PathologyWatch Welcomes Joseph Willman, MD, to Digital Dermatopathology Practice

A noted dermatopathologist, Dr. Willman joins the PathologyWatch team to continue delivering the highest-quality care to patients.

A board-certified pathologist and dermatopathologist, Dr. Willman completed his residency at the University of Utah, his dermatopathology fellowship at the University of Colorado, and his molecular genetic pathology fellowship at the University of Michigan.

Dr. Willman’s connection to pathology began long before his career and training. His father was a pathologist, introducing him to the profession at a young age. Still, he expected to follow a different career path. As a student, he spent time working in emergency rooms and found surgery and internal medicine interesting. However, his third-year medical school pathology rotation cemented his interest in pathology, and he now sees digital pathology as the future of the field.

“I think the majority of anatomic pathology will be done digitally, as technology advances to digitize the slides, because it makes it so easy to collaborate, get opinions on cases and implement quality measures to get multiple people reviewing a single case,” Dr. Willman said. “It’s so much more convenient than shipping or using a courier to share glass slides, which is easily a 48-hour process by itself. PathologyWatch can secure expert opinions from people all over the country in a single afternoon, and that’s revolutionary.”

With 20 years of experience in dermatopathology, Dr. Willman brings extensive expertise to PathologyWatch. Most recently, he served as the director of a national reference laboratory and molecular diagnostics lab, where he worked extensively with quality systems and compliance and regulation. His experience and interest in lab operations will help as PathologyWatch builds a digital laboratory platform incorporating quality measures that aren’t possible in a physical laboratory.

“We are thrilled to have Dr. Willman joining our team, not just for the years of experience he has but also for his enthusiasm for the future and commitment to progress and innovation,” said Dan Lambert, CEO at PathologyWatch. “He will be of particular help in moving our molecular efforts forward.”

Annual American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Weekend Recap

Hosted in Boston, MA, this year’s Annual AAD convention—held March 25–29, 2022—promised more than a feeling: It marked a roaring return to in-person events for attendees worldwide. It felt good to be back among friends, colleagues, customers, and industry peers.  

This year’s event attracted over 13,000 guests to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, including 7,000 healthcare professionals. And the PathologyWatch team was there! 

Here are some of the highlights:

Friday, March 25 (Convention Day Arrives)

The show opened at 10 a.m., and we enjoyed a steady flow of traffic for most of the day, thanks to our premium location near the main Hall A entrance. Our booth’s design and messaging helped our representatives introduce dermatologists to digital pathology’s advantages.

PathologyWatch AAD Boston

It was refreshing to reconnect with colleagues and clients across the country. This included a visit from Dr. Roman Bronfenbrener, who stopped by to adore his larger-than-life testimonial banner. He picked it up after posing for photos and paraded it around other booths!  

Roman Bronfenbrener, MD

Roman Bronfenbrener, MD PathologyWatch

PathologyWatch hosted two events at this year’s AAD convention: First, we hosted a happy hour on the convention’s first night. Second, we cosponsored a private dinner with Castle Biosciences, which provided a unique opportunity to promote our technology, introduce our founders and clinical team, and connect with valued guests and customers before the convention ended.  

PathologyWatch

We selected City Tap, a nearby restaurant and bar, to arrange our happy hour event. The weather was perfect, and the private patio space worked really well. 

PathologyWatch happy hour

We set up a central station of food and beverages to encourage people to mingle freely. There was plenty of room for networking, with tables and chairs available for people who wanted to relax and talk after a long day on the convention floor.

PathologyWatch AAD 2022 happy hour

Soon, there were over 100 people engaged in dozens of conversations around the outdoor space. Our executive team and sales directors easily mixed in with the crowd, answering questions and bonding over hot wings and pizza. 

PathologyWatch happy hour AAD 2022PathologyWatch Happy Hour AAD 2022

Later in the evening, strings of outdoor lights brightened up the event and kept discussions going strong. The happy hour was a memorable and impactful part of the convention. We were able to get reacquainted with familiar faces and meet many new people.

