TDS Hosts 2021 Annual Fall Meeting Virtually, and We Can’t Wait

The Texas Dermatological Society (TDS) is getting ready to roll out the red carpet—Texas-style—for their 2021 Annual Fall Meeting

In preparation for this event, we sat down with Laura Madole, executive director at the TDS, to talk about the upcoming 2021 Annual Fall Meeting to be held virtually on September 24–25, 2021. In the past, the in-person TDS event welcomed almost 400 attendees to their annual spring and fall meetings. This time, TDS looks forward to hosting hundreds in a virtual setting. 

Despite the changes prompted by COVID-19, which forced TDS to cancel their spring 2020 event, Laura is confident that attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors will enjoy the unique features of this virtual meeting. 

“We were a little nervous,” admits Laura, concerning their switch to virtual meetings. “So while we hope we can open doors in the spring of 2022, the virtual event has been the next-best option.” In fact, the fall 2020 and spring 2021 TDS events attracted almost 500 attendees. 

The unexpected benefits of hosting a virtual event focus mainly on the accessibility of the event. “It opened up opportunities for us to connect with members living in rural areas or other members who are residents at Texas Tech, for example, who can’t easily get to these events,” she says.

Experience a Unique, Interactive Virtual Event

TDS is using a company called vFairs, which invites attendees to visit customizable virtual exhibit halls, rooms, and vendor booths. Attendees can reach out directly to exhibitors and sponsors via video chat or direct text messaging. Plus, all of the attendees are listed, so face-to-face chat is easy. 

Laura says that many of these attendees have known each other for years; it’s a fun and fantastic way to earn CME credits. But if this is a member’s first time attending the event, she has some tips for a successful virtual experience. 

“I recommend just going in and looking around within the platform: click around and get familiar with the layout. There’s an auditorium, a virtual lobby, a lounge, and several other rooms. I’d definitely utilize the chat feature at a meeting, so it feels like you’re surrounded by your friends and colleagues. It’s more fun when people can interact on the platform.”

The virtual element definitely encourages participation among residents who often have difficulty attending in-person events. Laura says that TDS usually hosts around seven podium presenters for the resident competition. But with virtual, they are delighted to offer 19 podium presenters this fall. 

Take Exhibitor Information with You

This is not a typical Zoom meeting. The vFairs platform provides a hotel lobby feel that engulfs attendees in a rich, virtual world filled with uniquely designed exhibits and booths. Guests can virtually stroll amid custom-designed booths, or they can move directly to a booth of their choice from a directory.

“While we enjoy meeting people face to face at events like this, virtually connecting with people who are genuinely interested in learning more about our technology is a fantastic opportunity,” says Rachel Reeg, senior sales director at PathologyWatch. “At in-person events, you compete with high-volume activity that can be distracting, and people often limit the time they spend at your booth. With the virtual briefcase, we can provide valuable information through video, downloadable case studies, ebooks, product information, and other resources that guests can look through when it’s convenient for them and reach out if they want to know more.”

After the conference, attendees will receive all of the information they saved in their virtual briefcase via email. This is a great feature for attendees to keep track of exhibitor information without the risk of losing papers or accidentally leaving them behind. Since the materials are digital, exhibitors can promote products and services through expanded forms of media; a feature that isn’t possible at in-person events. 

Host a Social Scene, Just on a Screen

For Laura, the conference is an ideal opportunity to interact with members. “There are many components of my job with the TDS. There are meetings, but there are also membership duties. There’s a financial side and boardwork, and grants, and grant-writing,” she says. “With all of those duties, it’s always a good refresher to be surrounded by our members and make personal connections. That interaction reminds me why I do the job that I do. I love it. I do it for my members, and I hope these meetings are a benefit to them.”

The event offers attendees required CME credits as well as the one-hour ethics credit required for those practicing in Texas. But the platform also hosts a background gamification. A visit to the leaderboard shows attendees how to accumulate points from participating in sessions, visiting exhibit booths, and more. 

“For those who are present, and based on the leaderboard points, I will be doing raffles throughout the conference,” says Laura, who promises some amazing prizes for the winners. 

