Scaling Digital Pathology Adoption across the Life Sciences Organization

Nathan Buchbinder
By Nathan Buchbinder | January 6, 2020

In recent years, life sciences organizations have digitized every possible aspect of their labs in hopes of speeding drug discovery and ensuring high-quality, efficient lab operations. While many of these companies are on the forefront of digital pathology adoption, the majority of the millions of images and massive volumes of associated data that they have generated through whole slide imaging remains siloed and, in turn, dissociated from broader R&D efforts. 

As the digitization of pathology in R&D becomes more and more ubiquitous, these life sciences organizations are looking to build scalable technology ecosystems that functionalize their digital pathology data. Doing so will entail architecting and maintaining a robust technology platform that provides the capabilities, interface, and technical back-end to enable researchers and pathologists to streamline workflows, collaborate with global peers, and enjoy broadened access to pathology data. All of this is much more easily said than done.

That’s why we’re continuously expanding our Concentriq digital pathology platform for life sciences to meet the needs of organizations that are ready for the next generation of enterprise-class software. As we’ve grown Concentriq, we’ve found that a few key principles and priorities continue to guide both how we build our platform and how successful organizations adopt and expand their digital implementations. Here are a few of the most important features you should assess in a platform as you scale and grow your digital pathology practice.

Features that Help You Scale Up & Scale Out

To scale digital pathology across your organization and better incorporate pathology data into programs and studies, you need a solution that’s going to meet the needs of various users on the front-end — scientists, program managers, administrators, IT personnel — while supporting massive amounts of data on the back-end. To provide equal utility for all sorts of roles, a scalable digital pathology platform needs to come complete with features and solutions for these functional and user interface (UI) areas:

Accessibility, Roles, & Permissions

Running multi-site studies at scale requires the dynamic management of user access, roles, and permissions to ensure that the right people are able to store, manage, and search whole slide images across teams and study sites. The result is enhanced auditing, security, and sharing capabilities for your organization. 

Standardization & Configurability

Without data standardization and consistency in data collection, it becomes very difficult for team members to find the information they need quickly. A robust, scalable digital pathology platform will enable you to strike the right balance between standardization with consistent fields across studies and configurability to support varied trial and program structures. Watch a webinar led by my colleague Ashley Murgatroyd, Director of Product Management, about “Planning and Executing Studies with Whole Slide Imaging” for the full story on how to standardize studies while maintaining a high level of configurability. 

Automation

Despite its enormous long-term potential to improve outcomes, the shift to digital pathology can actually add steps to existing workflows without proper optimization. The right solution will eliminate manual steps and actually cut down how long it takes to perform many of the most time-consuming and resource-intensive components of studies and trials by automating image upload from scanners, metadata import, integration with third-party tools, and the set-up of repositories with standard fields and templates. For more on making these efficiency gains from an IT standpoint, watch a webinar presented by my colleague Isaac Huff, Application Specialist, called “Overcoming the Demands of Whole Slide Imaging on IT Operations.”

Centralization

When working with geographically distributed teams, it’s vital that the lab’s digital pathology platform and corresponding IT infrastructure support a cohesive, multi-site approach to data management and enable seamless access from anywhere in the world. When deployed correctly, the right digital pathology ecosystem allows data to flow seamlessly between researchers, program managers, data scientists, and other key roles. 

Integration

Unfortunately, many of the digital pathology solutions currently available operate in silos removed from the rest of an organization’s technology ecosystem. To truly scale, you need a solution like Concentriq that integrates seamlessly with what you’ve already implemented — your clinical trial management system (CTMS), electronic lab notebooks (ELN), laboratory information system (LIS), image analysis (IA) tool, and more, whether these solutions are homegrown or from a third-party provider. 

Intuitiveness 

The simplicity and ease of use of a digital pathology system are key drivers of adoption. That’s why the most scalable platforms are those that can appeal to all sorts of users from an experience and interface standpoint — from hypertechnical personnel to program administrators. 

Finally, having access to the flexible deployment options needed to ensure the data storage and network speed for sound image lifecycle management is critically important to IT operations. Together, Proscia and Dell Technologies have done exactly this, connecting the enterprise-grade user experience and feature set of the Concentriq digital pathology platform with Dell’s hardware ecosystem out of the box. Check out our joint webinar featuring myself and Ryan Halos, CTO, Medical Imaging, from Dell entitled “Accelerate & Scale Enterprise Adoption of Digital Pathology” for more on this topic.

Ready to Futureproof Digital Pathology for Your Organization? 

If you’re interested in taking your digital pathology software implementation to new heights, watch the aforementioned webinars or contact us to learn more about how our platform and partnerships can help change the way your organization practices pathology.

New to digital pathology? Learn how whole slide imaging is changing the industry here.

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