HSC Digital Pathology Project

HSC Digital Pathology Project 

Update: 29 October 2021

Welcome to the Digital Pathology Project 

The implementation of Digital Pathology has transformed the service and current practise of examining tissue samples using light microscopes to diagnose illness such as cancer. Digital Pathology captures a digital image of the glass slides and these are stored securely and safely in the current NIPACS Imaging Solution and these are viewed for reporting by pathologists using dedicated software on diagnostic workstations. 

Northern Ireland is an early adopter of Digital Pathology and the first in the UK to implement this as an Enterprise Imaging service to include Radiology and Digital Pathology within the same system, providing benefits to Staff, the Service and most importantly service users.

Benefits include a single regional view of all histopathology imaging accessible from anywhere within the HSC, faster and more accurate measurements and quantifications, digital enhancement of image features and improved training and research capability.

Two significant strategic objectives provided the catalyst to introduce Digital Pathology in Northern Ireland:

  1. The ‘Modernising HSC Pathology Services – Proposals for Change’ (November 2016) 
  2. ‘National Pathology Assurance Quality Review ‘(2014) both advocated the benefits of adopting a Digitised Pathology service. This, in addition to the recognition by local Clinical champions helped to drive the implementation of Digital Pathology in HSC.

Digital Pathology has now been successfully implemented in all four Cellular Pathology laboratories across HSC, Altnagelvin, Antrim, Belfast and Craigavon. This is a significant achievement by BSO, HSC staff and the regional Pathology Network.

The move to Digital Pathology is the most significant change in Cellular Pathology for over 150 years, it allows for new ways of working, and opens the doors into AI and Machine Learning which was not possible before.’ (Robbie Wilson, Discipline Manager, Institute of Pathology, Belfast Trust)