At the 2022 European Congress of Pathology (ECP) in Basel, Switzerland, Paige’s Medical Director Dr. Juan Retamero moderated a symposium featuring Dr. Catarina Eloy, Head of Pathology Lab at IPATIMUP and Dr. Gareth Bryson, Consultant Pathologist and Clinical Director for Laboratory Medicine at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, where they discussed the impacts of digital pathology and AI in real-world labs.
Dr. Retamero set the stage with a quick walk-through of pathology’s journey to digital so far, beginning with the first FDA approval of a digital pathology scanner in 2017, then with the development of advanced AI models for pathology in the time since. He shared that though digitization is an available and worthwhile option for labs of all kinds today, the industry at large is still in the midst of transformation. For complete digital pathology adoption to happen, he emphasized, labs must be guided by strong leadership and must be completely committed to putting in the challenging work that will make the transition successful.
Dr. Eloy then followed Dr. Retamero’s comments by showing how her lab was able to accomplish this transition. She highlighted that though it did take 2 years to become 100% digital, as a result of that commitment, her team benefited from improved internal quality control and turnaround time and enjoyed the newfound ability to work remotely.
She then shared details of a trial she and her team conducted to assess the benefits Paige Prostate – Paige’s AI for prostate cancer detection, grading, and quantification – could offer the IPATIMUP lab.
The trial consisted of 4 pathologists reviewing 105 prostate biopsy whole-slide images first unaided, and then again after a 2-week washout period with the assistance of Paige Prostate.
Paige Prostate showed high concordance with pathologists on grading and quantification, as well as:
- Twenty-two percent (22%) shorter reading times
- Twenty-one percent (21%) reduction in IHC requests
- Thirty-nine percent (39%) reduction in second opinion requests
Each of these results demonstrated that AI offers digital labs an additional layer of benefits including cost savings, more efficient allocation of resources, and faster turnaround times.
Building on these exciting results, Dr. Bryson shared details on his own experience with the adoption of digital pathology and AI. He outlined some of the challenges his lab faced throughout this process, including how, like IPATIMUP, it took the lab nearly 2 years to become fully digital, in large part because of the complex technical requirements involved in selecting scanner, viewer, and AI vendors, the associated costs, and the training required to ensure the pathologists themselves can use these new technologies successfully. He reiterated that labs who are considering going digital or using AI must keep a few essential requirements in mind when selecting vendors: If the AI is generalizable, whether the AI is able to work together with the pathologists, the quality of communication between the teams, and most importantly, the trust in the technology.
These were requirements that Dr. Bryson’s lab measured Paige’s AI against when determining if we might be a good fit for their upcoming study on the value of AI. Ultimately, initial usage of the AI found that:
- Paige Prostate demonstrated very high sensitivity on their independent lab data at 99%, with specificity not far behind
- When any issues did arise, Paige worked in close collaboration with the lab to meet their needs and improve performance
- Despite being one of the largest single site pathology centers in Europe, Dr. Bryson and his team were able to completely transition to digital and utilize AI, demonstrating that labs of truly any size are not only capable of digital transformation, but are uniquely positioned to reap its benefits
Thus, the formal study of Paige will kick off in October, and Dr. Bryson believes that so long as trust is established between the pathologists and the AI, the lab will benefit immensely from these technologies, making the transition a rewarding one despite its challenges.
Ultimately, the symposium emphasized that digitization is possible in labs of any size and is a journey that brings labs substantial value in terms of diagnostic confidence, efficiency, cost effectiveness, turnaround time, and much more.