New digital lab technology promises quicker results for patients

May 21 2020

(ENGLEWOOD, COLO.) Centura Health, the region’s largest health system, is currently one of a small group of hospital systems nationwide working to implement a fully digital solution for studying the minute structure of human tissues and organs (histology) and the changes in body tissue caused by disease (pathology).

Centura has begun installing digital pathology technology across our connected ecosystem for surgical specimen diagnosis. The histology labs at Centura’s Penrose Hospital and St. Anthony Hospital will be the first to perform ultra-fast scanning of slide specimens for allCentura facilities.  When fully implemented, microscopic tissue evaluation on glass slides will be replaced with digital images in approximately 95% of all cases. This new computer-based technology will provide efficiencies to pathologists by shortening test result turnaround time, and it will help expand telehealth initiatives that are so critical now as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues.

With digital pathology in place, images are available for viewing immediatelyafter scanning, and Centura expects a 10 percent or more decrease in turnaround time for surgical pathology. This quicker turnaround time allows for an earlier diagnosis for patients, and their doctors are then able to offer them swift treatment options after their surgery or procedure.

“Always seeking ways to improve how we work, Centura recognized the potential of this technology and adopted it to increase efficiencies, enabling our pathologists to evaluate data rapidly and collaborate with each other remotely,” said Paula Livingston, Vice President of Laboratory Operations, Centura Health. “While still maintaining a pathologist onsite, this technology of the future will allow us to provide data back to physicians quicker, so they have the information necessary to deliver the highest degree of whole person care for their patients.”

This advanced scanning capability converts glass microscope slides into high-resolution, digitized whole slide images that pathologists at any Centura location can use to determine primary diagnoses and review immunohistochemistry. Microscopes only need to be used now for exception cases.

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Centura Health connects individuals, families and neighborhoods across Colorado and western Kansas with more than 6,000 physicians and 21,000 of the best hearts and minds in health care. Through our 17 hospitals, two senior living communities, neighborhood health centers, physician practices and clinics, home care and hospice services, and Flight For Life® Colorado, our caregivers make the region’s best health care accessible. We’re on a mission to build flourishing communities and whole person care. We’re Centura Health, and we’re your dedicated health partner for life. For information on Centura Health or any of the facilities in our network, please visit the Centura Health website.

Wendy Forbes

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