Using Digital Pathology for Frozen Section Intraoperative Consultation in an NHS Multi-Hospital Trust
Pathology Departments today are faced with many challenges in regards to effectively handling their workflow. More pathologists and technologists are retiring, while demand for specialist pathologists is increasing. Hospital laboratories are being forced to consolidate services and are seeking tools that can help them effectively provide more services without impacting on patient treatment.
The Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust is the largest specialist heart and lung centre in the UK, pioneering techniques for the treatment of cardiothoracic disease. The two Trust sites, Royal Brompton Hospital in Chelsea and Harefield Hospital near Uxbridge are located in London, approximately 20 miles apart.
Following the retirement of a consultant histopathologist, the service needed to be reconfigured to a single, central site and a partner site, with the partner site staffed no more than 1-2 days a week. However, thoracic surgery occurs on a daily basis on partner site, with a constant need for intraoperative reporting by frozen section. The decision was made to introduce an Aperio ePathology scanner and software solution to address this situation. The system was installed at Harefield Hospital, and was validated for use of remote review and reporting on intraoperative frozen section samples. Following the successful validation period, the system was put into live practice, and agreement with traditional glass slide review was subsequently assessed over a period of 10 months.