Integrated diagnostics - A trouble-free collaboration between diagnostic specialists
The diagnosis of cancer is constantly becoming more complex and requires increased collaboration

Message from our sponsor: Sectra Denmark

The diagnosis of cancer is constantly becoming more complex and requires increased collaboration and sharing of patient data between specializations. A platform is required that allows for multidisciplinary collaboration and integrated diagnostic procedures which, in particular, seems important in the field of cancer treatment.

Multidisciplinary team meetings, also called MDT meetings, where radiologists, pathologists and other specialists meet to diagnose and determine the patient's further course of treatment, is a cornerstone of the cancer investigation, and the practice of having such meetings increases strongly. Several recent studies show a clear picture that MDT meetings provide significant value for patient diagnosis and treatment.

"MDT meetings are expensive to hold and there are major challenges in making both the preparations and the actual meetings effective. A common IT platform for radiology and pathology images, as well as reports, not only increases efficiency but also improves information sharing, enables the team to get faster into the diagnostic process while reducing the risk of errors, "says Sune Mark Henriksen, CEO of Sectra Denmark. "Radiologists may benefit from seeing pathology images and results and vice versa. In a common platform, images from pathology, radiology, nuclear medicine, etc. are gathered in the same viewer to create a complete diagnostic overview without having to switch between programs. "

A new system with many advantages
Both IT and health professionals focus on the question of what benefits the new system can offer that the old cannot. "One of the biggest benefits of using a common platform for radiology and pathology is in preparation for the MDT meeting. For the pathologist traditional preparation can be very time consuming as it includes a manual selection of appropriate glass and the transport of glass to the meeting. The preparations often involve both the pathologist and a secretary. The need to send glass always poses a risk that the glass will be lost, destroyed, etc. When using digital images, these risks are minimized. Using a digital pathology solution, images can be added to a scheduled meeting in conjunction with the review instead of afterwards. The digital preparation process also means that a study can be sent to a colleague via a link to request an opinion or communicate with the radiologist to order an additional biopsy before the meeting itself, for example, if the biopsy is not taken in the correct place. In addition, images may be prepared to be presented in a particular way at the specific meeting. At present, the exchange of information between the two groups is limited by the lack of common workflows and IT infrastructure. IT systems are usually completely different," says Sune Mark Henriksen, continuing: "At the MDT meeting, you also notice the benefits of a common platform and especially the digital pathology solution. Images can easily be found without physically moving slides or manually navigating in a slideshow. It can also take a long time to find certain functions on glass rails. With a common image management platform, you can access all prepared images and documents by logging into either the PACS of the radiology or the digital pathology solution, and easily navigate around the patient's different images."

Increased value for the patient
The one standing to gain the most with the introduction of a common platform is the patient. "Full digital MDT meetings can increase efficiency and allow more patients to be investigated at these meetings. By using a common platform for both radiology and pathology, hospitals can reduce the time needed for both preparation and presentation. Increased and improved collaboration between disciplines is an expected result both before and during the meeting, which leads to a faster and more accurate diagnosis and treatment of the patient," says Sune Mark Henriksen. "The more efficient workflows also give economic benefits. Among other things, the handling of glass for pathologists is minimized and no physical units need to be viewed to view image material.

With integrated diagnostics we can streamline the diagnosis of, among other things, cancer and create a more complete picture of the patient on the way through the health system. The common platform is a big change in the daily workflows, but it's also a great opportunity."

Fact box: What is integrated diagnostics?
Integrated diagnostics are defined as a smooth collaboration between diagnostic specialists with the aim of reducing time and costs involved in diagnostic processes, as well as providing practical and useful results to clinicians. As pathology is about to be digitized, all the necessary technology to realize integrated diagnostics is now available.