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Digital Pathology Buying Guide

What is Digital Pathology?

Digital Pathology is the capture and subsequent management and analysis of Digitised Whole Slide Images (WSI) generated from digital pathology slide scanners.

Digital images are created by scanning tissue samples on glass slides using a slide scanner. These images can then be used within a digital environment for analysis and sharing for improved workflow collaboration and improved patient pathways.


Tissue Preparation


Digitisation of Slides


Computer Based Analysis


Patient Diagnosis

With around 32% of pathologists expected to retire in the next five years and a shortfall in the workforce, Digital Pathology can help support higher throughputs with an ever-increasing caseload demand by potentially increasing both lab-based productivity and pathologist reporting efficiency.

The benefits of Digital Pathology

Greater collaborative working:

  • Collaborations and second opinions can transition to a digital platform enabling real-time case sharing and collaborations to further improve departmental turnaround times.
  • Images can be shared with other pathologists geographically for collaborative working and supporting MDTs in patient pathways.

More efficient workflows:

  • Improved workflows for the tracking, storing, and accessing of slide images across all cases.
  • Digital images remove transportation costs and risk of damage to glass slides in transit between sites.
  • Reporting of cases and assistance with referrals / second opinions can be conducted remotely providing flexible working locations for pathologists covering more than one site.
  • Integration with existing LIMS systems / Tracking systems to automate the workflow.

Access to new technologies to improve patient care:

  • Repeatable and consistent image analysis / artificial intelligence applications to standardised cellular quantifications.
  • Artificial Intelligence can be adopted as pre and / or post read applications to further improve efficiency and generate longer term cost savings.
  • Enterprise Image storage and Whole Slide Management Software systems enable real-time access to patient cases.

Our framework supports guidance set out in the GIRFT report and has allowed trusts to access market leading suppliers and simple procurement methods to adapt quickly to changes in pace over the past 24 months and requirements to “go digital”.

Alice Dixon, Senior Category Manager – Pathology, NHS Supply Chain: Diagnostic, Pathology and Therapy Technologies and Services.

The NHS Supply Chain framework scope

Digital Pathology is part of our Pathology and Point of Care Testing, Associated Equipment, Instruments, Consumables and Accessories and Managed Services framework agreement. This part of the framework covers a broad scope of the Digital Pathology Landscape from the Tissues Collection, all the way through to the archiving of samples both digitally and physically.

We can support you with your Digital Pathology needs with:

  • Systems that can be used in routine or research laboratories and offer a complete and integrated solution for Digital Pathology.
  • Slide scanning devices supported by image management software that address multiple use cases and various throughput requirements.
  • Systems used for digitising glass slides and providing high resolution, whole-slide digital images that can be viewed and managed using a workstation.
  • Systems used to complement the Science of Microscopy and for the purpose of aiding the diagnosis of disease, education, training and continuing professional development, research, archiving and information management, virtual sharing of patients’ tissue information or other information contained within a glass slide for remote review and for video-conferencing.
  • Digital systems and software that is interoperable with other workflows.

We also have other categories within the framework that can support your requirement:

  • Histopathology Equipment and Consumables
  • Laboratory Consumables covering Slides and Slide Storage containers
  • Managed Services.

See our Useful Links section for a full list of what the Pathology framework covers and our supporting buying guide on our Pathology framework page.

Supplier Matrix for Digital PathologySlide ScanningImage Management SystemsSoftware and AIManaged Services
Carl ZeissXXX
Change HealthcareXXX
Hamamatsu PhotonicsXX
Olympus KeymedXX
Leica MicrosystemsXXResearch onlyx
Menarini DiagnosticsXX
Philips ElectronicsXXX
Roche DiagnosticsXXXx
Scientific Laboratory SuppliesX

How do I find out more?

Please contact our Procurement Delivery Team who will process your enquiry in a timely manner and provide guidance where required.

You can also contact your Customer Relationship Manager who will be able to help manage this enquiry for you and help you understand some of the routes to market at NHS Supply Chain.