PathologyWatch Happy Hour AAD 2022

PathologyWatch Happy Hour AAD 2022

Saturday, March 26

We developed the Digital Digest Quiz, a 12-question pathology test featuring digital slides on the PathologyWatch slide viewer to give people a reason to stop by the booth. Placing the video monitor at the front of the booth was visually appealing and created a simple segue to inspire conversations about our proprietary technology.

PathologyWatch AAD 2022

That evening, we gathered at Oceanaire Seafood Room for a cosponsored dinner with Castle Biosciences. We reserved a private room behind the bar that offered the perfect setting for an intimate meal with industry members

 

PathologyWatch Greg Osmond, MD

Even though it’s only April, it’s been an incredible year for PathologyWatch as we continue to expand our technology and services to support dermatological experts across the country. Thank you to all of our customers and partners who support us in our quest to innovate digital pathology and patient care.

Dermatopathologist Eva Vertes George Joins PathologyWatch Team

Dr. George brings years of dermatopathology experience to the firm, with a special focus on melanoma.

“We are impressed with the enthusiasm and depth of expertise that Dr. George brings to the people of Florida and all over the United States,” says Dan Lambert, cofounder and chief executive officer of PathologyWatch.

Dr. George completed her residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at the University of Florida. Her fellowship was in dermatopathology at the University of Florida, and she is US-board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology and dermatopathology.

Although she enjoys all aspects of clinical pathology, her focus is melanoma. “I love it all, but I would say the part that grabs me is melanoma. There’s still so much that we don’t know about them. As we continue understanding the different variants, it’s about making sure we get the correct diagnosis so that patients receive the best care possible.”

As a strong supporter of digital pathology, Dr. George was drawn to PathologyWatch in part because of its commitment to opening up access to qualified patient care to the international community. “The idea that a biopsy can be done anywhere in the world, digitized, and then read by a pathologist from a different place in the world is very exciting. The possibilities are endless with that kind of instant accessibility,” said Dr. George.

“One of the most valuable parts of digital pathology is that it is going to enhance the accuracy of the diagnosis in a timely manner. It enables the transfer of information more readily and then extends that service to rural areas,” said Dr. George. “I truly believe digital pathology is the future.”

For more information, please email [email protected] or visit us at pathologywatch.com.

About PathologyWatch
PathologyWatch is the groundbreaking leader of digital dermatopathology services. Through these services, dermatology clinics, hospitals and laboratories can improve operational efficiency by speeding up workflow and enhancing patient outcomes by utilizing the PathologyWatch expert professional team and laboratory services. This can facilitate best-in-class reads and, in some cases, enable additional revenue to the practice by in-housing pathology. With an intuitive and easy-to-implement digital pathology solution that includes access to top-tier dermatopathologists and a streamlined clinical workflow that interfaces directly into the EMR, PathologyWatch brilliantly combines state-of-the-art technology and clinical decision-making to deliver unprecedented patient care.

How to Explain Dermatopathology to Your Patients

According to IBISWorld, there are an estimated 5,391 dermatology businesses in the United States, serving millions of individuals who understand the importance of taking care of their skin. But when it comes to the science behind diagnosing and treating skin conditions, some patients may feel lost, confused, or scared.

Explaining what dermatopathologists do can entail a lot of information for a patient, so let’s examine some simple ways to discuss what dermatopathology is, including education, training, and specialties, as well as the advancement of digital dermatopathology and how it is changing the industry.

What Is Dermatopathology?

Dermatopathology is a specialty in the field of dermatology. The term itself is a combination of dermatology and pathology, meaning the study of both the skin and diseases thereof. Pathologists work in every field of medicine, providing insight on diseases and patient care—in the field of dermatology, this is the responsibility of the dermatopathologist—or “dermpath,” as they are sometimes known in the industry.

