Role of digital pathology in diagnostic histopathology in the response to COVID-19: results from a survey of experience in a UK tertiary referral hospital.
Browning L., Fryer E., Roskell D., White K., Colling R., Rittscher J., Verrill C.
The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our diagnostic services at a time when many histopathology departments already faced a diminishing workforce and increasing workload. Digital pathology (DP) has been hailed as a potential solution to at least some of the challenges faced. We present a survey of pathologists within a UK National Health Service cellular pathology department with access to DP, in which we ascertain the role of DP in clinical services during this current pandemic and explore challenges encountered. This survey indicates an increase in uptake of diagnostic DP during this period, with increased remote access. Half of respondents agreed that DP had facilitated maintenance of diagnostic practice. While challenges have been encountered, these are remediable, and none have impacted on the uptake of DP during this period. We conclude that in our institution, DP has demonstrated current and future potential to increase resilience in diagnostic practice and have highlighted some of the challenges that need to be considered.