The history of pathology informatics: A global perspective
Park S, Parwani AV, Aller RD, Banach L, Becich MJ, Borkenfeld S, Carter AB, Friedman BA, Rojo MG, Georgiou A, Kayser G, Kayser K, Legg M, Naugler C, Sawai T, Weiner H, Winsten D, Pantanowitz L. The history of pathology informatics: A global perspective. J Pathol Inform. 2013 May 30;4:7. doi: 10.4103/2153-3539.112689. Print 2013. PMID: 23869286. PMCID: PMC3714902.
Pathology informatics has evolved to varying levels around the world. The history of pathology informatics in different countries is a tale with many dimensions. At first glance, it is the familiar story of individuals solving problems that arise in their clinical practice to enhance efficiency, better manage (e.g., digitize) laboratory information, as well as exploit emerging information technologies. Under the surface, however, lie powerful resource, regulatory, and societal forces that helped shape our discipline into what it is today. In this monograph, for the first time in the history of our discipline, we collectively perform a global review of the field of pathology informatics. In doing so, we illustrate how general far-reaching trends such as the advent of computers, the Internet and digital imaging have affected pathology informatics in the world at large. Major drivers in the field included the need for pathologists to comply with national standards for health information technology and telepathology applications to meet the scarcity of pathology services and trained people in certain countries. Following trials by a multitude of investigators, not all of them successful, it is apparent that innovation alone did not assure the success of many informatics tools and solutions. Common, ongoing barriers to the widespread adoption of informatics devices include poor information technology infrastructure in undeveloped areas, the cost of technology, and regulatory issues. This review offers a deeper understanding of how pathology informatics historically developed and provides insights into what the promising future might hold.