Last week, I attended the Pathology Informatics Summit 2015 in Pittsburgh, a conference that brings together hundreds of the leading informatics experts of the pathology world. The stated objectives of the conference were to:
- Present practical and emerging solutions for automated information and image management in pathology and the clinical laboratories.
- Describe how workflow in the clinical laboratories and pathology can be supported and enhanced by new software and hardware solutions.
- Understand the various software and hardware products available in the clinical laboratory and pathology market by interacting with a large number of exhibitors.
- Present new research in pathology informatics on the basis of submitted competitive scientific abstracts.
- Provide a forum for basic pathology informatics instruction for house officers and fellows in pathology training programs.
At Voicebrook, our management team is tasked with developing a new organization-wide theme for every quarter. This quarter, our theme is #Connect. This theme is intended to bring additional focus to connect with our clients, future clients, employees, and Pathology industry partners. The Pathology Informatics Summit was perfectly aligned to help us do this. As a solution provider in this space, I find the presentations and posters fascinating. I also value the intangibles that are not stated anywhere in the program materials. Specifically, the connections and re-connections that we make at events like this. Here are some examples...
Brainstorming with Industry Experts
Over the three days I was there, I was able to connect with colleagues that I have known for the better part of ten years – and to make some new connections. Over lunch and in hallways, discussing research interests with Pathologists sparked new ideas about potential product features, interesting ways to use our current solutions to solve problems we hadn’t considered, ways to change up our service and support delivery, and much more. Some of these conversations were with long-time colleagues, others were with someone I had just met at a lunch table.
This is the second time the Association for Pathology Informatics has formally showcased “international pathology informatics achievements and issues, through a 2nd World Congress on Pathology Informatics” (WCPI). I was not able to attend any of the early WCPI sessions, but I did enjoy meeting up with a Pathologist from Australia, and had a chance to compare our workflow automation experiences. Post-conference, I am looking forward to reviewing the WCPI materials, particularly addressing “the role of laboratory medicine and its informatics in the ‘disruption’ of healthcare.”
Posters and Sessions
I have been attending the Pathology Informatics Summit (and its various predecessors) for most of the past decade. It is great to see a committed team of leaders who have continued to expand the field of Pathology Informatics. This year, I sat in on sessions or read posters covering interesting content on Pathology resident training, inclusion of new data types (and parsing techniques) into Pathology reports, and continued advancement of digital pathology. One moment that really stood out for me was during a talk by Dr. Tuthill on the state of automation, in which he polled the audience to see how many people were NOT using barcode-driven workflow. Out of an audience of more than a hundred, 4 or 5 hands went up. Only a few years ago, half the hands in that room would have been raised.
Relationships, Old & New
As we were setting up our table, one of our colleagues made a beeline over to us (I think she was floating on air, actually) to announce her retirement after 25 years. We reminisced a bit, wished each other the best, and promised to stay in touch.
The next morning, one of our longest-standing customers told us he is starting a Pathology Informatics practice in a new institution. I am sure we will reconnect once he is established.
Later that day, I met a new manager at a company I have worked with over many years. She mentioned that she was new to Pathology and we had some discussion about Pathology workflow, specifically how our respective solutions are used in the field. Her predecessor (also recently retired) had been very helpful to me on many occasions, clarifying some specific workflow concepts and making introductions to other vendors and customers. I was extremely happy to provide some insight to the new manager at this company, remembering the generosity of her predecessor, and I look forward to working with her in the future.
I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to meet up with so many experts in Pathology Informatics, to reconnect and make new connections. As I debrief this week with the rest of our team who were not able to attend the conference, I’m already looking forward to Pathology Informatics Summit 2016!
For more information on the Pathology Informatics Summit, see: http://www.pathologyinformatics.com/content/overview
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