Ever the pioneer, HSS had the boldness to pilot and partner with their digital pathology and enterprise imaging provider, Sectra, and Epic their EMR provider to plow the integration path for half of the nation’s healthcare systems ready to do the same. HSS did the development work that other healthcare systems can leverage too. If you’re looking to adopt digital pathology for primary diagnosis, reporting and correlating images from radiology, pathology, and other image-rich specialties for the same patients in the same interface, the IT team at HSS has plenty of good advice to pass along.
This is HSS’s digital pathology IT journey. Check out the benefits on the clinical and patient care side that we profiled here.
Where will turns to way
The vision was that of Inderpal Kohli, assistant VP, clinical applications & training who leads the IT project team. But he knew making it happen meant a commitment from the healthcare system and gathering in-depth clinical experience. Thomas Bauer, MD, PhD, joined HSS in 2017 as the pathologist-in-chief, bringing with him a long history in orthopedics and digital pathology at the Cleveland Clinic where he co-pioneered the field in the department of pathology there. Renee Slaw, MBA, FACHE, assistant director, pathology & laboratory medicine who was at his side over that decade of discovery and deployment, also moved over to HSS from the Clinic.
“Utilizing digital pathology for primary diagnosis needs to be a shared passion of pathology and IT,” as Kohli says. “From the IT side, it was a close collaboration and teamwork with our vendors that made primary diagnosis happen. There’s a distinct benefit in using one infrastructure to save and access images across all specialties with enterprise imaging.”
The EMR needed to be the source of truth in accessing all patient data. But the HSS team quickly realized the EI platform needed to be the source of truth for pathology images and reports, like it was for radiology. They needed two links. One seamlessly integrates images in the pathologist’s existing workflow in the laboratory information system (Epic Beaker), while the other allows any physician across HSS with permission to see when pathology images are available in the patient’s EMR.
Over a year and a half, HSS’s IT team worked alongside Sectra and Epic developers to create interfaces between their slide scanner (Leica/Aperio CS2), Epic Beaker LIS, and Sectra EI system that has managed radiology images since 2007, and now includes pathology images. One database for all.
This allows pathology assistants or pathologists to scan a microscope slide and upload it directly to the EI system. Quality of the tissue scan is essential, as is including all the tissue on the slide for scanning.