Sheffield and Hull NHS Hospitals Create Innovative New Digital Pathology Network to Benefit Millions of Patients

| October 18, 2016

sheffield-teaching-hospitalsA pioneering digital histopathology partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals and Philips offering a groundbreaking solution to the growing demand for specialist histopathology services at a time when fewer pathologists are entering the profession has been launched. 

The East and South Yorkshire Digital Pathology Network (EASY Path) brings together the clinical expertise of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust with technology giant Philips to create a virtual distributed network of specialist pathologists at both Trusts, enabling work to be balanced between the two sites. This ensures rapid analysis of vital histology samples.

The partnership is supported by the Philips IntelliSite digital pathology open platform.

Over 70% of diagnoses are dependent on pathology, including cancer. In the past 40 years the number of new cancer cases has tripled, with a new cancer diagnosis made every two minutes in the UK alone. The growing demand for pathology tests has not been matched by the number of highly trained specialists entering the field.

The EASY Path network is the first of its kind in the UK, and simplifies collaboration between two histopathology departments of two independent NHS trusts, enabling workload to be shared across both organizations whilst avoiding the need for the physical transfer of glass slides and the expense of employing locum doctors or external reporting agencies.

Dr. Jonathan Bury, Clinical Lead of Histopathology at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Hull Hospitals NHS Trust and Phillips to transform the way histopathology services will be delivered in the future.  The EASY Path enables a sustainable and transformative collaboration between NHS organizations, benefitting hospitals and patients and offers a flexible alternative to the expensive physical co-location of laboratories, for the benefit of millions of patients in East and South Yorkshire.”

Dr. Branko Perunovic, Clinical Director of Laboratory Medicine at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been working on developing this innovative solution for 18 months and so we are delighted to now to be working with Hull Hospitals NHS Trust and Phillips to transform the way histopathology services will be delivered in the future. The new way of working which is called EASY Path uses digital technology to help hospitals work together and get maximum benefits from expert pathology specialists which are limited in number without having to have them all located in one place.”

“EASY Path is set to benefit millions of patients in East and South Yorkshire but our system can also be available to other Trusts across the NHS because it uses digital technology and so it does not need Trusts to be located close to each other. Results can be processed very quickly because we do not need to wait for traditional glass slides to be transported to the appropriate specialist either. They are simply sent over a secure digital network in seconds.”

Dr. Anne Campbell, Joint Clinical Director for Pathology at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be working collaboratively with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on this exciting and innovative project. Our aim is to provide our patients and their doctors with access to a more robust and sustainable specialist diagnostic histopathology service now and in the years to come.”

Russ Granzow, General Manager of Philips Digital Pathology Solutions, said: “Digital pathology enables a new way of working for NHS organizations that benefits hospitals and patients. The EASY Path system offers a flexible alternative to the physical co-location of laboratories, helping match demand with capacity through shared diagnostic resources and cross-site workload improving clinical outcomes, efficiency and resilience of histopathology services.”

The Philips IntelliSite digital pathology open platform integrates ultra-fast slide scanners, an image management system and web-based pathology case viewer, enables images scanned at one laboratory to be instantly examined and diagnosed by pathologists at another laboratory.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals is one of the UK’s largest NHS Foundation Trusts and one of the largest and busiest teaching hospitals. We have over 16,000 staff caring for over a million patients each year at our five hospitals and in the local community:

  • The Royal Hallamshire Hospital
  • The Northern General Hospital
  • Charles Clifford Dental Hospital
  • Weston Park Cancer Hospital
  • Jessop Wing Maternity Hospital

We offer a full range of local hospital and community health services for people in Sheffield as well as specialist hospital services to patients from further afield in our many specialist centers. The Trust is recognized internationally for its work in neurosciences, spinal injuries, renal, cancer, transplantation, neurosciences and orthopedics.

The Trust has been awarded the title of ‘Hospital Trust of the Year’ in the Good Hospital Guide three times in five years and we are proud to be one of the top 20% of NHS Trusts for patient satisfaction.

The Trust is a recognized leader in medical research for bone, cardiac, neurosciences and long term conditions such as diabetes and lung disease. We also play a key role in the training and education of medical, nursing and dental students with our academic partners, including the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam.

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Source: Philips Digital Pathology


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