Journal of Pathology Informatics Journal of Pathology Informatics
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 32

What is essential is (no more) invisible to the eyes: The introduction of blocdoc in the digital pathology workflow

1 Department of Medicine and Surgery, Pathology, ASST Monza, University of Milano-Bicocca, Monza, Italy
2 Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Advanced Technologies, “G.F. Ingrassia”, Anatomic Pathology, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
3 Department of Pathology, “Gravina” Hospital, Caltagirone, Italy

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Filippo Fraggetta
Pathology Unit, Via Portosalvo, 1, 95041, Caltagirone
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpi.jpi_35_21

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Background: The implementation of a fully digital workflow in any anatomic pathology department requires a complete conversion to a tracked system. Ensuring the strict correspondence of the material submitted for the analysis, from the accessioning to the reporting phase, is mandatory in the anatomic pathology laboratory, especially when implementing the digital pathology for primary histological diagnosis. The proposed solutions, up to now, rely on the verification that all the materials present in the glass slide are also present in the whole slide images (WSIs). Although different methods have already been implemented for this purpose (e.g., the “macroimage” of the digital slide, representing the overview of the glass slide), the recent introduction of a device to capture the cut surface of paraffin blocks put the quality control of the digital workflow a step forward, allowing to match the digitized slide with the corresponding block. This system may represent a reliable, easy-to-use alternative to further reduce tissue inconsistencies between material sent to the lab and the final glass slides or WSIs. Methods: The Anatomic Pathology of the Gravina Hospital in Caltagirone, Sicily, Italy, has implemented the application of the BlocDoc devices (SPOT Imaging, Sterling Heights, USA) in its digital workflow. The instruments were positioned next to every microtome/sectioning station, with the possibility to capture the “normal” and the polarized image of the cut surface of the blocks directly by the technician. The presence of a monitor in the BlocDoc device allowed the technician to check the concordance between the cut surface of the block and the material on the corresponding slide. The link between BlocDoc and the laboratory information system, through the presence of the 2D barcode, allowed the pathologists to access the captured image of the cut surface of the block at the pathologist workstation, thus enabling the direct comparison between this image and the WSI (thumbnail and “macroimage”). Results: During the implementation period, more than 10.000 (11.248) blocks were routinely captured using the BlocDoc. The employment of this approach allowed a drastic reduction of the discordances and tissue inconsistencies. The implementation of the BlocDoc in the routine allowed the detection of two different types of “errors,” the so-called “systematic” and “occasional” ones. The first type was intrinsic of some specific specimens (e.g., transurethral resection of the prostate, nasal polypectomies, and piecemeal uterine myomectomies) characterized by the three-dimensional nature of the fragments and affected almost 100% of these samples. On the other hand, the “occasional” errors, mainly due to inexperience or extreme caution of the technicians in handling tiny specimens, affected 98 blocks (0.9%) of these samples and progressively reduced with the rising confidence with the BlocDoc. One of these cases was clinically relevant. No problems in the recognition of the 2D barcodes were encountered using a laser cassette printer. Finally, rare failures have been recorded during the period, accounting for <0.1% of all the cases, mainly due to network connection issues. Conclusions: The implementation of BlocDoc can further improve the effectiveness of the digital workflow, demonstrating its safety and robustness as a valid alternative to the traditional, nontracked analogic workflow.

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