Why should you outsource your histopathology?
First, let us outline the many benefits of outsourcing and when you should apply it before we dive deeper into what to look for in a service provider. As technology advances and research becomes increasingly personalized. This leaves gaps that outsourcing services can fill, enhancing your capabilities with expertise and access to innovative analyses for a fraction of the cost. Besides introducing cost-efficiency to your research, outsourcing a histopathology project can bring with it many other benefits including;
- Efficient management of the project: Well trained staff and diligent project management can avoid costly mistakes and help projects stay on track to reach your research milestones.
- Faster turnaround times: In an era of healthcare where increasingly complex tests are being ordered and workloads of histopathology staff is on the rise, by outsourcing even the simplest of tasks you can centralise and streamline your projects resulting in faster results and more efficient planning.
- Saving human resources: Pathologists are increasingly scarce and expensive. By outsourcing, you gain access to a network of project specific expertise in both preclinical and clinical fields allowing for an integrated pipeline of data that you only pay for when you need it.
- Improve management of in-house resources: By outsourcing you can gain reliable access to a fully equipped laboratory that can be expensive to run and maintain inhouse. Building long term partnerships with a reliable service provider can help you increase the time available to manage inhouse resources and minimize costs improving your bottom line.
- Decrease costs through consolidating services: Through the outsourcing of your pathology needs, you consolidate the number of pathology consultants needed and gain access to a range of expertise and subspecialties through your histopathology provider without the need for ongoing in-house costs.
Whether your laboratory is running at capacity, or you need to expand your capabilities temporarily, outsourcing histopathology proves a profitable decision in many situations. Each reason listed above, or a combination thereof will be different for each organization and careful management and assessment will identify the gaps that can be filled by a trusted histopathology service provider.
Assessing your histopathology service provider:
Outsourcing part of your workflow as outlined above can bring many benefits to your organization’s operations. However, outsourcing these services must be done carefully and strategically for maximum benefits. Long term partnerships or project-specific arrangements can help in the delivery of cost-efficient services. Making this judgment is not only about the service provider’s portfolio. There is much to consider before choosing the right fit, which we have outlined below.
How is the quality of the customer service?
The first and most important aspect of assessing a histopathology service provider and fundamental to an efficient and cohesive relationship is developing a good working foundation for optimal collaboration. During your early interactions with an organization, you may ask yourself;
- Are they responsive to my study needs? Do they listen to the research goals and provide guidance towards the most appropriate solutions?
- Are they flexible in what they offer, and can I tailor their services, so I only pay for what I need?
- Do they support my study before, during, and after it, while providing transparent and streamlined communications? What systems are in place to support this?
With careful consideration and asking the right questions in the beginning you can assess for yourself if the relationship is one that will benefit both parties.
Another telling aspect of a provider’s customer service is if they are committed to offering affordable and tailored options that are specific to your needs. Trusted service providers will always accommodate and suggest cost-effective alternatives when working on budget-sensitive projects.
Connected-Pathology is committed to supporting our partners before during and after a project has been completed. With the guidance provided by our in-house experts, we can accommodate a range of requests and suggest alternatives that can provide a deeper analysis using fewer resources.
Are they reliable and do they operate quality equipment?
You deliver quality and timely results to your partners and so should your histopathology service provider. Being able to say yes to extra projects that require a temporary increase in your current capabilities or staff allows you to build on your reputation as a reliable organization. The histopathology provider that you chose to work with should share these same goals. Instant connection to niche expertise with continuous and transparent data access allows you to deliver on your promises. You decrease your own risk if the current staffing or laboratory systems you have in place fail to meet the necessary requirements.
To counteract this concern, you must ensure that your potential partner provides high-quality service and complements this by operating reliable software systems and well-maintained equipment. Don’t be afraid to ask;
- What equipment do you operate and what are the maintenance and calibration protocols?
- What level of support is available to me and my project, where can I access this support?
- Do you have disaster recovery protocols in place and backups of data stored?
We operate a carefully managed and integrated LIS (Laboratory Informatics System) system enhanced by digital pathology workflow known as Tx-Connect, allowing for improved quality and operational excellence.
Will you have access to digital pathology services and their benefits?
Digital pathology refers to the field of capturing, managing and interpreting digitized specimen slides. With the enhancement of digital pathology and the seamless integration of this technology within the laboratory workflow, time-saving efficiency is achieved without sacrificing accuracy.
Image analysis and validated algorithms now allow pathologists to focus on the details that are important and require expertise. Outsourcing to a histopathology service provider that has the experience and complete integration with a digital pathology workflow can improve your turnaround times drastically without exceeding the budget.
By applying digitized slides, machine learning and automated image analysis to preclinical and clinical workflows, Connected-Pathology utilizes its optimized digital system to provide scalable services that increase efficiency and decrease turnaround times through operational excellence and its Tx-Connect web-based portal.
Do they have a quality assurance program and defined checkpoints within their workflow?
Standardised systems provide assurance that the results you receive are accurate and can be used to inform the direction of your project. However, laboratories are not immune to excessive workloads and outdated manual systems, which can increase the chances of human error that can occur during all phases of the analytical assessment of your specimens.
A trusted histopathology service provider will have a sound quality assurance method and be actively involved in the training and monitoring of staff. This will allow them to continually improve their workflow and provide and maintain a risk-free environment. Ongoing risk identification, analysis and elimination continue to reduce errors and provide quality results that can be relied upon to inform your ongoing research.
With experts stipulating that over 40% of errors made occur in the pre-analytical phase, Connected-Pathology has implemented a thorough checkpoint system that reduces the room for error. Below is an overview of the checkpoints we have implemented using our unique barcode system to scan and cross-check the specimen. This process is applied not only during the pre-analytical phase but a system that supports your project all the way through to the post-analytical phase, maintaining the accuracy of your project results.
Do they operate using standardized protocols and apply a LEAN approach to projects?
Lean management is a method that reduces waste, costs and waiting times, which increases the overall efficiency and quality of your histopathology service provider. Combining optimized workflows and laboratory layout with digital reliability and reproducibility helps create standardized processes that ensure dependable delivery of results.
After finding a provider that meets your technical requirements, further asses if they are continually analyzing their work processes. Check if they work using the lean management framework to increase their productivity that will also benefit and support your research.
A good histopathology service provider can calculate accurate service times for your project because of their in-depth understanding and management of their internal workflow. Connected-Pathology increases the standardization of projects through our growing portfolio of AI (Artificial Intelligence) applications. The image analysis applications implemented are first validated against the digital pathology validation guidelines of the CAP. Pathologists use this image recognition software as a companion technology to increase objectivity and accuracy equally.
How to move forward?
Outsourcing your histopathology services can result in streamlined and cost-efficient workflows that can give you access to niche expertise and analyses. To truly receive these benefits within your organization a trustworthy and reliable service provider is key. Ultimately grading your chosen provider against the expertise, quality, and efficiency they provide for your project will see you building the perfect foundation to receive the full benefits of histopathology outsourcing.
Connected-Pathology is a comprehensive histopathology service provider that can streamline and support your preclinical and clinical histology, pathology, image analysis and archiving services for a range of study types and industries. With our flexible approach, Connected-Pathology is designed to provide tailored and reliable services that result in cost-efficient benefits for your organization.
Contact us for a deeper explanation of what services we can provide for you and how we can meet your needs for speed, accuracy, and expertise.