Digital pathology access and usage in the UK: results from a national survey on behalf of the National Cancer Research Institute’s CM-Path initiative

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AimTo canvass the UK pathology community to ascertain current levels of digital pathology usage in clinical and academic histopathology departments, and prevalent attitudes to digital pathology.MethodsA 15-item survey was circulated to National Health Service and academic pathology departments across the UK using the SurveyMonkey online survey tool. Responses were sought at a departmental or institutional level. Where possible, departmental heads were approached and asked to complete the survey, or forward it to the most relevant individual in their department. Data were collected over a 6-month period from February to July 2017.Results41 institutes from across the UK responded to the survey. 60% (23/39) of institutions had access to a digital pathology scanner, and 60% (24/40) had access to a digital pathology workstation. The most popular applications of digital pathology in current use were undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, research and quality assurance. Investigating the deployment of digital pathology in their department was identified as a high or highest priority by 58.5% of institutions, with improvements in efficiency, turnaround times, reporting times and collaboration in their institution anticipated by the respondents. Access to funding for initial hardware, software and staff outlay, pathologist training and guidance from the Royal College of Pathologists were identified as factors that could enable respondent institutions to increase their digital pathology usage.ConclusionInterest in digital pathology adoption in the UK is high, with usage likely to increase in the coming years. In light of this, pathologists are seeking more guidance on safe usage.

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