All dermatopathologists hold a medical degree in dermatology or pathology, with a subspeciality in dermatopathology. In order to become board certified, doctors must take an exam in both their specialty and subspecialty, as well as participate in developmental exercises in order to retain that certification.

Dermatopathology Services

Rather than interacting directly with patients, dermatopathologists analyze tissue samples that are sent over by doctor’s offices to provide additional information. A nine-year study by the National Library of Medicine found an increasing trend in the complexity of dermatopathology cases after reviewing 8,173 cases at a tertiary care academic center. 

Dermpaths are able to examine not only skin samples but also hair and nail tissue samples, after which they generate a report based on their findings. This is typically done when a dermatologist or primary care physician wants to confirm an initial diagnosis made during a physical examination of the potentially affected area, and requests to have a sample tested by a dermatopathologist for more information.

In studying these samples, dermatopathologists are able to better identify a wide variety of skin conditions, including skin cancer, eczema, and psoriasis. Examining samples under a microscope allows dermatopathologists to see them on a cellular level, providing a closer perspective of a patient’s potential diagnosis.

Traditionally, dermatopathology was done using microscopes, but technological advances have led to the increasing use of digital dermatopathology, in which samples are processed and digitized, providing doctors with more readily available access to a patient’s slides. This process minimizes the time it takes to send a sample, receive the results, and make a diagnosis based on those results, which can be life-saving in more severe cases.

Uses and Benefits of Digital Dermatopathology

Digital dermatopathology helps medical professionals to continue providing patients with the level of care they require while offering clear advantages for your dermatology clinic. These include access to quality clinical care for rural markets, shorter diagnostic times than traditional microscopy, and equivalence to glass slides in terms of quality, with a major discordance rate of only 0.4 percent between whole-slide imaging and microscopy.

Digital dermatopathology can also reduce the time it takes between receiving a slide and generating a report. In some cases, hospitals staff saw an average turnaround time reduced from two weeks to two days. Elsewhere, the streamlined digital process saves the staff an hour a day on manual tasks.

Now that you have some ideas of how to explain what dermatopathology is to your patients, contact the experts at PathologyWatch to help with all your digital dermatopathology needs.

Is Your Dermlab a Good Fit? 5 Questions to Ask a Dermatopathology Lab

5 questions to ask your pathology lab
are staff board certified
focused on the client
whole-slide image experience
promote community specialty
prioritize confidentiality
contact pathologywatch today
Are you searching for a new dermatopathology lab? With the onset of digital pathology, finding a lab that is not only equipped with this innovation but also qualified to process whole-slide images swiftly yet accurately may take some time. 

An NIH study found that three out of four respondents agreed that accurate diagnoses can be made with this technology, and over half (59 percent) agreed that the benefits of whole-slide imaging outweigh any concerns. If you plan to expand your practice to incorporate whole-slide imaging into your process, finding the right dermlab is an important first step. 

To ensure the ideal match, here are five questions to ask dermatopathology labs. 

1. Are they focused on the client? 

With more healthcare systems moving to a value-based care model, patient-centered care is essential to ensure the seamless delivery of quick results and effective treatment plans while providing as much information as possible about your patient’s condition. It’s difficult to reassure your patient that their treatment is a priority when the turnaround time for lab results takes several weeks. 

2. Are the lab techs board certified? 

Check to be sure that the lab technicians and specialists are educated and qualified to do their job. Although jobs as a general lab technician don’t require extensive college training, hands-on experience working in digital pathology is more specialized. 

As more labs implement digital technology into their lab processes, it’s important to clarify their expertise in operating the specialized equipment since it varies a great deal from handling glass slides and manually preparing lab test results.

3. Do they have experience using whole-slide imaging?

Digital technology and whole-slide imaging is expanding throughout the dermatopathology industry, with many implementing digital innovations into their processes. As mentioned earlier, make sure the lab you rely on for fast and accurate results knows how to operate this new technology. 

