Unlocking the full potential of digital pathology in routine diagnosis at AZ Sint-Jan Hospital

Customer story ∙ By Philips Healthcare ∙ Featuring AZ Sint-Jan Hospital ∙ Jul 10, 2023 ∙ 3 min read

Customer story


Digital pathology

AZ Sint-Jan Hospital is the first laboratory in Belgium to introduce a fully digitized workflow for primary diagnostics. The team, led by Dr. Ivo van Den Berghe, chose the Philips Digital Pathology Solution (Digital Pathology Solution—IntelliSite) to manage their histopathology cases. Pathologists inspect the images on a computer screen and use digital tools to analyze them with a high degree of accuracy for more precise diagnosis. 

Customer story at a glance

  • AZ Sint-Jan Hospital uses the Philips Digital Pathology Solution to allow pathologists to work more efficiently together, on site and remotely
  • This enhances diagnostic confidence on routine cases and also cases that are more complex
  • The barcoded slides of digital workflow help assure confidence in patient safety

Unlocking the full potential of digital pathology in routine diagnosis at AZ Sint-Jan, Bruges

Unlocking the full potential of digital pathology in routine diagnosis at AZ Sint-Jan, Bruges

Digital pathology allows for better workflow, patient safety and increased collaboration

AZ Sint-Jan Hospital in Bruges, Belgium is a 1,000-bed facility that processes approximately 80,000 slides each year from 17,500 pathology cases. Since implementing its digital pathology system, the team has seen significant improvement in its day-to-day workflow and results.

Dr. Ivo van Den Berghe, Head of Anatomical Pathology, notes some of the changes made possible by the digitization of pathology. “First of all, our desks are clean. You don’t see slides anymore on our desks, which is a fantastic thing,” he says. “Secondly, I go home without neck pain.” He notes that the collaboration tools of the digital pathology solution allow the team to easily share cases with a colleague in the department or anywhere in the world where there’s an internet connection.

In addition, there is no longer the need to have technicians sort slides by case number and pathologist. Now slides are put into the racks and loaded into the scanner, where the slides through our Laboratory Information System (LIS) are sure to be assigned to the correct pathologist. This has advantages with regard to patient safety: “Since digital pathology, I can tell you we sleep better...because of the unique barcode where the request form through this barcode is always connected to the right slides,” he says.

“With digital pathology, you can open up to 10 slides in one screen and you can align them, and then it’s very easy to compare different regions in the same lymph nodes.”

Dr. Ivo van Den Berghe

Head of Anatomical Pathology
AZ Sint-Jan Hospital

Using a mouse to magnify slides and make measurements helps speed diagnosis and guide treatment. “Any pathologist, every day has [cases of] superficial basal cell carcinomas,” he says. Noting that treatment varies depending on the size of the carcinoma, he explains that the easy-to-use digital tools for measurement are valuable in terms of efficiency and accurate diagnosis. He also highlights the advantages of digital pathology in difficult and diagnostically rare diseases because of the centralization of expertise through the consultancy platform that can lead to expert diagnosis. “This, at the end, will lead to the best patient care,” he summarizes. Digitalization is important to the evolution of computational pathology.

Pathology technician loading slides into the Philips digital pathology scanner
Pathologist evaluating a digital pathology case on a desktop monitor

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Results are specific to the institution where they were obtained and may not reflect the results achievable at other institutions.

The information presented represents the views of the institution and speaking physicians, and not the views of Philips.

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