On the Edge of a Digital Pathology Transformation: Views from a Cellular Pathology Laboratory Focus Group.
Turnquist C., Roberts-Gant S., Hemsworth H., White K., Browning L., Rees G., Roskell D., Verrill C.
IntroductionDigital pathology has the potential to revolutionize the way clinical diagnoses are made while improving safety and quality. With a few notable exceptions in the UK, few National Health Service (NHS) departments have deployed digital pathology platforms. Thus, in the next few years, many departments are anticipated to undergo the transition to digital pathology. In this period of transition, capturing attitudes and experiences can elucidate issues to be addressed and foster collaboration between NHS Trusts. This study aims to qualitatively ascertain the benefits and challenges of transitioning to digital pathology from the perspectives of pathologists and biomedical scientists in a department about to undergo the transition from diagnostic reporting via traditional microscopy to digital pathology.MethodsA focus group discussion was held in the setting of a large NHS teaching hospital's cellular pathology department which was on the brink of transitioning to digital pathology. A set of open questions were developed and posed to a group of pathologists and biomedical scientists in a focus group setting. Notes of the discussion were made along with an audio recording with permission. The discussion was subsequently turned into a series of topic headings and analyzed using content analysis.ResultsIdentified benefits of digital pathology included enhanced collaboration, teaching, cost savings, research, growth of specialty, multidisciplinary teams, and patient-centered care. Barriers to transitioning to digital pathology included standardization, validation, national implementation, storage and backups, training, logistical implementation, cost-effectiveness, privacy, and legality.ConclusionMany benefits of digital pathology were identified, but key barriers need to be addressed in order to fully implement digital pathology on a trust and national level.