The State of the Art in Pathology: Introducing Synapse Pathology

AUTHOR: Mark Lloyd, vice president of Pathology, FUJIFILM Healthcare Americas Corporation

The practice of pathology is a critical element in any healthcare system. In fact, 70% of all healthcare decisions related to diagnosis and treatment are estimated to require pathology.1 Unfortunately, pathology groups continue to struggle with the day-to-day operations of analog workflows. We move glass slides from location to location via shipping and couriers. We have difficulty collaborating with peers unless we can be in the same room. Sharing with subspecialty experts can be logistically challenging. And technical solutions and change management can be intimidating.

Decades ago, IT groups successfully helped departments such as radiology overcome the barriers of working with physical materials. Following the introduction of the PACS concept in the early 1980s, these systems reached a stage of maturity that facilitated radiology workflows, electronic image integration with hospital systems, remote access, and the elimination of hard-copy materials.

There is not a better time in pathology than now to introduce Fujifilm’s Pathology PACS. FUJIFILM Healthcare Americas Corporation leverages the company’s 90+ years of imaging expertise to provide fully integrated informatics in healthcare. With Synapse® Pathology, we’ve expanded our Enterprise Imaging suite to include pathology. Digital pathology solutions began to emerge in the early 2000s and have evolved over the decades to include each of the core functions of any PACS: workflow, image viewing, and remote access.

The key attributes of our pathology PACS are the ingestion and streaming of pathology images coupled with relevant clinical information to render a diagnosis. Fujifilm has focused on a detailed pathology workflow, including deep laboratory information system (LIS) integration coupled with whole-slide images. We have leveraged our knowledge of cloud solutions, DICOM standards, connections between imaging systems (Synapse PACS), and image lifecycle management technologies (Synapse VNA) to help the pathology field advance. These IT-focused additions to a feature-rich pathologist workflow have resulted in the most flexible and cost-effective solution for your organization’s digital pathology transformation.

Synapse Cloud Services combined with our pathology PACS may be an optimal solution to facilitate adaptable, HIPAA-compliant, secure cloud infrastructure for digital pathology deployments. It is an optional, cost-effective alternative to facilities’ on-premise infrastructure. The solution is customized specifically for pathology, including requisite data storage options.

Speaking of storage, data storage is an important consideration in pathology, primarily because the file size of each whole-slide image is typically larger than 1 GB, and deployments with rich repositories often grow to include multiple petabytes of data. The Synapse Pathology solution includes file size optimization tools that can reduce the required file size by up to 25%. As we continue to bring our enterprise imaging expertise to pathology, the file migration and image lifecycle management tools in Synapse VNA bring even more value.

Another important consideration is access to pathology algorithms that are critical in enabling AI workflows. We use the Synapse AI Orchestrator to connect images and information in our system to our partners for dozens of AI use cases. The algorithms we own, TissueSync® and TissueDirect®, are navigational and unique to Fujifilm. Our system has the benefit of a Synapse Gateway connecting Synapse Pathology to other systems for imaging AI, business analytics, file anonymization, and file standardization.

When we talk digital pathology, it is important to note that file types are increasingly becoming standardized as DICOM files as defined by the Pathology Working Group 26 with support from Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (PaLM). Synapse Pathology supports ingestion and viewing of proprietary and DICOM files. Fujifilm remains an active contributor in efforts related to file standardization in pathology.

In summary, the Pathology PACS from Fujifilm addresses several important IT considerations for pathology practices. To help you and the patients you serve, we invite you to find your Digital Advantage in the IT-focused value proposition of Synapse Pathology by Fujifilm. Visit us here to learn more about our product, find us at upcoming events, or contact us to schedule a demonstration for your organization.

1. Badrick T. Evidence-based laboratory medicine. Clin Biochem Rev. 2013 Aug;34(2):43-6. PMID: 24151340; PMCID: PMC3799218.