Pathology Informatics

Roswell Park is one of the few Pathology departments with its own Informatics team to support the clinical and research initiatives of its pathologists, as well as improve patient care by decreasing turn-around time (TAT) through automation and innovation. 

Pathology Informatics works with stakeholders to evaluate opportunities for improved TAT in existing workflows. Our goal is to continuously be the interface between Pathology and IT.  To this end, we gather formal requirements to align all parties, translating science into informatics, and develop new algorithms and software tools to improve TAT by converting tasks done by people into tasks performed by computer.

We prioritize projects based on this metric: Improvement in turn-around time X the number of patients impacted.

Highlights of our achievements

  • Development of B-cell/T-cell clonality algorithm
  • DNA variant annotation pipelines based on in-house IP
  • Improved TAT for molecular pathology BCR-ABL test from 4-5 days to 3-4 hours
  • Improved TAT for sequencing panel for leukemias/lymphomas from 3-4 weeks to 3-4 days.

Current projects

  • Electronic requisition sheet to replace paper requisitions. Development of an electronic version to replace a paper-based document currently used in the ORs and clinics. This will aid in eliminating errors due to misunderstood or incorrect handwritten notes, or other errors that can occur using paper-based documents.
  • Convert molecular test pre-authorization to electronic based decision process. Currently the pre-authorization process is a time consuming, tedious process composed of several manually completed steps. The Patient Access supervisor must use several excel-based documents to determine if a patient is approved for the various tests that have been ordered. If not, she must manually look up which insurance carrier to contact and then submit the proper forms to the insurance carrier. The Informatic solution being developed will create an electronic based decision process that can eliminate data re-entering, manual verification and other steps to determine whether a patient is approved for the tests ordered by the attending physician. 
  • Optimizing the Pathology front office intake process. The Pathology front office currently uses several different systems to check patient information in order to create the patient encounter and to accession slides. Our proposed solution is based on extending the CRM Tool (software used during the intake process) with added functionality to aid the front office team in communicating with Patient Access, especially with the handling of difficult cases, second opinions and referrals.
  • Improved tracking of Laboratory Medicine reagent inventory. Currently the Laboratory Medicine group tracks reagents and their lots on paper, a tedious and mind-numbing process. Our proposed solution is to utilize a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) that can track and organize reagents and lot information on an online database that can be easily updated.