Looking for a Medical Courier Service? Here Are 4 Questions to Ask

Medical courier services play an integral role across the healthcare industry. This expanding, $54.8 billion industry quickly responds to meet the specialized demands of today’s pathology clinics, with no signs of slowing down.  

A recent Market Analysis Report suggests that the popularity of medical couriers is impacted by an emphasis to improve the healthcare system by streamlining the growing need for quick transportation of samples and specimens for testing while reducing the cost of logistics. 

“As a dermatologist, I ultimately answer to my patient for the biopsy procedure as well as the pathology result,” explains April Larson, MD, VP of client experience and Advisory Board at PathologyWatch. “My work at PathologyWatch has taught me the importance of appropriate specimen labeling, handling, and chain of custody. It’s important to ask questions and make sure your courier has clear guidelines around the handling of medical specimens.”

As the desire for a quick turnaround time on lab work increases, you need a courier service you can count on. 

“A quality medical courier service is knowledgeable in the laws and customs of every product they transport. They’ll be able to handle the legal matters for you, giving you more time to focus on your business,” say experts at Mobile One Courier. “A medical courier service should also have the necessary equipment to keep your medical equipment, prescriptions, and specimens safe. Whether that involves a refrigerated car or just careful watching, they ensure that every package arrives undamaged.”

Factors like experience, property protection, and tracking tools are essential. If you are moving toward a medical courier service, here are four questions to ask.

1. Are they insured?

As the saying goes, always expect the unexpected. In unforeseen weather conditions or significant delays, even an accident, it’s important that your precious cargo is protected. Be sure to clarify whether or not the collateral and the driver are both insured.

2. Do they have experience handling specimens or other sensitive materials?

Medical couriers should be experienced with the intricacies of medical equipment and biological samples and understand the special conditions required for successful delivery. 

“Many specialty medications and medical tests must be maintained within a specific temperature range during shipment,” explains Benjamin Meskin, owner of Meslee Insurance Services, Inc. “To keep those items at the manufactured recommended temperature, they require special handling and storage during transport from shipper to recipient.” 

Be sure to ask how many years of experience the courier company has in healthcare. Studies show that 34 percent of medical couriers only work in the industry for one to two years before moving onto something else. In addition, inquire if the courier company requires that drivers complete specific training to ensure they understand the unique conditions for transporting specimens.

3. How do they track deliveries? 

An internal study from the University of Minnesota Medical Center laboratory found their facility could not account for about six to seven specimens per week, totaling around 30 specimens per month. That rate of error isn’t acceptable if you want to run a successful pathology practice. 

Every patient sample matters. This isn’t just a specimen—it’s your patient’s peace of mind. You need to work with a courier who shares that commitment to safeguarding your packages. Most courier services offer a real-time GPS tracking system to monitor their deliveries. This feature lets you check real-time locations to ensure your packages are moving in the right direction and will arrive when you expect them to.

4. Are the delivery drivers HIPAA compliant? 

Courier services are essential to patient care, but they are not part of the health care sector. However, courier companies still need to adhere to HIPAA standards. This is under the omnibus rule mandating compliance to the HIPAA privacy rule by business associates or entities engaged by individuals and businesses in the healthcare industry that help them complete industry-related activities and functions.

Larger courier companies are quick to advertise their HIPAA compliance, but if you prefer to use a local service, be sure to ask about it. 

Your practice relies on trusting doctor-patient relationships. Working with a medical courier service that supports a quick turnaround time on test results is essential to building and maintaining those relationships. You will find a great long-term partnership that provides quick results by asking about a courier’s specialized experience, tracking tools, and other support services.

Identifying Sweat Gland Tumors

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

In this episode of Digital Dermatology Digest, things are starting to heat up as dermatopathologist Rajni Mandal, MD, at PathologyWatch discusses sweat gland tumors.

What is a sweat gland tumor?

These skin tumors are often benign and derive from cells related to sweat glands. “Normal sweat glands have ducts and secretory components,” explains Dr. Mandal, noting the different appearance, which shows clear apocrine and eccrine cells.

Here are highlights of the four common types of sweat gland tumors.

