Fimlab’s Streamlined Intraoperative Frozen Section Pathology Workflow


Fimlab successfully validated a digital frozen section process with Ocus scanners operated by laboratory technicians.

A validated frozen section process

Fimlab is one of the leading laboratory service providers in Finland. Serving an area with 1.3 million people Fimlab runs over 15 million diagnostic tests per year in their 120 locations. Fimlab also operates in central hospital pathology laboratories without a dedicated on-site pathologist. Finland is no different to the rest of the world in that there’s a shortage of pathologists. To maximize the time the pathologist spends on what they’re indispensable at, diagnosing, Fimlab has successfully piloted a digital frozen section process operated by laboratory technicians.

Benefits of digital intraoperative frozen section

By installing their own Grundium Ocus® slide scanner in the pathology department at the central hospital in Lahti, Fimlab laboratories can serve the clinic from Tampere or their other locations. During the Covid-19 pandemic many Fimlab experts work from their home. A digital pathologist can read slides anywhere with a screen and computer connected to the Internet and LIS.

A laboratory technician prepares the sample on a slide as usual and places it in the Grundium Ocus scanner. To minimize the time spent, the lab tech has four Ocus scanners side by side running simultaneously, scanning the usual 4-10 slides and uploading the images on the Fimlab whole slide image server. All four scanners are operated on a single computer, making the scanning procedure very practical. The pathologist can start reading a scan already when the first digitized slide is uploaded on the server. The rest of the slides can still be in preparation at the laboratory or in the scanning process. Multiple scanners provide flexibility in the scanning process.

This means that the surgeon can get the pathologist’s response and act accordingly well within the normal 30 - 40 minute window with routine samples, such as sentinel node samples, before the section needs to be closed. The digital method practically does away with unnecessary logistics of people and/or slides. It especially eliminates the need for follow-up surgeries, saving time and money, and most importantly relieving the patient of stressful wait and the potential need to go under the knife again.

What ‘more practical’ really means

Fimlab’s Medical Cell Biologist (specializing) Teppo Haapaniemi says from a customer’s point of view, the hospitals are most interested in getting a high-quality diagnosis without delay. Whether Fimlab as their selected partner does it on-site or remotely isn’t important, provided the method has been validated.

Haapaniemi explains the Grundium Ocus® digital microscope scanners make frozen section pathology almost as fast as the routine analog way. “The Ocus scanner makes interpretation flexible and accurate for the pathologist, the frozen section process is performed smoothly and the interpretation of digitized slides on a large screen is easier than using a conventional microscope. In addition, real time consultation and getting a second opinion from other pathologists is really easy for more difficult cases”. “Remote work is definitely here to stay”, Haapaniemi says. “These digital tools enable me to work accurately, safely and comfortably without traveling, even from home” he adds.

Teppo Haapaniemi concludes the clinical validation of Digital Intra-Operative Frozen Section Pathology comes with impressive benefits. “For the hospital very little changes, there are no significant changes to their workflow, but for Fimlab the digital pathology method makes our work more flexible and accurate. That we’re saving time means we’re saving money. Primarily we’re making healthcare better for the patients.”

If you are looking for a small-footprint sharp imaging component for your pathology solution or if you want to hear more about how to integrate an Ocus scanner into your system, please contact us!

About Grundium

A global leader in advanced imaging technology, Grundium makes digital pathology and best professional diagnosis available for all life – whether human, animal, plant or other. This is achieved by doing something that nobody else can: applying state-of-the-art mobile technology in digital pathology. Established in 2015 by ex-Nokia engineers, the Tampere-based company is democratizing digital pathology with the Ocus® microscope scanners. The cutting-edge imaging solutions are based on over 20 years of experience in optics, sensors and beautiful high-precision devices. Grundium serves various industries and businesses enhancing quality and processes, protecting human life and safeguarding a clean environment.