The Royal Oldham Hospital goes live with digital image tech for biopsies

The Royal Oldham Hospital goes live with digital image tech for biopsies
Image provided by Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust

The Royal Oldham Hospital is the first pathology laboratory in Greater Manchester to use digital images for biopsies, with the aim of speeding up test results and treatment.

It went live with the technology in May 2024, which involves the scanning of traditional glass slides so they can be viewed as an image rather than through a microscope to provide a diagnosis for patients.

Using digital pathology, results can be shared securely between hospital experts across the network, replacing the need to transport glass slide samples between hospitals and enabling a faster turnaround time for test results and treatment starting sooner.

Amanda Ogden, service manager at the cellular pathology and mortuary service at the Royal Oldham Hospital, said that digital pathology would “revolutionise” how the service works and “ultimately lead to a quicker turnaround in testing and treatment for the patients”.

“It really is a gamechanger for colleagues working in our labs who do a tremendous job,” she said.

Led by the Greater Manchester Pathology Network, the use of digital images for biopsies at the trust is the culmination of 15 months of work since its digital pathology programme began.

The team at the Royal Oldham Hospital, part of the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, have opted to prioritise bladder, colonic and duodenal biopsies to enable all consultant histopathologists and trainees to complete the required training to report digitally and safely.

Greater Manchester Diagnostics Network programme lead Beth Tumilty added: “Oldham pathology are the trailblazers within the GM Pathology network, and I am excited to continue with the team on this journey to achieve optimisation of the system.

“This new technology will enhance resilience, maintain high standards of diagnostic accuracy and improve overall patient outcomes with faster treatment turnaround times.”

There are further plans to expand the roll out of digital pathology across Greater Manchester, with the laboratory at Salford Royal Hospital soon to follow as part of a programme that will see all seven laboratories across the region implement digital pathology by 2025.

Pathology services across south east London were this month disrupted following a major cyber attack on system provider Synnovis.

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