Digital pathology has recently been transformed by emerging advanced technology, creating new opportunities for practices. While many still hesitate to take the plunge and adopt digital pathology, the benefits cannot be ignored. This week Lumea CEO John Wirthlin was interviewed by Dr. Joe Anderson from the podcast Digital Pathology Today about developments in digital pathology, including new technology and systems. Here are the top 5 takeaways from the podcast:
The Creation of a New Digital Pathology Ecosystem
While discussing the founding of Lumea, Wirthlin explained that when Matthew Leavitt, MD, set out to use digital pathology nine years ago he discovered that the current systems just added cost and complexity. To overcome these challenges, he chose to found Lumea and build his own system from the ground up, creating new technologies with the aid of scientists, physicians, software developers, and automation engineers. To create this digital pathology ecosystem, they focused not only on the scanner aspect but also on streamlining the process from clinic to lab to pathology suite.
Wirthlin said, “We started developing not only digital technologies but also better tissue handling technologies and better ways of processing the tissue. Our technology really encompasses the whole process, from the time that biopsies are taken through glass slides being scanned, and then onto the pathology suite.”
Adding Efficiency with a New Digital Pathology Workflow
To add efficiency to the digital pathology workflow, you must bring laboratory technology into the clinic where the workflow begins. To do this, Lumea utilizes RFID technology that allows clinicians to easily track the process of tissue samples from the time of biopsy through diagnosis. All the information is available to the clinic. It also adds efficiency in the lab. “We have developed technologies that help in the grossing process by utilizing artificial intelligence. We have a camera that takes a picture of the small specimens and can analyze them with artificial intelligence, measure them, identify them down to the pixel level, and then pre-populate that information into the LIS.”
Wirthlin also shared that Lumea’s technology reduces sign-out time for the pathologist between 30 and 50 percent. This tech allows them to access and verify what the AI has reported about the tissue specimens. Lumea has also made considerable advancement in ancillary testing. Now clinicians can order tests with the click of a button on Lumea’s software. You can forgo the need to fill out paper requisition forms which speeds up the order process.
Connecting the Clinic, Lab, and Pathologist on One Platform
Traditionally there has been a disconnect between lab, clinic, and pathologist. Samples have been broken, paperwork lost, and results never communicated. That’s what creating a digital pathology workflow intends to solve. “It’s about bringing everyone all on one platform to address these concerns about data integrity, specimen tracking, and the integrity of the specimen itself with better preservation and transport technologies.” Being connected all on one platform significantly reduces these errors and challenges.
What are the Benefits of Lumea’s Digital Pathology Platform?
The focus of digital pathology is to make the customers successful which includes laboratories, pathology groups, and clinicians. “We’ve focused on giving them the tools that they need to be successful in their practices.” What do these tools provide? Better turnaround time, higher quality tech, the ability to grow practices, and the opportunity to not be geographically restricted. These benefits come with better whole slide images, fewer errors, and the ability to provide higher quality patient care.
Adopting Digital Pathology for Your Practice Using Lumea
Because digital pathology is largely cloud-based, Lumea has made it easier for practices to adopt digital pathology. There is no need to spend time buying and setting up lots of disconnected equipment. One option, likely better for smaller practices, is to bring in a whole slide image scanner and learn the Lumea system. Larger labs can adopt digital pathology slowly, one specialty at a time.
Listen to the podcast here.