January 12, 2023

Faster Study Delivery With Patholytix Automated Image QC

By building Automated Image QC into Patholytix 3.0, Deciphex delivers dramatically faster turnarounds of studies.

In today’s world, histotechnicians spend a significant amount of time performing manual QC.

This has numerous downstream effects:

  • Pathologists must wait while slides are re-scanned
  • Histotechnicians must re-scan, and review reworked slides, increasing their workload
  • Study delivery times, and in turn, study completion times, are delayed
  • Delays at the preclinical stage of drug development lead to delays getting the drug to market


Dr. Dan Rudmann, Global Director of Digital Toxicologic Pathology at Charles River Laboratories, and global strategic partner of Deciphex, tells this anecdote:

“The manual review of whole slide images (WSI) is slow and consistency is difficult. On the final day of study review for low and mid-dose animals for a recent study, I identified issues with a few WSI that required rescanning. The scanner was booked and the rescans were delayed by a day. This rework late in the primary diagnostic timeline put the study timelines at risk which is not something we want to do. We believe that an automated QC tool would not only increase the efficiency of the lab (less time for WSI review) but also mitigate the possibility of identifying WSI issues at the time of pathologist review”.

Patholytix eliminates the delays that have caused manual QC to put studies at risk.


The Patholytix Automated Image QC module prechecks all study slides for blurring, striping and other artefacts. Whole slide images of good quality are sent to the pathologist for immediate review. Those that are of poor quality are flagged for manual review to determine if re-work is needed. For example, if 10% of slides in a study have QC issues, the tool can cut the histotech’s workload down by 90% as they would only need to manually review these slides.

Often a histotech only reviews a proportion of slides to check for QC issues rather than the full study. Although this is more time efficient, there is a risk of missing QC failures in the unreviewed slides. The Patholytix Image QC tool not only allows the histotech to manually review less slides, but also gaurantees that the targeted QC issues will be in this subgroup of flagged slides.  This streamlines workflow, while also giving more confidence in QC decisions.

All of this happens at the point of upload, meaning a histotech can review flagged slides immediately. Not only does this workflow offer significant time savings through its ability to detect QC anomalies across a study sooner, but it also speeds up the manual review of each image itself. Within the Patholytix QC Viewer, coloured mask overlays direct a Histotech’s attention to the area in the image causing the QC fail. This saves a user time looking through a slide for an issue, which can take minutes to detect. With the mask they can identify the region in seconds, saving them a significant amount of time per slide.

Find quality issues at varying magnifications in a matter of seconds with the in-built QC Viewer


Some scanners have built in QC methods. However, they tend to detect a lot of slides that are below thresholds that would impact a pathologist’s review, leading to false positives. By flagging more slides for histotechs to review, they spend a considerable amount of time performing manual QC.

The Patholytix Automated Image QC tool detects less false positives, leaving histotechs with less slides to manually review.


Users can adjust the sensitivity thresholds so that the software only selects slides they themselves would consider needing re-work, or those they consider good to be sent directly to the pathologist.


The due diligence required for a GLP study means that some organisations will review a higher proportion of these slides. In fact, it’s not unknown for organisations to review 100% of slides to be sure there are no artefacts.

Image QC automation will have a dramatic impact on drug development programs.

For more information on Automated Image QC and to see Patholytix 3.0 in action, contact Deciphex at sales@deciphex.com

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