18 June 2018
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Roadshow PALGA Portal in full swing!

The PALGA Portal, the one-stop-shop to request pathology data and material from diagnostic pathology laboratories, is up and running for two years now.

A good reason to visit all 43 pathology laboratories to recall the purpose of the Portal, evaluate its usefulness and pave the way for the (sustainable) future. About halfway now, we have collected critical, but constructive remarks, answered many questions about the GDPR, and received mainly positive feedback.

Visit to PAMM, Eindhoven

PALGA Portal makes scientific use of pathology resources fast, easy and safe

The PALGA Portal is an online portal, combined with a logistic infrastructure, for the request and delivery of pathology data and samples (mostly FFPE blocks and tissue slides). The Portal is initiated and maintained in collaboration with PALGA. It started as the Dutch National Tissue Portal (DNTP) project in 2013 and is fully functional since 2015. The Portal combines a web-based request counter with local hands-on support for the various pathology labs. Researchers can use the web-based portal to make a request for data or material. The requests are automatically forwarded to the designated pathology labs. HUB-employees stationed in every UMC in the Netherlands, and serving the labs in close vicinity, aid in picking, administrating and sending the requested materials. So far, the PALGA Portal has facilitated over 500 requests.

Roadshow provides valuable insights for the future

Since the cooperation of all 43 Dutch diagnostic pathology labs is crucial to the functionality of the Portal, we recognize the importance to provide support, give an opportunity to comment and share a glimpse of the future. During our visits we restate the usefulness of the Portal and the efforts of the labs to the research community. As the Portal is used for two years now, we can present actual numbers: 165 requests in 2016, 214 in 2017 and over 100 already in 2018. These requests represent over 15.000 PA-numbers (patients) per year. In most cases, the request also involves material. We can show an increase in the number of publications based on pathology data and material (34 in 2015, 46 in 2016 and 56 in 2017) and highlight a few of the top papers. We anticipated questions about the GDPR and provide a few slides on the law, basically stating that most stays the same. Every visit is rounded off with a glimpse of the future that includes Podium, a one-stop request shop with many more data- and biobanks, and the steps towards consolidation of these tools under Health-RI.

At this moment, 23 laboratories, out of 43, have been visited. We have spoken with 60 pathologists and more than 70 other involved pathology employees. The most important item we will take up is a uniform template that the labs can use to make agreements with the requester before sending data or material. We aim to finish the roadshow in the autumn of this year, and we will provide an evaluation report after we have visited the last laboratory.

We believe, despite the significant time investment, this roadshow greatly improves the knowledge about, confidence in and support for the PALGA Portal.

On behalf of BBMRI-WP4:

  • Annette Gijsbers, PALGA
  • Folkert van Kemenade, WP-leader
  • Tieneke Schaaij-Visser, WP-coordinator