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The Direction of Digital: A Pathology Visions 2020 Recap

By Dr Mark Lloyd

Is the virtual conference format reaching the maturity stage?

For more than a decade, hundreds of thought leaders have come together each year to discuss the future of the field of pathology at Pathology Visions. Last week, despite its virtual format -- or maybe precisely due to that -- the conference exceeded my expectations in terms of attendance and engagement. I see this as another example of how tele-everything is not only possible, but in some ways, preferable.

While there are still significant trade-offs with virtual events -- mostly, the lack of face-to-face interaction, I believe the pros may be starting to outweigh the cons. The flexibility to catch up on pre-recorded sessions on demand, to squeeze in talks between meetings, and to eliminate the travel time and expense has indisputable advantages. Moreover, my ability to binge days of presentations in a much shorter time period seems appropriate in the era of streaming TV and movies on Netflix, Hulu and the like.

Key topics at #PathVisions20

I presented in both the scientific and industry segments of the agenda and found the engagement to be as robust or stronger than in my dozens of previous attendances over the years. Topics ranged from IA/AI to WSI, from FDA regulation to image standardization, from clinical matters to research and education, and from vendor showcases to in-depth workshops. The highlights of the show, in my opinion, were the maturity of many algorithms, the vendor partnerships creating comprehensive digital ecosystems, and the just-in-time updates to the regulatory status of our field.

Success breeds success: an AI approach to reviewing AI articles in pathology

Having been personally fascinated by the rapid expansion of technology in pathology, I focused my scientific presentation this year on a related topic. I shared observations from the evaluation of over 30 million PubMed articles and how our group used Natural Language Processing (NLP) to identify over 200,000 papers with both pathology and image analysis terms. I presented visualizations of these concept connections in at least 10 core research areas, including IHC in breast pathology and mitoses identification in disease progression.

Attendees of my live Q&A session were curious how NLP, itself an AI technology, was used to evaluate hundreds of thousands of articles in seconds. Since many also wanted access to the data used for my presentation, my team at Inspirata created a standalone page dedicated to the actual visualizations.

If you missed the talk, we can share the recording. Just visit the on-demand replay page.

The strength of Inspirata's growing ecosystem of partners

I was also fortunate to have an opportunity to share what is new at Inspirata. In a somewhat surprising and certainly thrilling way, the live Q&A session for this presentation garnered an even larger audience than my scientific talk. Available for on-demand replay here, my industry showcase not only covered our open Dynamyx platform but also introduced three of our newest partnerships:

I also provided buying guide advice, including Inspirata’s ROI calculator for digital pathology.

Final verdict

In the weeks leading to #PathVisions2020, I was skeptical this year’s virtual format would fall short of expectations. I imagine this must be similar to the way pathologists often question digitization in pathology. But the proof is in the pudding, and the event this year was sweet.

Tags: digital pathology, ai, pv2020