Biomedical laboratory scientists and technicians in digital pathology – Is there a need for professional development?

Charlotte Lerbech Jensen, Lisbeth Koch Thomsen, Mette Christa Zeuthen, Sys Johnsen, Rima El Jashi, Michael Friberg Bruun Nielsen, Line Hemstra, Julie Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Digital pathology (DP) is moving into Danish pathology departments at high pace. Conventionally, biomedical laboratory scientists (BLS) and technicians have prepared tissue sections for light microscopy, but workflow alterations are required for the new digital era with whole slide imaging (WSI); digitally assisted image analysis (DAIA) and artificial intelligence (AI). We aim to explore the role of BLS in DP and assess a potential need for professional development. Methods: We investigated the roles of BLS in the new digital era through qualitative interviews at Danish Pathology Departments in 2019/2020 before DP implementation (supported by a questionnaire); and in 2022 after DP implementation. Additionally, senior lecturers from three Danish University Colleges reported on how DP was integrated into the 2023 bachelor's degree educational curricula for BLS students. Results: At some Danish pathology departments, BLS were involved in the implementation process of DP and their greatest concerns were lack of physical laboratory requirements (69%) and implementation strategies (63%). BLS were generally positive towards working with DP, however, some expressed concern about extended working hours for scanning. Work-task transfers from pathologists were generally greeted positively from both management and pathologists; however, at follow-up interviews after DP implementation, job transfers had not been effectuated. At Danish university colleges, DP had been integrated systematically in the curricula for BLS students, especially WSI. Conclusion: Involving BLS in DP implementation and development may benefit the process, as BLS have a hands-on workflow perspective with a focus on quality assurance. Several new work opportunities for BLS may occur with DP including WSI, DAIA and AI, and therefore new qualifications are warranted, which must be considered in future undergraduate programmes for BLS students or postgraduate programmes for BLS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Health
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2024

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