Artificial Intelligence is starting to cross from pathology research into pathology clinical practice. With several AI-based algorithms approved for clinical use in Europe and many more in the making, it is clear that rather sooner than later it will be an integral part of practicing pathology.
Does everyone practicing pathology have to keep up with this new trend? Those who wish not to and are close to retirement probably not, but everyone else probably yes. AI will become one of the pathologist’s everyday tools and the use of this tool should be taught throughout the entire process of medical formation from medical student through to practicing pathologists through continuous professional education. AI is not scary, but it is a new technology we need to adopt, similar to how immunohistochemistry (IHC) was adopted.
IHC entered the pathology practice only in the 1980s and today most practicing pathologists are using this method as an integral part of their diagnostic workflow. It was brand new not so long ago and the pathologist community had to figure out this new method and leverage it to better serve patients. An analogous situation is happening now with AI.
Unlike some may fear, the primary benefit of AI is not necessarily to make the diagnosis and replace pathologists. The first thing that AI does is help pathologists manage workflow. It may sound unambitious but triaging cases that are safe/ normal, and allowing the pathologist to focus on cases that are more urgent or more high risk already benefits the profession tremendously and improves patient care.
Pathologists should keep up with AI both to leverage its power to help pathology as well as leverage the collective pathology knowledge in different aspects of the discipline for the development of reliable AI tools designed to help pathologists.
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