Last December I wrote an entry on this web log titled Enterprise PACS where I mentioned all the different ‘ologys’ using PACS to enhance service delivery. Well now you can officially add Pathology to the PACS Enterprise.
New companys like Omnyx - http://www.omnyxpath.com, a joint venture between GE Healthcare and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) are developing digital solutions focused on Pathology. Soon Pathology records, slide images and lab results will be among the plethora of diagnostic information available via the PACS. Pathologists review dozens of slides and lab results daily. Applying PACS technology and workflow to Pathology processes will produce the same operational efficiencies recognized in Radiology and Cardiology.
Digital storage and review of Pathology data is not a new concept but this is usually done on a separate non-DICOM system independent from the traditional PACS. There are a few Pathology specific digital review systems available but they are stand-alone and lack PACS capabilities like LAN/WAN connectivity, enterprise clinical systems integration and shared workflow.
To my knowledge none of the major PACS include Pathology centric tools or processes, this will surely change. Pathology departments will want to take advantage of the existing standards and architecture used by the PACS. To further optimize Pathology services specialized features and functionality will need to be built into the PACS. It’s only a matter of time and demand until more PACS vendors are offering an integrated Pathology module or add-on Pathology Management System.