The Cost of Digital Pathology: A Dynamic Customizable Cost Calculator for Informed Decision-making


Background: The adoption of digital pathology has evolved the field of pathology, however the economic impact and cost analysis of implementing digital pathology solutions remain a critical consideration for adopting institutions. Digital pathology implementation requires a thorough evaluation of associated costs to identify and optimize resource allocation and facilitate informed decision-making. The objective of this study was to develop a dynamic cost calculator to estimate the financial implications of transitioning to digital pathology.

Methods: A systematic approach was used to comprehensively assess the various components involved in implementing and maintaining a digital pathology system. This consisted of 1) Identification of key cost categories associated with digital pathology implementation; 2) Data collection and analysis of cost estimation; 3) Cost categorization and quantification of direct and indirect costs associated with different use cases, allowing customization of each factor based on specific intended uses and market rates, industry standards, and regional variations; 4) opportunities for savings realized by digitization of glass slides and 5) Integration of the cost calculator into a unified framework for a holistic view of the financial implications associated with digital pathology implementation. The tool enables the user to test various scenarios and provides adjustable parameters to assess the sensitivity of cost estimates.

Results: The Digital Pathology Association (DPA) developed a calculator as a companion tool to provide an exhaustive list of the necessary concepts needed when assessing the financial implications of transitioning to a digital pathology system. The dynamic cost calculator successfully integrated all relevant cost components associated with digital pathology implementation and maintenance. Considerations include factors such as digital pathology infrastructure, clinical operations, staffing, hardware and software, information technology, archive and retrieval, medical-legal, and potential reimbursements. The cost calculator developed for digital pathology offers a comprehensive, customizable tool for institutions to assess their anticipated upfront and annual costs as they start or expand their digital pathology journey. It also offers cost savings analysis based on specific user case volume, institutional geographic considerations and actual costs. This tool is intended to estimate the potential costs and cost savings resulting from the transition to digital pathology for business plan developments.

Conclusions: The Digital Pathology cost calculator provides a comprehensive and reliable means of estimating the financial implications associated with implementing and maintaining a digital pathology system. By considering various cost factors and allowing customization based on institution-specific variables, the calculator empowers pathology laboratories, healthcare institutions, and administrators to make informed decisions and optimize resource allocation when adopting or expanding digital pathology technologies. The calculator will enable healthcare institutions to assess the financial feasibility and potential return on investment of adopting digital pathology, facilitating informed decision-making and resource allocation.



  1. Evaluate the needs of digital pathology infrastructure
  2. Understand the financial costs of digital pathology operations and the need for budget planning for successful implementation
  3. Use digital pathology cost calculator tool developed by the DPA to customize their anticipated costs for informed decision making


Presented by:


Orly Ardon, PhD, MBA

Director Digital Pathology Operations

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center




Orly Ardon, PhD MBA serves on the faculty at the Department of Pathology and is the Director of Digital Pathology Operations at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Orly joined MSK in February 2020 just in time for the pathology remote signout validation project that allowed continued pathology operations during public emergencies. Before joining MSK, Orly was heading the development of novel computer assisted diagnostic tools and the expansion of digital pathology collaborative initiatives at ARUP Laboratories in Salt Lake City. Orly’s research interests include the adoption of digital pathology and improved laboratory operations, as well as the business aspects of using novel laboratory technologies. Orly has BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Microbiology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and postdoctoral training in cell biology and virology at the University of Utah. She also has an Executive MBA from the University of Utah.