NHS Ayrshire & Arran Selects Philips digital pathology solution

Introducing remote diagnostic capabilities will bring improvements in safety, quality and efficiency

Lorna Cottrell, consultant pathologist and clinical pathology lead at University Hospital Crosshouse

Royal Philips is enabling the University Hospital Crosshouse, Kilmarnock, part of NHS Ayrshire & Arran, to introduce remote digital pathology capabilities.

The move will also help set a new standard of diagnostic services and care for communities located outside of main city centres.

To enable this, Philips is providing the University Hospital Crosshouse with the Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution, comprising of an Ultra Fast Scanner and Image Management System.

This will help to reduce pressure on the pathology service by streamlining the workflow and extending collaboration with the object of increasing diagnostic confidence.

We are energised by the many possibilities that introducing digital pathology into the hospital might unlock

In doing so, the hospital also opens the future possibility of introducing computational pathology, which would further enhance diagnostic decision-making, improve efficiency, and support the hospital in gaining new insights.

Dr Lorna Cottrell, consultant pathologist, said: “We strongly believe that digital pathology offers the potential to dramatically change the way we will be able to deliver our pathology service and that will bring improvements in safety, quality and efficiency.

“Creating new working patterns will help address many of the challenges facing everyone in pathology over the next few years – even more so in the way we are adapting to a new way of working today due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Home reporting has the potential to be one of the biggest advantages to the way our team works. I am not able to access fibre broadband where I live, so initially I thought the speed of image transfer might be too slow, but I have noticed very little difference between looking at slides at work and at home.”

The Philips solution will allow remote access facilities, enabling flexible options for working at home.

And, at a time where the NHS will now be working in the shadow of coronavirus, digital pathology will enhance the ‘new normal’, supporting implementation of social distancing to protect the hospital pathologists and provide resilience to the department.

Sean Auld, specialist biomedical Scientist at University Hospital Crosshouse

It also offers pathologists more-flexible options for working, such as working from home for a specified number of days per week, eliminating the need to face a difficult commute five days a week, or spending a proportion of the day working from home, which means travelling at the busiest times of day could be avoided.

The necessity of spending hours at the microscope can also be reduced, making the working environment more comfortable for pathologists, who can be prone to suffering from back and neck problems when spending a significant amount of time hunched over a microscope.

Furthermore, introducing a digital pathology solution brings the ability to send digital cases for remote review by experts with the expectation to have high-quality and faster diagnoses for the hospital’s patients.

Creating new working patterns will help address many of the challenges facing everyone in pathology over the next few years – even more so in the way we are adapting to a new way of working today due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Digital slides can also be used at multi-disciplinary meetings as an educational to review in real time to answer questions and facilitate clinical discussion immediately, enhancing the delivery of timely and quality patient care.

“We are energised by the many possibilities that introducing digital pathology into the hospital might unlock,” said Cottrell.

“If our learnings inspire other hospitals and trusts in other coastal or rural communities to do the same, it would be exciting to demonstrate that digital pathology solutions have a role to play in many different-sized communities – not just hospitals in urban or city centres.”

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