Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 44

Laboratory computer performance in a digital pathology environment: Outcomes from a single institution

1 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2 Department of Computer Science, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mark D Zarella
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine, 245 N. 15th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_47_18

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Background: In an effort to provide improved user experience and system reliability at a moderate cost, our department embarked on targeted upgrades of a total of 87 computers over a period of 3 years. Upgrades came in three forms: (i) replacement of the computer with newer architecture, (ii) replacement of the computer's hard drive with a solid-state drive (SSD), or (iii) replacement of the computer with newer architecture and a SSD. Methods: We measured the impact of each form of upgrade on a set of pathology-relevant tasks that fell into three categories: standard use, whole-slide navigation, and whole-slide analysis. We used time to completion of a task as the primary variable of interest. Results: We found that for most tasks, the SSD upgrade had a greater impact than the upgrade in architecture. This effect was especially prominent for whole-slide viewing, likely due to the way in which most whole-slide viewers cached image tiles. However, other tasks, such as whole-slide image analysis, often relied less on disk input or output and were instead more sensitive to the computer architecture. Conclusions: Based on our experience, we suggest that SSD upgrades are viewed in some settings as a viable alternative to complete computer replacement and recommend that computer replacements in a digital pathology setting are accompanied by an upgrade to SSDs.

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