  1. Hidradenoma papilliferum, which is common in the vulvar area. The distinct appearance of this dermal tumor includes papillary folds and the apocrine gland’s decapitation secretion.
  2. Papillary adenoma often appears in the axilla, the patient’s scalp, and other sites. This is a tumor of the skin, also known as eccrine papillary adenoma, where the tumor forms tubular and tubulopapillary structures.
  3. Apocrine hidrocystoma is common in the patient’s head and neck as well as the Moll’s gland in the eyelid. It’s a multiloculated cyst with apocrine cells and is often associated with Schöpf–Schulz–Passarge syndrome.
  4. Poroma is common on the patient’s palms, soles of their feet, and scalp. This benign adnexal neoplasm is composed of epithelial cells that show tubular (usually distal ductal) differentiation.

What is the treatment for sweat gland tumors?

Sweat gland tumors are often benign. However, some patients may prefer to have them removed surgically.

To learn more about this skin condition and other common diseases, join us for each episode of Digital Dermpath Digest right here on pathologywatch.com.

PathologyWatch Utilizes Digital Pathology to Help Dermatologists Maintain Optimal Patient Outcomes while Reducing Staff Burdens

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

 

Did you know your medical staff spends around 10 hours every week handling paperwork and administrative tasks? That’s an entire day lost on organizing paper forms and tracking down patient files. 

With increased demands for more personalized patient care paired with a need for more efficient workflow processes, many dermatologists are frustrated by inconsistent turnaround times on test slides or a lack of communication with their lab partners. 

Here’s the good news: Digital pathology is an innovative and effective option that streamlines lab testing, produces fast, accurate test results, and reduces staff burdens. 

“Whole-slide imaging has introduced measurable advantages that modern practices can use to improve workflow, decrease turnaround time, reduce errors, experience the instant access of an EMR interface, and take advantage of academic-level dermatopathologist reads,” says Greg Osmond, a board-certified pathologist, dermatopathologist, and chief medical officer and cofounder of PathologyWatch. “Put simply, digital dermatopathology cuts down on physician time and error, resulting in a simpler, more streamlined workflow and a high level of patient care and satisfaction.”

It’s time you partnered with a dermpath lab that can make a measurable difference in your dermatology practice. 

Here’s an easier way to improve patient care.

PathologyWatch is a full-service dermpath lab that helps you maintain optimal patient outcomes while reducing staff burdens. Our digital pathology solutions combine the expertise and cutting-edge technology of an academic center with a private lab’s efficiency and customer service.

PathologyWatch makes the digital pathology process simple by offering the following: 

  • Full EMR integration 
  • Direct reporting to your EMR 
  • Easy access to your digital slides 
  • Broad insurance coverage 
  • Academic-level reads 
  • 48-hour turnaround on most reports

In this video, learn how PathologyWatch simplifies the digital pathology process.  

We understand that your time is important. We also appreciate the value of improving patient outcomes, streamlining staff job duties, and tapping into academic-level reads. Our digital pathology technology was designed with you and your patients in mind.

If you’re interested in streamlining your workflow, increasing efficiency, and accessing digital pathology, contact PathologyWatch today.

Greg Osmond, MD, Is Featured in Orlando Medical News

What is the future of digital technology in pathology, and how are MedTech leaders like PathologyWatch creating a pathway for innovative patient care? 

These are some of the questions Greg Osmond, MD, cofounder and chief medical officer of PathologyWatch, discussed during his interview with Orlando Medical News.

“I have been privileged to train under, work in, and consult with some of the best hospital systems and pathology departments in the country,” said Osmond. “Health systems and providers are looking for ways to enhance efficiencies in providing care while simultaneously improving quality.”

Along with the expertise of cofounders Dan Lambert and Michael Torno, Greg Osmond recognizes the increased demand placed on dermatologists to improve workflow, decrease turnaround time on testing, and improve accuracy. Many dermatologists turn to innovations such as EMR interfacing and expanding access to dermatopathologist reads for solutions. 

In this interview, Osmond explains the growing interest in digital technology, the benefits, and the current challenges facing the dermatology practice. 

OMN: Why are dermatologists now becoming interested in this technology?

Greg: In the last decade alone, new cancer cases have risen 40 percent in the United States. Digital pathology has quickly proven itself as a viable option as diagnosis using digital slides has been shown to be equivalent to diagnosis from glass slides.

OMN: What are the benefits of adopting digital dermatopathology?

