A digital asset in pathology research and education


MD Hannes Olauson from the Karolinska University Hospital talks about how the small Grundium Ocus is making a big difference in scanning slides, and he has an interesting view of the future of pathology and why medical innovation sometimes takes longer.

Digital Pathology in Sweden

Sweden is one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to digitalizing pathology. The University Hospital in the city of Linköping was the pioneer of digital pathology starting 15 years ago. Doctors graduate from a total of 7 sites in Sweden, and each site also teaches pathology. Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm installed high throughput scanners a few years back and are now scanning almost all clinical slides. Pathologists can choose whether to read on conventional microscopes or WSI. Most cases are still read on a conventional light microscope, but there is growing interest in going digital all the way.

A more flexible and affordable slide-scanning solution needed

The high throughput scanners at the hospital are also available for scanning slides for research purposes, but the process is costly and slow, as scans must be commissioned with a set fee per slide, and the clinical cases always have priority.

The Ocus makes scanning easier

Earlier this year, the Karolinska University Hospital received funding for the development of a database with Whole Slide Images (WSI) of different subspeciality cases aimed toward residents in training. A decision was made to purchase a Grundium Ocus® scanner. Karolinska Institutet has had a similar WSI database for two years as a tool for training undergraduates. Both databases are set up on the Aiforia AI platform.

Hannes says the small Ocus scanner has come in very well-received, and it is especially practical for scanning a few slides and discussing specimens for research or use in education. “The Ocus enables us to quickly and easily scan slides for research and education without the time-consuming and costly administrative process. We also now have full control over scanning and can easily change the settings if we’re not happy with the results. I would recommend the Ocus for smaller batches of slides where you want full control over the results. Hospitals that haven’t yet digitalized their workflow can benefit from an Ocus for remote consultation, frozen section, etc.” says Hannes. He continues with a story on the practicality and portability of the Ocus: “A colleague actually brought the Ocus to his country house this summer and scanned some research slides from his iPad while resting in a hammock!”

Hannes speculates the Ocus would be particularly suitable for frozen sections, even for future clinical use at the Karolinska. “Frozen section slides must be evaluated immediately, and the coverslips don’t have to have dried on completely as the open design means the slides can be simply placed on, rather than robotically inserted sideways, like in other scanner designs,” Hannes adds. This makes the Ocus quicker to work with, and it’s always available when a pathologist needs it.

The future of digital pathology

According to Hannes, the major hurdle in advancing many medical technologies is that there is no governing body dedicated to innovation and pushing new equipment, methods, and inventions. Progress largely rests on individual medical professionals, who, aside from their daily tasks, nurture ‘pet projects’, doing research and discussing with colleagues in their spare time. In the fast-paced work environment of a hospital with additional constraints from regulatory issues, staff shortage, and, most recently, the global pandemic, innovation isn’t always in the most fertile ground. “We will see AI being implemented more widely, although it will take some getting used to by doctors. It’ll be a while until computers diagnose more accurately than a human expert, but in the meantime, AI will make pathologists’ work faster and easier by counting nucleae or filtering out preset details in a specimen”, says Hannes.

What our customers say

The Philips IntelliSite Digital Pathology Solution has the capabilities to upload, view and annotate the images produced from the Grundium scanner. Zooming and panning is really fast, even when the images are physically stored on a server in the Netherlands and I’m viewing the images from a workstation in Sweden.
Fabio Papadia, Philips

Fabio Papadia

Business Development Manager Nordics,
Digital and Computational Pathology
With the Grundium Ocus enabled telepathology we can provide better service to our customers, the hospitals. For the hospitals the process doesn’t change, but they benefit from Fimlab working faster and more accurately with digital pathology.
Teppo Haapaniemi, Fimlab

Teppo Haapaniemi

Medical Cell Biologist, Pathology
Not only has Grundium created something unique in the market with your beautifully designed small-footprint scanner, but you also have a super technical team that can work really close together to make the whole solution seamless and is willing to invest themselves in making something new. It’s super unique in the world to have everything from the region of interest, focus layers, depth of field and the whole experience totally integrated.
Ben Cahoon, CEO, Techcyte

Ben Cahoon

Techcyte Inc.
The Ocus scanner is small and produces very sharp images fast. It is a vital instrument in field use in organ procurement. Its unparalleled portability helps save lives.
W. Scott Rombach, CEO, Specialist Direct

W. Scott Rombach

Specialist Direct, Inc.
We have excellent images with the Ocus and I couldn’t be happier to have this little helper on my desk here. I use it mainly as a microscope, to be honest, but of course, scan my slides as well. It has really helped me so much.
Julia Cara Thierauf, Massachusetts General Hospital

Julia Cara Thierauf

Research Fellow in Pathology (EXT)
Massachusetts General Hospital

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