Data Storing in Digital Pathology and Dermatopathology: Volume and Costs

  • This article is about the situation in Andalusia, Spain. However it is a case example which will be useful for the reader terms of replication and scaling up.
  • In public hospitals in Andalusia, there are 36 pathology departments:
    • There are more than 400,000 slides being generated yearly in Seville, a bit less in Halva (100,000)…In the region, that amounts to almost two million slides per year in our region !
    • One quarter of histopathology is derived from skin procedure.
    • 17% of all paraffin blocks concern Dermatopathology. Thus, close to a fifth of all the work in pathology is Dermatopathology.
  • It’s a lot of slides and to be able to store them, storage needs to be planned and structured (see figure below)
    • The first one is the to a step is through a high performance storage that allow us to integrate about 250,000 slides with a fast loading and performance capability.
    • The second step is one of lesser performance but higher storage capacity. This permanent storage solution will grow every year significantly.

Is storage too expensive ?

  • In Andalusia, cost every year to digitize and store slides (this requires high resolution) is around one million Euros every year.
    • This amounts to 12 million Euros in 10 years.
  • Advances in storage capabilities (Moore’s law) brings costs down over time: This is essentially because the cost of storage is decreases around 15% every year, at least in the last 10 years.
  • Note that 1 Peta byte is an astounding 10e15 bytes or 1000 Terabytes or one million Gigabytes !
  • Each digital slide has a size of around 5 GB.

Marcial Garcia-Rojo, MD. Teledermatopathology. 8th World Congress of Teledermatology, Skin Imaging and AI in Skin diseases – November 2020

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