Improving pathology services through a digital partnership

Offering improved cancer diagnosis processes in the face of increased pressures and workloads is a huge challenge for NHS laboratories. Here Daniel Plews of Roche Diagnostics UK and Ireland, explains how pioneering digital pathology in partnership with the NHS is helping to meet that challenge.

Cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death worldwide, accounting for nearly one-in-six deaths in 2020.1 The numbers continue to increase year on year, exacerbated by the unprecedented backlog of cancer cases which have gone untreated or undetected due to the disruptions to healthcare services at the height of COVID-19.

We are also seeing an increase in complexity when it comes to diagnosing cancer cases. Many of the latest and greatest cancer treatments are linked to companion diagnostic tests, requiring a positive result before the drug can be administered, and the scoring of these tests can often be very complex and time consuming.

As the demand on pathologists increases, we’re seeing their numbers decrease year on year, in some part due to an ageing pathologist population reaching retirement. Virtually all histology laboratories in the UK say they do not have enough staff to meet demand with nearly half of pathology laboratories having to send work away.2 

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