Happy Monday! I have had a full week to (try to) recover from an amazing USCAP 2018 which was hosted in Vancouver, and while it is now in our rear-view mirror and the Spring Conference Season gets into full swing, I thought it would be advantageous to give you my recap. Although I have been lucky enough to attend quite a few conferences, this was my first USCAP! I was excited to talk with the ~4,500 Pathologists while in Vancouver – yes that was ambitious and not that realistic – but I was really looking forward to talking with new people about Proscia’s digital pathology platform and learning about what they were seeing as the new trends in pathology.
First a bit about me (If you already know me, you can skip this part): my sales career as it relates to Pathology started with working with one of the larger LIS companies in the industry. I took the plunge into digital pathology last summer and have been immersed in this exciting space ever since. Maybe I’m a bit biased, but Proscia has been a great company to work for as we continue to expand our platform and our presence. I get to be an integral part of helping my clients improve the pathology experience. I am responsible for introducing Proscia to clients located in the Eastern part of the US and Internationally. My colleague Don Ariyakumar works on the Western part of the US.
USCAP ’18 was held in the beautiful city of Vancouver. While most of my time was spent inside the Exhibit Hall, I did get the opportunity to see a good amount of the city and thoroughly enjoyed the Vancouver vibe! The food was fantastic including an awesome experience at The Nightingale Restaurant. One of my personal highlights of the trip was a wonderful evening over dinner with some friends of Proscia as we discussed DP acceptance, AI, CMS reimbursement, and many other topics that are impacting the Lab today. Okay so the wine and dessert we had wasn’t too horrible either… – what a great way to kick-off USCAP! (And by the way, if you’d like to join us at our next dinner, just let me know).
As to the Conference itself, I had several thoughts and takeaways for those that couldn’t attend:
- From my discussions, attendance seemed to be steady from 2017. There were approximately 4,500 Pathologists and it’s funny to me as to how everyone seemed to come to our booth at the same time. I wish I could have gotten to know all 4,500 of the attendees. In terms of attendance, I would estimate that the percentage of community-based Pathologists was 20%, with academic professors representing another 50%, and those interested mainly in research was about 30%. This was surprising to me, as I expected a greater amount of pathologists from academic institutions.
- Digital pathology was a hot topic, as I counted at least 8 scanner companies marketing hardware solutions, with software and the role of AI seeming to play an increasing role in the conversation. Could it be a coincidence that Proscia announced news for a late 2018 launch for their AI platform? Check out the details here.
- The coolest thing I saw was variety, quantity, and quality of posters showcased during USCAP. Posters lined the walls of the exhibit hall, flipped every few hours. I was able to walk around and meet some excited residents, researchers, and pathologists. I was amazed by the number of posters and the conversations they enabled! My favorite was a poster on Pathology and Social Media; who knew Twitter would be infiltrated by gross images and interesting cases?!
- What surprised me the most was the number of Pathologists who thought DP solutions would take months to implement. I like to joke around and say half my day is spent convincing clients digital pathology isn’t so scary… but it’s true! There are so many low barrier ways to use DP in the lab today. Tumor boards, QA, QC, resident education, and digital IHC workflows just to name a few. By the way, you should be sure to check out Proscia’s webinar with Leica that’ll highlight some of the ways that digital pathology can be adopted quickly for a variety of use-cases.
- Dr. Andy Evans from UHN Labs provided some amazing information about annual costs of transporting slides. On a recent tweet (@UHN_Labs), he estimated the minimum cost of transporting slides by courier was $78,500 per year! This changes the ROI of adopting DP, which is something we all talk about.
As a digital pathology platform company with applications in Clinical (non-primary diagnosis), Research and Education, I was pleasantly surprised by the interest in utilizing digital pathology for clinical purposes. A majority of our conversations centered around the ease-of-use of the Proscia platform, while discussions around the flexibility of our platform was a close second. We also fielded many questions on how we work with a client’s IT Department (very well, since we speak their language and our platform can conform to IT policy), and how we can integrate our platform into clients existing Laboratory Information Systems (LIS) or barcoding systems.
All in all, it was a great conference for me and the Proscia team. We were able to connect with so many of you, and if you didn’t get a chance to stop by the booth this time I hope we’ll see you at Pathology Informatics, or another conference this Spring!
Thanks for reading!