Greg: Whole-slide imaging has introduced measurable advantages that modern practices can use to improve workflow, decrease turnaround time, reduce errors, experience the instant access of an EMR interface, and take advantage of academic-level dermatopathologist reads. 

OMN: What are the current challenges, and how do we solve them?

Greg: Currently, there are four main barriers to enter digital dermatopathology: high acquisition costs, specialized software and hardware requirements, IT infrastructure demands, and insufficient quality of digital slides. PatholologyWatch gives dermatologists the ability to harness the benefits of digital pathology by circumventing these barriers. 

To read the full article, click here. Learn why there has never been a better time to go digital.

3 Reasons Why Seeing a Digital Slide Can Improve Dermatologist–Patient Communication

As healthcare moves toward a value-based model, patient-centered care is the focus of health delivery systems. In fact, the NIH states that “patient-centered care is a key component to ensure that all patients have access to the kind of care that works for them.” 

We believe at least two things bring the patient’s needs to the forefront of dermatological care: communication and digital technology. When combined, they create a healthy, comfortable environment for patients to not only see the images associated with their condition but to have detailed discussions about their treatment options. 

Can looking at a digital slide make a more satisfied patient? The truth is that it certainly helps. 

Based on groundbreaking research, a study published by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies found that “communicating the importance of medical evidence and a balanced representation of options is the first step toward accelerating patient engagement in shared decision making.” 

As many dermatopathology labs transition to digital technologies, doctors can use whole-slide images and viewers to visually supplement their discussions with patients and provide a deeper understanding of their diagnosis and treatment options. 

“If either the patient or healthcare provider lacks [a] clear understanding of the information conveyed, the delivery of care is compromised,” explains researcher Haran Ratna in a Harvard Public Health Review. 

According to the Harvard study, there is a three-pronged process for effective communication:

  1. Patients must feel comfortable discussing their healthcare concerns with healthcare workers.
  2. Healthcare workers must listen and interpret those concerns to respond appropriately.
  3. To prevent those complaints from recurring, workers must discuss those concerns with patients in a way that creates an understanding and empowers patients with preventative measures to maintain their health. 

In a survey about communicating medical evidence, only 59 percent of surveyed patients indicated feeling “extremely comfortable” asking their provider questions. Adding a visual element such as a digital slide to the dermatologist–patient discussion can be an effective way to illustrate a patient’s condition and address concerns about treatment options. Using digital slides can improve patient comprehension, encourage shared medical decisions, and improve overall patient care.

1. Improves Patient Comprehension

When patients can see the actual diagnosis, it bolsters better doctor–patient communication. In a survey of cancer patients, 75 percent indicated they were interested in a patient–pathologist consultation program to increase their understanding of the diagnosis. Sharing whole-slide images can help pathologists to better engage with patients by pointing out areas of concern, defining medical terms, and answering questions. 

“Patients with poor health literacy may not only have problems with reading, [but] they may also have problems with conceptualizing risk factors,” explains Ratna, adding that placing relevant images next to corresponding text and placing appropriate captions that highlight the areas of interest improves the readability of the patient’s materials and prepares them to help make informed decisions on their care. 

2. Encourages Shared Medical Decisions

Allen-Taintor Dermatology approached PathologyWatch for ways to improve their care delivery to patients. They learned how digital pathology provided not only a faster turnaround time for a patient’s lab results (turnaround time is now 75 percent faster with results often received within two days of submission), but it also enabled their dermatologists to use a digital slide to encourage a conversation about the patient’s biopsy results and possible cancer care. 

Studies show that 80 percent of patients expect their healthcare provider to share the whole truth about their diagnosis. More than two-thirds (69 percent) want their provider to be open about the risks of treatment options, so they understand how each may affect them. By seeing the diagnosis, patients can have a comprehensive and informed conversation with their healthcare provider.

3. Opens Opportunities to Improve Overall Communication Skills 

Today’s technologies make it easier than ever for dermatologists to welcome open communication with their patients. But digital slides and viewers won’t replace the need for dermatologists to create a personal, trusting, and relaxed environment for their patients to discuss their patient’s concerns or questions about the images they see and the care their condition may require. 

“Telling your employees about the importance of communication is not enough. Doctors and managers at your healthcare practice will need to model positive communication behavior to demonstrate how to do it,” says medical expert Simon Mikail. “After all, positive communication is a must-have if you want to enhance patient experience at your practice.”

