Table 1

Financial benefits of digital pathology

Area of financial benefitExplanation
Delayed workforce expansionIncreases in pathologist productivity offsetting pressures to expand existing pathologist workforce
Reduced staff travel costsAbility for consultants to work at a distance from the laboratory, at multiple sites
Delayed laboratory workforce expansionLess time spent assembling and filing cases for MDT review, packing and dispatching cases for external review, retrieving slides from archives, chasing missing slides, recutting or restaining damaged slides
Savings on tissue/slide transfer between sitesPacking, postage, transport costs eliminated
Microscope/camera purchases and servicingRegular purchases of light microscopy equipment no longer necessary
Reduced archive retrieval costsManpower required reduced Allows for archival of slides away from the hospital site, in facilities with lower costs
Reduced financial penaltiesAvoidance of financial penalties related to cancer breeches relating to delays in obtaining pathological diagnosis
Reduced costs of referring work to commercial laboratory servicesDigital pathology allows formation of NHS networks of trusted diagnosticians to provide safe, timely diagnosis of backlogs
Reduced locum costsLocum pathologists are currently used by many institutions to cover short-term personnel deficits, for example, maternity leave, long-term sick leave, unexpected loss of staff. Improving capacity of existing pathology workforce with easy transfer of digital slides to sites with diagnostic capacity could reduce reliance of expensive locum cover
Potential income generationProvides the infrastructure for trusts to outsource expertise/capacity, both within regional networks, and on a national/international market
Time saved by consultant pathologistsPotential productivity improvements of 10%–15%22