Digital Pathology and AI: Learning what matters to patients who have undergone a kidney transplant

Many pathology services in the UK and internationally are undergoing huge transformations in the way pathologists view and analyse tissues samples, moving away from analogue reading of the samples using a microscope to digital images viewed electronicallyThis concept is referred to as Digital Pathology.

North West London Pathology (NWLP), hosted by Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, is due to commence this transformation to its services in early 2023. A key priority for the team was to engage patients with this research programme, providing patients an opportunity to contribute to and shape discussions relating to the use of digital pathology and artificial intelligence for research and their care, and commissioned ICHP to support with delivery of robust and meaningful patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE).

I have found it educative, and it gave me plenty of insight into how my treatment is being processed and carried out. Make me feel part of my own treatment. Made me feel more confident in explaining to people the benefits of AI.

Patient participant

Learning what matters to patients

Researchers at Imperial College London were particularly interested in establishing a research programme focused on using the data generated by the digital pathology conversion at North West London Pathology (NWLP) to improve the way diagnostic reporting is carried out, for the benefit of patients. To this end, engaging with members of the public was imperative, both to understand what acceptable use of the data looked like, but also understand the pain points of the current pathway from their perspective was imperative.

Through a series of workshops, we engaged with public and patients to:

  • Explore patient experiences (concerns and successes) in the current kidney biopsy/transplant care pathway
  • Introduce patients to the concepts of digital pathology and fundamentals of artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML), and how these may be applied to kidney transplant biopsy interpretation
  • Gather insights into patients’ understanding and perceptions of digital pathology and the use of AI in healthcare, research and in industry partnerships
  • Inform patients about the digital pathology research programme and involve them in the research design

Read the full case study

Digital Pathology and AI: what matters to patients who have undergone a kidney transplant


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