It’s time for a new approach to dermatological care. By using digital technology services that provide fast lab results that you can share, your patients will feel seen, heard, and understood.

No EMR, No Problem

Dermatologists and other skin care providers depend on dermatopathologists to accurately diagnose and manage skin biopsies. The lifetime risk of an individual experiencing melanoma is about 2.6 percent, which means you need to create a dependable standard of care. When it comes to dermatology, providing your patients with reliable and efficient care requires partnering with dependable dermatopathologists who can accurately diagnose skin diseases. And that’s just the beginning.

Clear and timely communication between clinician and pathologist is also imperative to ensure accurate diagnosis and patient satisfaction. With information and specimens passing through several people before finally reaching the hands of a clinician, the risk of miscommunication may adversely affect the quality of care provided to dermatology patients. 

A digital dermatopathology lab partner like PathologyWatch can provide access to industry-leading biopsy reads to help maintain the quality of care you give to your patients. While the most common way these services relay this information is through Electronic Medical Records (EMR), you don’t need to have an EMR to benefit from these state-of-the-art services. Let’s dive into five of the most powerful ways working with a digital dermpath solution can benefit your practice.

Access to Academic-Level Reads

There is nothing more important in the healthcare industry than providing your patients with exceptional care, and dermatology is no exception. With over 200,000 Americans diagnosed with—and over 7,000 killed by—melanoma every year, it’s vital to rely on capable pathologists to avoid missing any possible cases of skin cancer. This requires having strong confidence in your pathologists and their ability to accurately diagnose all of your patients. 

To ensure positive care for your patients, look for a lab with years of experience and credible education. If you don’t have EMR, make sure to find a group that knows how to provide access to quality reads within the time you need it. With options for automatic faxing and other forms of digital communication, you can still get those reads as quickly as you need them. Let pathologists focus on the diagnosis so you can focus on providing an optimal level of patient care.

Quick Turnaround Times

The last thing you want is to keep your patient waiting for weeks before receiving a diagnosis. For instance, knowing the stage and location of a melanoma as quickly as possible can help you make faster decisions about which type of treatment will be best for your patient early on in the process. 

Working with PathologyWatch can help you access most academic-level dermpath reports within 48 hours, even without an EMR. Make sure to find a dermpath lab that makes delivering reads their priority, as quick diagnoses are vital to help you make fast decisions to help those who need it most. 

Easy Access to Quality Diagnostic Reports

While there are certainly advantages to using an EMR software, it’s not necessary when providing great patient care. You can still have access to the same high level of diagnostic reports. Cloud access to high-resolution digital slides and diagnostic reports allows you to view reports at the press of a button. In addition, there are options for automatic fax reports sent straight to your office. 

On top of searching for a lab that offers convenient access to reports, it’s also important to search for a solution that will protect patient data from any ongoing security breaches. Whether reports are stored on the Cloud or between fax machines, make sure to find a group that keeps the security of patient data at the forefront of their solutions. 

Communication with Experts throughout the Country

Sometimes you need a second opinion, especially when it comes to something as life-threatening as melanoma. Another professional’s experience and perspective could potentially help you provide better care for your patients. 

EMR isn’t required to connect dermatologists to pathologists when there are other digital solutions available. A full-service dermpath lab like PathologyWatch can provide real-time access to slides and quick responses from leading dermatopathologists around the world. Whether you need to discuss a particular case or learn more about new industry advances, having a group of experts by your side to provide any required advice is a significant advantage.

Responsive Customer Service

Whether you have a question about a diagnosis or a report or simply want to share clinical background about a particular case, relying on the lab’s customer service team is necessary to keep operations running normally. In a field that relies on quick and accurate communication, finding a lab that is easy to reach can make things much easier on you and your staff. 

At PathologyWatch, our team is dedicated to giving you all the tools you need to provide excellent care for your patients, which includes broad insurance options. We’re also committed to a high level of customer service and responsive communication. We’re there to support you however you need it.

PathologyWatch is driven to help dermatologists provide better care to their patients by delivering digital pathology services to dermatologists throughout the United States. With access to academic-level reads, quick turnaround times, quality diagnostic reports, communication with skin experts around the world, and quality customer service, we ensure you have the tools you need to provide quality healthcare. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you dial up the dermatology care you give your patients—with or without EMR.