Disruptive Digital Pathology


by Ken Powell, President, Genesis Business Development

In vitro diagnostics (IVDs) are essential to health care delivery. Over 70% of all clinical decisions are based on an IVD result. While clinical diagnostic tests yield qualitative or quantitative results with corresponding normal ranges, anatomical pathology results produce a diagnosis, which is usually associated with cancer. Anatomical pathologists microscopically evaluate a variety of tissue specimens and digital pathology solutions are transforming traditional anatomical pathology labs. The market for digital pathology is expected to grow at a 12% current annual growth rate through 2022, offering agile investors several new investment opportunities.


Digital pathology solutions are composed of scanners, software, communication and storage systems. These components taken together can obsolete the traditional anatomical microscope, glass slides, and physical storage and allow pathologists to work smarter and faster on a global basis. Digital pathology can also enable telemedicine diagnostics, making available the top pathologists in their fields to review and consult on cases anywhere, anytime. Unlike glass slides that are prone to damage and loss, digital images are easily shared between sites through the internet. Digital pathology telemedicine also addresses the shortage of pathologists in developing countries. Both of the leading US commercial reference labs (Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp) have significant anatomical pathology services and along with the providers of digital pathology systems, will transform how tissue samples are cost-effectively and accurately analyzed in a streamlined workflow.


Digital pathology is very likely to permanently change the anatomical pathology landscape, particularly for “pod labs” that are physician owned anatomical pathology groups that evaluate referred biopsies. Third-party payers, both public and private will look to faster, more economical digital pathology providers as opposed to traditional anatomical pathology services. These may be large hospitals, university hospitals, CRLs and new emerging telemedicine groups. Several companies offer and/or are developing digital pathology solutions and offer investment opportunities to participate in this new, disruptive technology.


Please note: This article contains the sole views and opinions of Ken Powell and does not reflect the views or opinions of Guidepoint Global, LLC (“Guidepoint”). Guidepoint is not a registered investment adviser and cannot transact business as an investment adviser or give investment advice. The information provided in this article is not intended to constitute investment advice, nor is it intended as an offer or solicitation of an offer or a recommendation to buy, hold or sell any security. Any use of this article without the express written consent of Guidepoint and Ken Powell is prohibited.


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