Research conducted by Joann G. Elmore, MD, MPH, and her team concludes that navigating digital whole-slide imaging is different from traditional microscopy. In whole-slide imaging, the pathologist is not confined to a physical microscope that requires a glass slide viewed through a lens to view the tissue sample. 

“Rather, the digitized images of the histology tissue sections are viewed on a computer screen using a pointing device such as a mouse, trackpad, or dedicated console to manipulate location and magnification of the image (pan and zoom),” says the research team. “The technology may be easily adapted to virtual reality glasses. Given these important differences between digital WSI and traditional microscopy, adoption and effective use of WSI in clinical practice requires exposure to and training using this new format.”

4. What tests do they perform?

Based on the region, some labs have more experience performing certain tests that are more pronounced in your customer base than others. For example, a dermlab in California will likely see more tests for melanoma because it has the most cases of skin cancer (11,450 new cases this year) in the nation. By comparison, Alaska has 110 melanoma cases. 

If your practice specializes in treatments more common in the area, you want to partner with a lab that is proficient in those tests.

5. Is patient confidentiality a priority?

The wave of digital technology within the dermatopathology field has provided unprecedented access to patient information. With that abundance of data comes a higher risk of HIPAA violations. Be sure to ask how the lab processes and organizes testing samples and inquire about their procedures for sharing results. 

“Using an electronic health record or EHR system offers you much better control over information security,” says Stephen O’Connor. “What’s more, the electronic version of the patient’s chart is now more convenient to share with other concerned parties.” 

To expand your practice, you need a dermlab that offers immediate and secure access to digital slides, fully interpreted pathology reports uploaded directly into your patient’s EMR, and personalized service through your own dedicated dermpath team with the flexibility to collaborate with your existing dermatopathology provider. 

To learn more about what PathologyWatch digital dermatopathology lab services can do to help expand your practice, click here

Digital Dermatopathology Digest: Identifying Hair Follicle Tumors

Images shown are not intended to be used for the diagnosis or treatment of a disease or condition.

There are a number of different hair follicle tumors, each with its own distinguishing features. In the Digital Dermatopathology Digest series, Rajni Mandal, MD, clinical research associate in dermatopathology for PathologyWatch, discusses these different variants in greater detail.

Trichilemmal cells come from the outer root sheath of the hair follicle. The cells show abrupt keratinization and pink to clear cytoplasm with a lack of keratohyalin granules.

Trichilemmoma cells have a lobular proliferation of cells that can push into the dermis. They can also present as pink to clear due to glycogen, and there can be peripheral palisading at the periphery of the islands as well as a thick pink basement membrane deposition. Multiple trichilemmomas are associated with Cowden syndrome.

Trichoadenoma cells can have multiple epithelial islands of keratin-filled cysts in the dermis. These cysts can frequently rupture, shoring a foreign body giant cell reaction to keratin fibers. Cyst islands are lined by epithelium, and the majority of the squamous epithelium lacks keratohyalin granules.

Trichoblastoma cells typically have multiple blue islands with fibrotic stroma and are associated with nevus sebaceous.

Cells on the trichofolliculoma, fibrofolliculoma, and trichodiscoma spectrum are all different stages of the same tumor. They can present with branches of anastomosing epithelium originating out of the hair follicle and often occur in small antigen hair follicles.

  • In a fibrofolliculoma, there can be a proliferation of fibrous cells or fibrous stroma, which can have a concentric pattern around the tumor.
  • Fibrous proliferations are most prominent in a trichodiscoma.
  • Cells can show peripheral palisading, but there is no retraction artifact or myxoid stroma surrounding them, which would be seen in basal cell carcinoma.
  • Multiple fibrofolliculomas and trichodiscomas are commonly associated with Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome.

The Digital Dermatopathology Digest series provides educational information for both students and professionals on a number of topics. To view the complete series, click here.