A West Midlands trust has digitised its pathology processes, allowing its medical staff to view samples and slides in high resolution on computer screens from any location.

The system has been introduced by University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust, in coordination with Coventry and Warwickshire Pathology services.

Previously, pathologists had to travel to labs on different sites or wait for sample slides to be delivered. This delayed diagnosis and increased the risk of slides being damaged or lost.

Under the new system, tissues are processed onto slides and scanned into a computer system, allowing them to be viewed quickly from different locations and simultaneously by different pathologists for second opinions.

The trust says this will improve accuracy and speed up diagnosis for patients, with pathologists able to assess 10 per cent more cases.

It is also hoped that computer-aided algorithms can be designed to assist tasks currently carried out by eye and to spot patterns and variances in samples.

The trust, CWPS, an GE Healthcare – which provides the system with UPMC – and the University of Warwick are developing a digital pathology centre of excellence for this purpose.

Trust chief executive Andy Hardy said: “Digital images may have become part of everyday life but for pathology the technology was never at the level we needed.”

“It is ready now… This is a world class piece of technology making a difference to patients locally.”