14 October 2016

Sheffield and Hull NHS Hospitals create innovative new digital pathology network to benefit millions of patients


A PIONEERING digital histopathology partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals and Philips offering a groundbreaking solution to the growing demand for specialist histopathology services at a time when fewer pathologists are entering the profession has been launched.

The East and South Yorkshire Digital Pathology Network (EASY Path) brings together the clinical expertise of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Hull and East Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust with technology giant Philips to create a virtual distributed network of specialist pathologists at both Trusts, enabling work to be balanced between the two sites. This ensures rapid analysis of vital histology samples. The partnership is supported by the Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution digital pathology open platform for digital pathology.

Over 70% of diagnoses are dependent on pathology, including cancer. In the past 40 years the number of new cancer cases has tripled, with a new cancer diagnosis made every two minutes in the UK alone. The growing demand for pathology tests has not been matched by the number of highly trained specialists entering the field.

The EASY Path network is the first of its kind in the UK, and simplifies collaboration between two histopathology departments of two independent NHS trusts, enabling workload to be shared across both organisations whilst avoiding the need for the physical transfer of glass slides and the expense of employing locum doctors or external reporting agencies.

Dr Jonathan Bury, Clinical Lead of Histopathology at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Hull Hospitals NHS Trust and Phillips to transform the way histopathology services will be delivered in the future. The EASY Path enables a sustainable and transformative collaboration between NHS organisations, benefitting hospitals and patients and offers a flexible alternative to the expensive physical co-location of laboratories, for the benefit of millions of patients in East and South Yorkshire.”

Dr Branko Perunovic, Clinical Director of Laboratory Medicine at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been working on developing this innovative solution for 18 months and so we are delighted to now to be working with Hull Hospitals NHS Trust and Phillips to transform the way histopathology services will be delivered in the future. The new way of working which is called EASY Path uses digital technology to help hospitals work together and get maximum benefits from expert pathology specialists which are limited in number without having to have them all located in one place.

"EASY Path is set to benefit millions of patients in East and South Yorkshire but our system can also be available to other Trusts across the NHS because it uses digital technology and so it does not need Trusts to be located close to each other. Results can be processed very quickly because we do not need to wait for traditional glass slides to be transported to the appropriate specialist either. They are simply sent over a secure digital network in seconds.

Dr Anne Campbell, Clinical Director for Pathology at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be working collaboratively with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on this exciting and innovative project. Our aim is to provide our patients and their doctors with access to a more sustainable specialist diagnostic histopathology service now and in the years to come.”

Russ Granzow, General Manager of Philips Digital Pathology Solutions, said: “Digital pathology enables a new way of working for NHS organisations that benefits hospitals and patients. The EASY Path system offers a flexible alternative to the physical co-location of laboratories, helping match demand with capacity through shared diagnostic resources and cross-site workload improving clinical outcomes, efficiency and resilience of histopathology services.”

The Philips IntelliSite Pathology Solution is an open platform that integrates ultra-fast slide scanners, an image management system and web-based pathology case viewer, enables images scanned at one laboratory to be instantly examined and diagnosed by pathologists at another laboratory.

ENDS

Photo: L-R: Dr Branko Perunovic and Dr Jonathan Bury from Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust with the new EASY Path system.
 

MEDIA CONTACT:
Claudia Blake, Communications Specialist
Tel: 0114 226 5033
Email: claudia.blake@sth.nhs.uk
 

 



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