by Dr. Sylvia A. Asa, MD, PhD, University of Toronto


This has been a challenging year for me:  I underwent major surgery on my spine in late 2023 and now am dealing with additional health issues in my family. As most of my friends know, my work is something I treasure and I hate to miss even a day of seeing interesting endocrine cases, reviewing submitted publications, and keeping abreast of the latest news in the field. You can only imagine how happy I have been to have access to digital tools that have allowed me to keep doing all those things while complying with doctor’s orders to allow my vertebral fusions to heal or sitting by my mother’s bedside, glancing at the monitors between case sign-outs and being there when she wakes up. Online access to the hospital IT systems provides me with the clinical data I need to interpret my cases, digital slides to review, and the ability to order special stains or molecular tests that are required for accurate interpretation.  I can teach remotely with residents viewing the same images at the same time, able to see the features that are critical for the diagnosis. Our systems are sufficiently robust that I can sign out even very large cases – as many as 150-200 slides – rapidly and efficiently. With zoom, I can consult with colleagues in consensus rounds and we can review whole slide images (WSIs) of difficult cases together. Multidisciplinary tumor boards are all done virtually and I can share the WSIs of cases with the team to inform decision-making for each patient. The really fun part for me is that my participation is so seamless that many people at my institution cannot tell the difference between when I am physically there or when I am participating virtually.


The advances in medicine have been phenomenal, improving the outlook for patients with severe illnesses and giving us all better quality of life.  I am invigorated by the digitization of pathology that is allowing us to harmonize our work-life balance in an era of increasing case numbers and complexity along with decreased staffing.  Digital pathology is keeping me happy, able to work through the most challenging times, and ensures that the right patient has access to the right pathologist at the right time!



Disclaimer: In seeking to foster discourse on a wide array of ideas, the Digital Pathology Association believes that it is important to share a range of prominent industry viewpoints. This article does not necessarily express the viewpoints of the DPA; however, we view this as a valuable point with which to facilitate discussion.