American Society for Clinical Pathology Customer Story
ASCP: Alfresco Helps Bring the Pathology Community Together
As the world’s largest professional medical society for pathologists and medical professionals, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) strives to provide innovative educational tools to advance patient care.
Roughly 70% of disease diagnoses in the U.S. come from a laboratory. Yet glass slides – the cornerstone of the pathologist’s workflow – are difficult to ship and often lost or broken, which makes real-time collaboration between medical professionals difficult.
As pathology has become more digital, crowdsourcing and sharing have become more mainstream. As a result, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) began using high-resolution digital scanning to convert glass slides to digital files.
As its library of files grew, the ASCP needed an enterprise content management system to compile, store and organize the digital slides to make it easier for its more than 100,000 members to collaborate and share information.
“With the advancement of digital pathology and the current workforce shortage in the lab, the ASCP strives to provide our repertoire of glass slides to our members,” said Ron Swan, the ASCP’s chief technology officer. “Once we built the ASCP library, we recognized that we needed to open it up to our membership.”
The ASCP chose Alfresco as its enterprise content management platform because of its open architecture and flexibility to integrate with other technologies.
“One of the many things that attracted us to Alfresco was its ability to integrate with other standards and technologies such as Amazon Web Services,” said Swan. “With the large size of the whole slide images – many of which are upwards of 3 gigabytes – we use AWS to backup our own internal data centers.”
The ASCP began the initial development of its Asset Library using Alfresco Community. In 2012, it redesigned the library using Alfresco Enterprise, giving experts the ability to upload images from the ASCP member community and index content by discipline, including workflow review by peers and administrators.
"Since the launch of Alfresco, our members have had overwhelmingly positive feedback about the ease of use of ASCP, its mobile-friendly nature, and its integration with the larger medical taxonomy,” said Swan.
In 2014, the ASCP further enhanced the Alfresco platform with the creation of ASCPedia, which allows consumers to search the interface to access images.
“ASCPedia has provided a way of democratizing and harmonizing in a central repository all of the information to allow the electronic distribution of information not just within the ASCP production group, but also out to its members,” said Dr. Michael Feldman, associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine of the University of Pennsylvania. Before ASCPedia, each of these libraries was a “personal library” that lived as an individual asset, locked within a hard drive on individuals’ computers, said Feldman. With Alfresco, individuals can now contribute to a shared resource and unlock the potential learning capability of each individualized personal collection.
“Alfresco has allowed the ASCP to developed a unique solution in the pathology space that allows members to collaborate and educate themselves to various disciplines within a pathology,” said Swan.