Digital pathology at the University Hospital Basel

Diagnostics in pathology is traditionally based on the microscopic examination of tissue structures. For this purpose, patient samples must be elaborately prepared and thin sectional preparations made on glass slides, which are then evaluated under the microscope. The evaluating pathologists must be on site for this and require a professional microscope. There are objective criteria for microscopic diagnostics, but it is by no means a matter of measured value diagnostics as in laboratory medicine, for example, but rather an interpretation of microscopic structures and patterns.

In recent years, molecular genetic examinations of tissue samples have also been increasingly carried out, which require a highly modern and complex technical infrastructure as well as highly specialized expertise for evaluation. This results in large amounts of data, which must be interpreted and re-evaluated dynamically rather than statically as new findings emerge.

The advancing digitalization of medicine holds out the prospect of promising improvements for the diagnosis and treatment of patients, in which findings are no longer just isolated, but comprehensively and integratively included in the assessment. Such a target image was defined at the USB as the "Comprehensive Digital Diagnostic Department" or "C3D". In order for microscopic and molecular genetic diagnostics to be included here, the sectional preparations must be digitized with the help of ultra-modern "high-throughput" scanners and an infrastructure must be created that can process the resulting large amounts of data.

Since mid-2020, the pathology department at the USB has been working intensively on designing and implementing the digital transformation. The aim is not only to enable location-independent work, as the digitized specimens can be assessed from any screen, tablet or smartphone, but also to use new and innovative methods to interpret the tissue changes. These include evaluation algorithms using machine learning and artificial intelligence, but also the involvement of other diagnostic disciplines such as radiology, as all units will have access to the digitized sectional preparations in the future (in the sense of "C3D").

The digitalization of pathology at the USB is currently a work-in-progress and we will report on progress and innovations on this page on an ongoing basis.

Contact us


Prof. Daniel Baumhoer

Stv. Chefarzt


Mitglied Tumorzentrum