A book review on our recent book “Digital Pathology: Historical Perspectives, Current Concepts & Future Applications” was written by Dr. Paul J van Diest, Professor of Pathology and Chairman, Department of Pathology, UMC Utrecht, The Netherlands. The review appeared recently in the Journal of Pathology Informatics. Our personal thanks to Dr. van Diest for taking the time to review this book and to the Journal for sharing with its readers. The full review is below.
I think the review is fair and accurate. Due to some last minute authorship issues, we missed some of the goals we set out for some parts of the book while other parts provide a succinct up-to-date review in their particular sections. Nonetheless, I think as a primer for those interested in digital pathology, pathologist, trainee, laboratorian and information technology staff, this book can provide a nice basis of current ideas, thoughts, problems and opportunities from a wide range of users/authors and their experiences.
In the next edition, we will take all comments and reviews to improve on weaker areas of the book while keeping the good parts good!
At the first glance, this book is fairly thin for the ambitious title it carries, but it nevertheless presents a quite good overview of the issues it promises to discuss. Chapter 2 provides a succinct but complete overview of the various use cases of digital pathology (DP), useful for anyone looking for the arguments to convince the management that DP is a good idea. These use cases are further discussed in detail in the chapters thereafter. In Chapter 3, I miss as target population Networks of regional labs, which seems to be the main driver of DP implementation in the Netherlands. Chapter 4 deals business models for DP, or perhaps the lack thereof. Clearly, on the global costs of health care, pathology only takes up a fraction much <1%, and pathology thereby provides extremely good value for money, and DP is potentially a very good approach to that. This chapter could have been more detailed, especially the paragraph “return on investment,” since this is where everybody will be looking when trying to make a business case. The chapter on “Telepathology and DP research” is a bit succinct, in contrast with the teleconsultation and education chapters that are fairly extensive (the latter except for the mega displays that are now available) and provide a good overview of the various use cases here. The legal/regulatory and standards’ chapters are succinct, but quite useful. The final chapter on in vivo microscopy is a bit out of focus to me.
No doubt, there will be many more books written on DP in the future where important issues such as storage, hardware matters (computers, displays, and interaction devices) and issues with regard to the implementation of digital diagnostics (workflow, connections, etc.), and validation of digital diagnostics get some more attention. Nevertheless, this book provides overall a good introduction to DP in 166 pages for the interested user today.