numerous discussions with regulators over the years seem to have provided some clarity and collegiality regarding appropriate regulation of scanning devices and digital pathology systems to insure their safe use and public health. While it is unlikely new CPT codes will be made specifically for digital pathology, groups are increasingly recognizing the value proposition for digital pathology in their laboratories and hospitals to remain competitive with the changing healthcare paradigms of delivery of care and payment for those services.

2016 will be different.

Just wait until next year.

For both the Chicago Cubs and Digital Pathology.

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Category: Advocacy, Clinical Laboratories, Current Affairs, Digital Pathology News, Government, Laboratory Management & Operations, Pathology News, Personal

Comments (1)

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  1. Karim Sirgi MD MBA says:

    I’ve incorporated digital pathology in most aspects of my current practice. It is a hugely positive game changer. There is no going back once you adopt it. If your predition is correct about 2016, I can’t wait for 2016 to be upon us! My only pushback is directed at manufacturers who also need to produce smaller, cheaper systems directed at smaller practices with shallower pockets; this would really “democratize” access of digital pathology for all.