College of American Pathologists
Printable Version






February 2011

Raymond D. Aller, MD
Hal Weiner

CAP diagnostic workstation: a work in progress on many fronts CAP diagnostic workstation: a work in progress on many fronts

It’s an educational tool for now, but the CAP’s new diagnostic workstation, a heterogeneous, vendor-neutral prototype, may well morph into much more in due time.

The College sees the workstation as an opportunity to bring into the pathology field tools similar to those used in radiology and cardiology for the past 15 years, says Jim MacDonald, medical imaging technology consultant for the CAP. “We provide our members, and pathologists in general, with something tactile,” he says.

Built around a three-monitor display, the workstation—developed by the CAP SNOMED Terminology Solutions Division’s Diagnostic Intelligence and Health Information Technology, or DIHIT, group—consolidates and displays clinical, imaging, and research information in a single environment.

The platform provides access to electronic health records and online resources and features digital imaging, structured pathology reporting, and clinical decision support. Users can consult with colleagues worldwide in real time.

Pathologists’ reactions to the features of the product are being collected and relayed to a dozen vendors, including the whole-slide imaging companies Aperio, Ventana, and Olympus, for use in their digital pathology endeavors. This is a unique process, MacDonald says. “It’s supporting the outside vendors, while at the same time gaining the input from our [member] pathol-ogists—what they like, and what they don’t like.”

“It all goes back to a more thorough and quantitative diagnosis for the patient,” he explains. “If you had to design this [workstation], how can we better help you facilitate what you need? It’s a prototype—vendors can develop products off it based on their reactions. It’s constantly evolving.”

But early on, the evolution process received mixed reviews. When the DIHIT committee first previewed the prototype in March 2009, the concept received a range of reactions, recalls MacDonald. “Some [pathologists] said, ‘This is exactly what we need. Where can I write the check?’ Others said, ‘Out of my cold, dead hands are you going to pry my microscope away from me.’ You’re going to get some of that. You’re going to get both sides of the spectrum. But a majority of them are excited and looking forward to working with it.”

The prototype can be integrated with picture archiving and communication systems and has already been integrated with ScImage’s PACS, so it cross-pollinates with platforms for radiologists and cardiologists, MacDonald says. “It gives [pathologists] another tool in their arsenal that they don’t currently have,” he adds. “If you look at a bulls-eye and the center is the radiologist and cardiologist with their neat tools and technology to help them make their diagnosis—pathologists are the outer rings. The diagnostic workstation will level the playing field.”

In addition to giving pathologists the tools to more easily make a diagnosis, the workstation will allow them to seek secondary patient consultations with specialists. “That can be done as fast as an e-mail, and you can have a response back instantaneously, or you can participate in consultations in real time via video conferencing,” MacDonald says.

The workstation too opens the door to the “onshoring” of pathology work from such countries as India, China, and Russia, he continues, and can help hospitals in rural areas of the United States that lack the full range of medical specialties.

“It can also be used by universities, tumor boards, and other entities for training and consultations,” MacDonald says. “The new technology would make it much easier for the pathologist to participate with the primary care team on grand rounds and participate in tumor boards. Currently, radiologists come in with digital slides, and pathologists are still using PowerPoints. This would help with the transformation of pathology.”

NetLims releases update to AutoLims laboratory system NetLims releases update to AutoLims laboratory system

NetLims NJ, LLC, has introduced AutoLims version 3.3.

This latest release of the company’s laboratory information system includes an enhanced interface engine for easier and faster integration with third-party systems and electronic medical record systems.

A redesigned order history window “provides dynamic, multi-level views into the patient, requisition, and sample audit trail, thereby allowing users to easily locate changes of interest,” says Gonen Ziv, chief operating officer of NetLims. “In addition to expanding the multi-site capabilities of AutoLims in this new version, we moved all of the HL7 interface controls and settings into our AutoManager module and added a dashboard view for interface activity.”

AutoLims version 3.3 also includes a simplified reporting database with synchronization tools to provide updates from the production database.

NetLims NJ, LLC
Phone: 866-638-5467

bullet Data Innovations offering new version of middleware

Data Innovations has released Instrument Manager version 8.11. This latest release of the company’s middleware system includes enhancements to the product’s specimen-management features and a redesigned status display.

New specimen-management functionality allows users to initiate actions on select groups of rows when the grouping feature is enabled. It also permits users to create shortcut buttons for workspaces and apply color coding per workspace, rather than systemwide.

The redesigned status display window features connection information in a grid that is grouped by type of connection. It offers configurable toolbars as well.

Data Innovations
Phone: 802-658-2850

Federal agency to track health care information technology trends Federal agency to track health care information technology trends

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released plans to collect information about health care information technology trends to help federal agencies stay abreast of potential breakthroughs in health care delivery.

The ONC, which operates under the Department of Health and Human Services, plans to partner with health care IT experts, innovators, and developers to identify emerging trends in the health care technology field. The office will update HHS agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, on health IT developments that may support broader adoption of health care information technology and meaningful use.

The health care IT industry is developing a range of technological approaches, HHS reported on the Web site Federal Business Opportunities. “Some of these will quickly disappear from the marketplace; others will precipitate modest changes; a few will have revolutionary impact,” the announcement said. “One thing in this field is certain: The technology of 2015 will be very different from that available today.”

Software for migrating to ICD-10 codes Software for migrating to ICD-10 codes

Connect: The Knowledge Network is marketing ICD 10 Neutralizer. The software allows health care organizations to fully migrate to ICD-10 codes in their own time frame yet meet the federal compliance deadline that requires health care providers to use the new codes by October 2013.

“Because it is a near certainty that not all organizations will meet the 2013 deadline, most health care organizations will need a strategy to manage both code sets [ICD-9 and ICD-10] simultaneously for many years,” the company reports.

ICD 10 Neutralizer translates ICD-10 codes into ICD-9 codes and into ICD-9 codes with appropriate ICD-10 codes for legacy information systems. This allows legacy systems to continue handling information necessary for processing business transactions in a manner that is consistent with their internal business processes, as well as in accordance with the stipulations of the federal deadline, in advance of a provider’s complete transition to ICD-10.

Key characteristics of ICD 10 Neutralizer include reverse look-up (from ICD-10 to ICD-9), forward look-up (from ICD-9 to ICD-10), custom mappings between ICD-9 and ICD-10, trend analysis and reporting, and the ability to manage user mappings and display statistics in various formats, such as three-dimensional pie charts and bar charts. The product contains different types of mappings, mapping reports, and claim reports.

Connect: The Knowledge Network
Phone: 303-730-7171

New Keane contract announced New Keane contract announced

Chadron (Neb.) Community Hospital has contracted to install Keane’s Optimum clinical/financial information system, which includes a laboratory application.

Phone: 877-885-3263

Dr. Aller is director of informatics in the Department of Pathology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He can be reached at Hal Weiner is president of Weiner Consulting Services, LLC, Florence, Ore. He can be reached at