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J Pathol Inform. 2017 Dec 19;8:51. doi: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_58_17. eCollection 2017.

Routine Digital Pathology Workflow: The Catania Experience.

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Pathology Unit, Cannizzaro Hospital, Catania, Italy.
Division of Anatomic Pathology and Histology, School of Medicine, "Agostino Gemelli", Rome, Italy.
Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



Successful implementation of whole slide imaging (WSI) for routine clinical practice has been accomplished in only a few pathology laboratories worldwide. We report the transition to an effective and complete digital surgical pathology workflow in the pathology laboratory at Cannizzaro Hospital in Catania, Italy.


All (100%) permanent histopathology glass slides were digitized at ×20 using Aperio AT2 scanners. Compatible stain and scanning slide racks were employed to streamline operations. eSlide Manager software was bidirectionally interfaced with the anatomic pathology laboratory information system. Virtual slide trays connected to the two-dimensional (2D) barcode tracking system allowed pathologists to confirm that they were correctly assigned slides and that all tissues on these glass slides were scanned.


Over 115,000 glass slides were digitized with a scan fail rate of around 1%. Drying glass slides before scanning minimized them sticking to scanner racks. Implementation required introduction of a 2D barcode tracking system and modification of histology workflow processes.


Our experience indicates that effective adoption of WSI for primary diagnostic use was more dependent on optimizing preimaging variables and integration with the laboratory information system than on information technology infrastructure and ensuring pathologist buy-in. Implementation of digital pathology for routine practice not only leveraged the benefits of digital imaging but also creates an opportunity for establishing standardization of workflow processes in the pathology laboratory.


Digital pathology; informatics; pathology; whole slide imaging; workflow

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