Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20

Whole-slide imaging allows pathologists to work remotely in regions with severe logistical constraints due to Covid-19 pandemic


1 Department of Surgery, Anatomic Pathology Unit, Nuovo Ospedale Degli Infermi – ASL BI, 13875 Ponderano (BI), Italy
2 Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantation, Division of Pathology, University of Milan, Fondazione IRCCS Caf Granda-Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, 20122 Milan, Italy
3 Department of Health Sciences, Piemonte Orientale University, I-28100, Novara, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Daniel S Liscia
Anatomic Pathology Unit, Nuovo Ospedale degli Infermi – ASL BI, via dei Ponderanesi, 2-13875 Ponderano (BI)
Italy
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_32_20

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Introduction: In this study, we report on our experience using digital pathology to overcome the severe limitations imposed on health care by the Covid-19 outbreak in Northern Italy. Social distancing had a major impact on public transportation, causing it to run with reduced timetables. This resulted in a major challenge for hospital commuters. To limit the presence in our hospital of no more than two pathologists at a time out of four, a web-based digital pathology system (DPS) was employed to work remotely. Subjects and Methods: We used a DPS in which a scanner, a laboratory information system, a storage device, and a web server were interfaced so that tissue slides could be viewed over the Internet by whole-slide imaging (WSI). After a brief internal verification test, the activity on the DPS was recorded, taking track of a set of performance and efficiency indicators. At the end of the study, 405 cases were signed out remotely. Results: Of 693 cases, 58.4% were signed out remotely by WSI, while 8.4% needed to be kept on hold to return to the original microscope slide. In three cases, at least one slide had to be rescanned. In eight cases, one slide was recut. Panel discussion by WSI was necessary in 34 cases, a condition in which all pathologists were asked for their opinion. A consultation with a more experienced colleague was necessary in 17 cases. Conclusions: We show that WSI easily allows pathologists to overcome the problems caused by the severe social distancing measures imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our experience shows that soon there will not be alternatives to digital pathology, given that there is no assurance that other similar outbreaks will not occur.


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