Meet Greg Osmond, MD, Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder of PathologyWatch 

For over 15 years, Greg Osmond has been studying the growing field of dermatopathology and accompanying forms of cancer. He is a board-certified pathologist and dermatopathologist and an expert on cutaneous disease. 

During his residency at Duke University, Greg participated in the Health Policy Law and Ethics concentration track, where he focused on novel business models surrounding the implementation of digital pathology with an emphasis on dermatology. Following his residency, he completed a fellowship in dermatopathology in the combined Harvard program, rotating between Beth Israel Deaconess, Brigham & Women’s, and Massachusetts General Hospitals. 

While Pathology Watch currently focuses its laboratory services to dermatologists within the United States, Greg is looking forward to expanding the capabilities and accessibility of specialized diagnoses and treatment through the use of digital pathology and supervised artificial intelligence in underdeveloped settings.

We sat down with Greg to learn more about his connection with digital pathology as well as his vision for PathologyWatch and its influence on the dermatology field. 

At what point in your education did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in dermatopathology?

I spent my third year of medical school at Duke in dermatology clinics and performing melanoma research. As part of those endeavors, I worked extensively with the staff dermatopathologists and discovered that I enjoyed my time at the microscope more than my time in clinic, though I have always enjoyed both.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in dermatopathology?

I find the most satisfaction when I take a deep dive into unusual cases in order to come up with the best answer and most helpful results to the clinician and patient. Sometimes, answers aren’t clear-cut on the pathology slides, and more involved correlation with clinical findings and the literature are needed to issue a report that is helpful. Generating a concise but clinically helpful report in these instances is the most rewarding.

What made you want to develop PathologyWatch

I have been privileged to train under, work in, and consult with some of the best hospital systems and pathology departments in the country. However, within each center, there is a noticeable disconnect between the technology being used in other industries and systems commonly employed in the healthcare settings. At the same time, health systems and providers are also looking for ways to enhance efficiencies in providing care while simultaneously noticeably improving quality. We have created PathologyWatch to solve these issues simultaneously within anatomic pathology using cutting-edge digital technologies as the foundation. 

What is it about your experience and/or background that helps you bring something unique to PathologyWatch?

I think my strongest asset for PathologyWatch has been to help gather outstanding people to work with. I would say that goes for my co-founders Dan and Michael as well. We’ve gathered excellent, dedicated people with incredible skill sets that are focused on the problem, but also have a high level of integrity and character; these are people that I genuinely enjoy interacting with.

When it comes to serving dermatologists, what matters most to you?

I believe the best way to serve dermatologists is to set up and optimize our systems and services so they are focused on the patient experience. Patients come first at PathologyWatch, and we develop our systems to be optimally efficient for them. The beautiful thing is that what improves care for patients also seems to serve dermatologists best. This includes

  1. the quality of the diagnosis and report format,
  2. optimal interfacing to minimize patient errors and get results to the provider in their EMR faster,
  3. enhancing the dermatologist’s ability to easily correlate pathology with clinical findings via immediate 24/7 access to diagnostic slides that have been digitized,
  4. 24/48-hour turnaround time on routine specimens, as well as on cases when additional consultation may be needed,
  5. having dermpaths available to view digital slides with dermatologists as needed,
  6. having comprehensive insurance coverage, and
  7. reasonable cash pay prices.

Focusing on what we would want if we were the patient has been the guiding principle for us. Patients get a better answer when derms work with digital tech. This also includes the underdeveloped world. When you learn that 45 percent of the world doesn’t currently have access to diagnostics, largely due to the cost of care, you want to do something to change that. Optimally developed algorithms working in tandem with an expert pathology service model will hopefully not only improve the quality of care but also allow for the cost of care to drop to an affordable price point for all patients, both domestically and internationally. That’s our goal. 

What’s an interesting fun fact about Greg Osmond? 

I lived in rural Honduras for a few years during college. I enjoy music production and downhill skiing, so living in Utah has been great. But I spend most of my free time exploring the red rocks of Southern Utah with my wife and five kids. We had twins a few years ago, and that definitely keeps us busy.

*PathologyWatch dermatopathologists use an independently validated digital software platform. The systems referenced are not FDA approved for use in primary digital diagnosis. Digital images may be made available to referring dermatology providers upon request through a digital display. Displays used are FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH USE ONLY, NOT FOR USE IN DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES. When referring providers or other providers choose to perform primary interpretation on any specimen, the corresponding glass slides are mailed for diagnostic purposes. For more information, please contact [email protected].

How to Vet a Qualified Dermatopathology Group

You have invested valuable time and resources to ensure your dermatology clinic offers patients a professional and confidence-earning experience. As such, it’s vital to ensure your practice aligns with a qualified dermatopathology group to provide the highest level of service and help secure long-term patient loyalty.

Developing a solid reputation in your community and throughout the healthcare industry requires dedication and paying close attention to the details. Focusing that same energy into vetting the training, experience, and reporting and communication skills of dermatopathology groups will help you align with a professional group that strengthens your practice.

Appropriate Training
Verifying a dermatopathologist is certified from an accredited institution is the first and most crucial checkbox in your evaluation. In the US, there are only 53 fellowship training programs for dermatopathology. Completing one of these competitive, board-certified programs confirms a dermatopathologist is trained in all aspects of laboratory and diagnostic dermatopathology. 

Certification also indicates the dermatopathologist worked with a variety and high quantity of skin specimens in training. As a result, the individual should have the ability to diagnose a variety of dermatological conditions with confidence.

While certification is a sign of proper training, it does not always signify that the dermatopathologist was exposed to world-class facilities and the latest in pathology technology. Many programs embrace the cutting-edge convenience and efficiency of digital pathology, which PathologyWatch makes available in the private sector. However, just as certification is a sign of proper training, it’s equally essential that dermatopathologists don’t let their board certification lapse, as 7 percent of practicing pathologists are not board-certified.

Measurable Experience
Once a dermatopathologist receives certification, it’s important to note where and how long she or he has practiced. While nearly 25 percent of dermatopathologists pursue careers in academia, the majority turn to the private sector to work in hospitals and pathology laboratories. 

With a workload that can increase 5 to 10 percent annually, pathologists working in busy labs have experience reviewing a large number of skin biopsies that feature a broad assortment of conditions. On the other hand, an individual working at a smaller hospital may have limited experience when it comes to variety or volume. 

Clear Reporting and Communication
It is also vital to determine if the dermatopathology group you are considering can communicate clearly and with scientific accuracy. While errors occur in only 1 percent of pathology reporting, that’s still enough to impact patient care and introduce legal repercussions.

Instead of long reports that don’t provide direct answers, consider dermatopathologists who convey what they know with self-assurance. In cases where they don’t feel 100 percent sure about a diagnosis, it’s equally important to know they will seek second opinions.

A valuable dermatopathology partner will be available to communicate whenever you have questions about a diagnosis. In addition to accessibility, make sure the dermatopathologist is comfortable talking about correlating diagnosis with clinical features and using correct medical terms. 

The safety and satisfaction of your patients are in your hands. Seeking a qualified dermatopathology group with the right training, experience, and communication skills will help you provide the quality of care that your dermatology clinic deserves.

 

*PathologyWatch dermatopathologists use an independently validated digital software platform. The systems referenced are not FDA approved for use in primary digital diagnosis. Digital images may be made available to referring dermatology providers upon request through a digital display. Displays used are FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH USE ONLY, NOT FOR USE IN DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURES. When referring providers or other providers choose to perform primary interpretation on any specimen, the corresponding glass slides are mailed for diagnostic purposes. For more information, please contact [email protected].