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My lab: digital pathology service

Rachael Nicholson gives a guided tour of the Medica MedPath Digital Pathology Hub in Runcorn.

MedPath is a new service line for Medica, a leading provider of telehealth services, providing support to clients across the UK and Ireland.

Our goal was to create a service designed and led by pathologists and biomedical scientists, for pathologists and biomedical scientists. To do this we have created a bespoke SECTRA reporting platform and used the latest scanning technology, 3D Histech P1000.

The MedPath Hub, based in the Heath Business and Technical Park, Runcorn, offers cutting-edge technology dedicated to the future of histopathology reporting. Our team of hybrid staff is dedicated to maintaining a high level of quality and delivery.

Each client has a bespoke package, dependent on their requirements, so the team has to work diligently to ensure that each client’s expectations and targets are met or exceeded.

Quality is extremely important to us in MedPath. The hub has had recent success with a highly positive ISO 15189 pre-assessment report with full assessment expected in December. We are also extending the scope of our current ISO 9001 and 27001 accreditation to include MedPath services to ensure we are providing a high level of quality throughout our telehealth services.

The hub has two input streams – a client may choose to send us digital slide images, or they may send us glass slides for us to digitise. With our state-of-the-art scanner, we can process around 1500 glass slides a day. Once the slides are digitised and quality inspected, they are allocated to our team of highly specialised pathologists.

This team is led by our esteemed Clinical Director, Dr Kishore Gopalakrishnan. He says: “Digital telepathology has been the revolution that cellular pathology has been waiting for. It is a technology that will allow for appropriate distribution of a scarce and skilled workforce. Along with AI applications, it should help bring about speedier diagnosis and therefore improve the patient’s journey. As we tread along this new front, it is imperative that there is stringent clinical governance and that is one of our strengths. Medica’s strong track record of clinical audit and case review in radiology is something that really appeals to me, and it will be  implemented in telepathology reporting as well.”

Whilst the service is still new, we are already looking into ways to expand and improve. We are developing Pathology Plus – an option for managed services, and trialling AI technology to aid our pathologists and reduce reporting times. Pathology Plus will help clients manage their pain points, particularly in relation to staff shortages with secretaries, lab staff and pathologists. Pathology Plus will be a bespoke service in which we will send Medica staff directly into labs to assist and relieve backlog pressures. We created this service in mind of reducing patient waiting times, reducing backlog work; returning resilience back into departments in order for them to tackle areas of pressure and strain.

Rachael Nicholson is the Pathology Hub Manager and Lead Biomedical Scientist for MedPath.

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