Nicholas Chan, Director, Digital Pathology
Digital pathology has tremendous potential to disrupt the practice of pathology. It holds a great deal of promise when it comes to delivering improved patient care including faster test results and ease in seeking a second opinion. The sharing of digital slides and their associated data makes access to professionals or experts faster and more realistic than ever before, especially from remote sites. But despite the many benefits of this revolutionary technology, pathology’s adoption of digitization lags behind. This is because digital pathology solutions usually come at high costs. So, only large hospitals are able to afford such large investments. The smaller remote hospitals, with smaller budgets, have no opportunity to utilize the workflow efficiencies that they truly need.
When the diligent team at Motic Digital Pathology, a leading provider of microscopy solutions saw the inequity of digital pathology platforms, decided to address the gap by making these digital tools for pathology approachable for hospitals, labs, and doctors everywhere. With a long history in microscopy, they knew that they could provide accessible and approachable solutions. Today, through cutting-edge, proven glass slide scanners and software, it provides turnkey solutions that are designed to make it easier for pathologists to provide care at the lab, home, office, or anywhere. “Our mission is making digital medicine approachable around the world by empowering pathologists in their workflows and in bettering patient care through our accessible digital pathology solutions,” affirms Nicholas Chan, the Director of Digital Pathology at Motic.
The Motic Journey
Motic was born in 1988 with a vision to build quality microscopes for the world and to make expensive “high-technology” devices approachable through innovation. And, with a drive for building high-impact applications, manufacturing creativity, and unwavering dedication to quality and expertise, the company has been able to create innovative solutions in optics, pathology, and the energy sector in its 30+ years of operation. Today, Motic stands tall as a global organization of 1,500 employees with offices in Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, the US, Canada, and China. In 2017, Motic Digital Pathology was created as a dedicated team within the global organization to serve the pathology community.
Using Digital Pathology to Combat Cervical Cancer
Motic’s digital pathology scanner was initially developed for a cervical cancer screening project for Chinese citizens that it ran with the British Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, B.C. in 2004. Not only have Motic’s strong innovations led to high-quality cancer diagnoses for millions of Chinese females across the country, but its telepathology platform for quality control can also be coupled with diagnostics services for even broader applications centered on closing the pathology care gap. “Cervical cancer is a very treatable and preventable form of cancer, but only if it is detected in the early stages. In the U.S. any woman can get a smear taken and a pathology report issued within days; in most other countries, there simply aren’t enough experts to handle this work, and many cases go undiagnosed until severe cancer symptoms show up,” elucidates Nicholas.
Motic uses its AI screening program as a substitute for the human expert screener, and that allows it to identify likely positives to refer to pathologists for next steps, and potentially early detection treatment. After the implementation of this service, the cervical cancer incidence rate in Xiamen dropped by 80%. This project formed the foundations of the Motic Medical labs and led to the creation of its digital pathology scanner, and the digital pathology team today. “This attitude of finding high impact healthcare problems and bringing our innovation to bear – with key partners of course – is what continues to drive our company and team every day, as we look to help hospitals and labs solve their sets of problems with digital pathology innovations,” adds Nicholas.
Attributes that Differentiate Motic
Integrity, quality, and impeccable 24/7 customer support are the pillars on which Motic builds its forte. The company is committed to being there to support its client labs no matter what. While a majority of digital pathology companies today outsource their optics and have to rely on purchasing these key components from other suppliers, Motic manufactures all of its optics in-house. As a result, Motic’s systems are optically optimized from objective to digital slides, it is able to flexibly adapt its systems to any application, by drawing on its extensive library of specialty optics. Very few companies have this level of vertical integration in their product design. This effort has culminated in the establishment of Motic Medical Diagnostic Systems which is dedicated to offering pathology services in China with 5 fully accredited labs. So, Motic has a plethora of experience not just as a supplier of clinical lab equipment, but also as a user of those devices. What further makes Motic stand out from the rest is it doesn’t try to convince pathologists to change their ways and adopt a big-box platform that requires specialized technical staff to operate and maintain. Rather, it strives to learn about pathologists’ needs and find the most efficient, incremental way to help them take their first steps in digital pathology.
Treating Customers as Partners
Motic values every client’s needs and feedback and strives to ensure optimum client satisfaction. It always takes an attitude of partnership towards its customers. “The responses so far have been great! Our singular focus is to make sure that any customer with a Motic EasyScanner is successful in their implementation goals, and that drives everything we do,” opines Nicholas. To better serve its customers and make a greater impact in the digital pathology space, Motic has prioritized their efforts with leading organizations such as ASCP (American Society for Clinical Pathology) and the BCCA (British Columbia Cancer Agency), and as a result have created solutions trusted by cancer hospitals around the world, including Cleveland Clinic and Memorial Sloane Kettering Hospital.
Creating Roadmap for Better Services
After making an impact as a leader in accessible low-volume solutions, Motic is now looking forward to making high-volume scanning accessible to all. High-volume scanning has been known to be extremely expensive and out of reach for most hospitals. Therefore, Motic is developing a new high-volume scanner that will be more approachable to smaller labs and it also has some innovations that the company thinks will create a new paradigm to replace the old clunky high-volume scanning workflow. In addition, Motic is working on a cloud-based system for single-user platform consultation. The platform will connect pathologists, patients, and laboratories around the world. Most cloud-based softwares are designed to support a high volume of users on an institution-to-institution basis, which comes at a higher cost for single users. Thus, Motic has developed a solution, to be offered at a much more approachable price point, to enable smaller labs to perform remote consultations with one or two community pathologists. This will democratize access to pathology and ensure all patients can access care regardless of geographic limitations.
Going forward, Motic plans to continue its innovation while keeping a close eye on the growing AI space. It intends to adopt broad-scope AI integrations but before that, it aspires to get more pathologists onto digital pathology as a community. “We’re always looking for partners and projects where AI can be adopted to make a huge single-application impact. We’d love to become the go-to partner for all sorts of organizations tackling global health issues since that allows us to make the kind of deep, meaningful impacts that drive the team,” concludes Nicholas.