Sanj Lallie, Director of Operations at LDP path, plots a vision for a virtual histopathology service for each NHS trust, with a bespoke digital pathology platform
LDPath is an innovative and tailor-made digital pathology platform with access to over 140 leading UK NHS pathologists available to report surgical pathology cases. The ability to balance the workload across the UK provides a ready solution to today’s unprecedented work volumes encountered in many pathology departments.
In 2018, almost two years before the seismic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BBC was in the headlines:
“Shortage of pathologists ‘delaying cancer diagnosis'” (1)
In the same year, the Royal College of Pathologists (RCPath) reported an increasing demand for histopathology with a marked shortage of pathologists during the same period. An independent study from Keele University said the demand for histopathology is increasing by 4.5% each year. Furthermore, he maintains that the six-week wait times for pathology diagnoses have increased by 17% per year since 2010. In October 2021, analysis of monthly data from NHS England further illustrated the enormous pressure on an already crippled health system. The activity metrics for August and September 2021 demonstrated indisputably that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hamper the delivery of non-COVID health services, including cancer diagnoses. Many elective procedures were canceled during the second wave of COVID-19 and in October 2021, the BMA estimated that, compared to 2019/2020, there were 3.9 million fewer elective procedures and 26, 78 million fewer outpatient visits between 2020 and 2021.
The RCPath metric of> 90% of routine reporting to be completed within two weeks was violated by many departments prior to COVID. Importantly, the backlog of cancer cases will continue to plague the healthcare service for years to come, advocating for innovative strategies such as integrated digital pathology services.
LDPath: The digital pathology platform
LDPath is dedicated to the digital pathology platform, having pioneered this service in 2014. Since then the service has been developed and improved, LDPath has won the first and to date the only full tender of NHS digital pathology reports in early 2019. Digitization, continuous workflow, local system interfacing, data storage and administrative support are all provided. LDPath uses an interdisciplinary network of specialist background pathologists across the UK to provide multidisciplinary support and second opinion from recognized experts, ensuring patients receive unparalleled diagnoses. LDPath has a roster of over 140 specialist consultant pathologists, 75% of which are fully digital; 94% of NHS cases are reported within 72 hours, a statistic maintained annually since 2014. Currently, more than 300 hospitals – including over 30 NHS Trusts – use LDPath’s services, provided through its LDPath Information Management System. tailor-made laboratory (LIMS).
LDPath’s LIMS solution sought to use digital pathology to create an online virtual service, enabling remote diagnosis and reporting by consultant pathologists across the country. In line with the principles of centralization and rationalization of pathology previously presented in the NHS 5-year outlook view, this relieves service in high-demand places and provides support to all NHS hospitals and trusts when needed, providing access to innovative technology in many regions. Such systems allow everyone to benefit from the above advantages and efficiency.
Additionally, LDPath can demonstrate that the widespread use of digital pathology will move the discipline away from a long-standing dependence on unnecessary packaging and the widespread use of medical mail. All of the above factors contribute to massive improvements in patient experience and safety, reduced report processing times, and reduced environmental impact.
The LDPath LIMS application integrates securely with the NHS server using Cyber ââEssentials approved API bridges, ensuring data security. In this way, LDPath essentially acts as a bridge for NHS hospitals to evolve into digital service providers, resulting in significant cost savings and a modern, personalized patient experience.
Benefits of digital pathology platforms
Digital pathology platforms are a natural substrate for the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) systems. LDP path works closely with an AI vendor and has used algorithms in hospital-based cancer auditing and reporting contracts, even successfully identifying cancers missed by experienced reporting pathologists. Such technology provides an integrated audit or live screening system, aiding the reporting pathologist and an unprecedented diagnostic tool.
LDPath offers better patient outcomes, improved turnaround times, and improved diagnostic accuracy, enabling faster and earlier diagnosis and management of cancer.
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