News, NHS trust

Calderdale and Huddersfield goes live on NPIC digital pathology platform

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has gone live with the national pathology imaging co-operative (NPIC) digital pathology platform, the “high-capacity pathology image repository and exchange system”.

By joining the platform the trust aims to improve pathology services and outcomes, develop AI in pathology, and create a platform for research and innovation.

Implementation at Calderdale and Huddersfield has involved a variety of teams including clinical consultants, biomedical scientists, pathology, and IT services, with the trust referring to the implementation as a “significant step” in the digitisation of pathology services. It is expected that the platform will assist in reduction of waiting times along with supporting clinical decision-making, allowing digital images to be extracted and anonymised for research purposes and allowing testing of AI algorithms.

NPIC’s aim is for the network to grow to include over 40 NHS hospitals over the next two years, with “full digitisation” of three NHS pathology networks in the north of England, a national network for children’s cancer, and a national network for soft tissue and bone tumours. This will support the creation and storage of over 2.4 million pathology images, which NPIC says will cover “all specialties and stains”, with AI tools to be developed to “further modernise laboratories in England”.

Michelle McNamara, cellular pathology service manager at Calderdale and Huddersfield, has commented on the “potential for digital pathology to help reporting of cases, improving patient care as we can share the images electronically with other clinicians for MDT meetings, second opinions and educational purposes.”

In other news on digital pathology, the government has accepted the UK National Screening Committee’s finding that the use of digital pathology to examine body tissues is a “safe option to complement or replace light microscopy”, with further use of digital pathology encouraged across the NHS.

In trust news, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust has announced the introduction of a new patient engagement portal, to be delivered in partnership with DrDoctor and due to roll-out across the trust in March.