Studies suggest that 15% of a pathologist’s working time is spent on non-diagnostic work. It takes time to find, process, receive and acknowledge samples and referrals. In addition, analysis of samples often requires consultations with other pathologists. Digitalisation is revolutionising pathology. Scanners can be used to convert microscope samples into digital format. The scanner captures the sample one view at a time and a computer combines them into a virtual microscopy image. Digitalisation reduces the time needed for consultations, by enabling pathologists to send images online, rather than microscope slides. They can discuss online images on computers in different hospitals, for example.
At Turku University Hospital, pathology samples are digitalised and examined on computer screens. This enables various measurements and AI applications. AI applications developed in cooperation with the Auria Biobank reduce routine work by pathologists and expedite sample analysis.
“Digital pathology eases our work and enhances its quality. It speeds up work and saves money,” says Markku Kallajoki, Managing Director of Pathology at Turku University Hospital.
Digitalisation alone allows a pathologist to analyse around 15% more samples than now. When AI is added, this work could become up to 30% faster.
Markku Kallajoki explains that the key challenge lies in the fact that the purchase of digital pathology hardware, software and storage systems is planned in different locations, but such systems need to be compatible with each other.
“The optimal system would be a compatible, Finnish-wide one. In digital pathology, the largest single cost item is storage capacity.”