Dennis M. Frisman,MD, Chair of the Eisenhower Medical Center Pathology Department describes the basics of pathology.“When a patient has a biopsy, for example, that tissue sample is sent to the Pathology Department.We process the sample, and then view it microscopically to arrive at a diagnosis,” explains Dr. Frisman. “We then prepare a report for the physician, and he or she uses that report to communicate with the patient.”
The Eisenhower Pathology Department takes the extra step to include images in its pathology reports.“Adding images makes it easier to communicate with the patient, and not many pathology departments do it,” says Frisman.
In the coming months, the Eisenhower Pathology Department will greatly enhance current technology with the implementation of the McKesson Corporation’s Horizon Anatomic Pathology™ system and Aperio® Technologies, Inc.’s Aperio Digital Pathology Environment™. The new technologies digitize samples on pathology slides, and allow the pathologists to view the same image of the slide on a computer screen that is typically seen through the microscope. Pathologists can view the sample at many different angles, and then save the images to a central database.Once the images of the slides are saved, they can be easily transmitted to the patient’s physicians, as well as to specialists at other medical institutions, if additional diagnostic or treatment consults are needed.
“This new system will revolutionize how we are able to communicate pathology results,” says Dr. Frisman.“Because the slides are digitized, samples can be sent to consulting physicians or outside specialists electronically,making the diagnosis and treatment process much more efficient and timely.”
The digital pathology images will also advance surgical procedures, as the new McKesson system will make it possible to transmit images of the patient’s pathology results directly onto a screen in the operating room, which surgeons can reference during surgeries. Communications between physicians and patients are also enhanced as reports will include detailed visual images that will help patients have a better understanding of their diagnosis and treatment.
Because all pathology slides will be digitized, the Eisenhower Pathology Department will soon have a powerful and easily searchable database of tissue samples and tumors. This database will provide a valuable research tool for medical researchers advancing the prevention and treatment of a wide array of diseases.
“This new technology puts Eisenhower at the forefront.We are one of only a few non-academic institutions to have the McKesson and Aperio systems,” says Dr. Frisman. “With it, doctors can communicate more efficiently.We will have a better understanding of diagnoses and treatment options, and we can make significant contributions to new research.”