Although hosting virtual events may be a temporary condition for TDS, Laura is partial to the idea of maintaining a virtual component to future events. “I would love to offer a virtual component to our events because it’s a member benefit,” she says. “Members being able to attend from anywhere in Texas if they can’t attend a physical event is huge.” 

She believes that incorporating virtual sessions or activities in conjunction with in-person events is a great offering for members. But the upcoming fall event is the main focus, and it’s shaping up to be “virtually” one of the most engaging, must-attend dermatology events of the season. 

For registration and event information, click here.

PW Recognized as One of Utah’s Fastest Emerging Companies 2021

The PathologyWatch team is thrilled and honored to be on the Utah Business Magazine’s Emerging Growth 2021 Fast 50 List of the state’s fastest-growing companies!

Utah Business and Bind Benefits hosted this year’s Fast 50 Awards Celebration on August 26th, 2021, at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City.

What Is a Fast 50 Emerging Company?

Fast 50 Award Lunch 2021

Each year, Utah Business (UB) presents a special category that showcases emerging companies that display exponential growth. PathologyWatch was one of those companies. 

UB celebrates these companies for their rapid revenue growth and business strategies, but the entrepreneurial spirit also inspires them.

PathologyWatch was honored as the groundbreaking leader of digital dermatopathology services, brilliantly combining state-of-the-art technology and clinical decision-making to deliver exceptional patient care.

Company rankings will be published in the September issue of Utah Business magazine.

To read the complete list of companies, click here

 

Greg Osmond Fast 50 2021

Are Your Billing and CPT Codes Up to Date?

The AMA released a list of CPT code updates and changes, notably for patient encounters, ordering tests, and discussions, among others. They reported 329 code changes in the most current CPT code edition, some of which impact dermatologists, pathologists, and dermatopathologists.

Although few dermatologists would take pride in their CPT coding skills, being proficient in billing practices can ensure the business side of your practice runs smoothly and gets reimbursed quickly. But as AMA announces major updates to their CPT coding sets, now is the time to check your CPT codes for accuracy and compliance.

There are a few factors that have impacted the need for changes: First, the shift toward value-based care; second, the Patients over Paperwork initiative launched by the US Department of Health and Human Services in 2017; and third, the onset of COVID-19, which required additional codes.

As healthcare systems transition to a VBC model, here’s why it’s important for your CPT codes to be current.  

Why Update CPT Codes?

In response to the growing concern among healthcare providers that the documentation requirements for billing weren’t benefiting patient care, the AMA set out to streamline the CPT coding process. 

According to the AMA, “The CPT code set continues to be modified to respond to the fast pace innovation among digital medicine services that can improve access to health care and improved health outcomes for patients across the country.”

By streamlining the standard for communicating healthcare procedures and services across healthcare teams and health systems, better CPT coding and billing procedures will reduce the cost of care while increasing the quality of care and expand access to it. In addition to preventing fraudulent claims and reducing the risk of monetary or legal penalties, other results may include more accurate billing and a reduction in claim denials, which can frustrate patients and impact a provider’s reputation.

“The AMA is attacking dysfunction in health care by removing obstacles and burdens that interfere with patient care,” the AMA says. “Our focus is on making technology an asset in the delivery of health care, not a burden.”

What CPT Code Changes Can We Expect for Pathology and Dermatopathology?

To focus on codes that impact the pathology, dermatology, and dermatopathology fields, APS Medical Billing released a CPT code change summary highlighting the most common CPT codes. You can access it here

For instance, although coding for inpatient encounters and consultations are not affected by these changes, doctors should note changes in codes 99201 through 99215 that pertain to outpatient office visits. “With these landmark changes, as approved by the CPT Editorial Panel, documentation for E/M office visits will now be centered around how physician think and take care of patients and not on mandatory standards that encouraged copy/paste and checking boxes,” says the AMA, adding that the goal of these coding changes is to decrease the overload of documentation and coding, cut down on unnecessary documentation, reduce audits, and make sure reimbursement for E/M is resource-based.

How Does EMR Technology Make It Easy to Update CPT Codes?

Fortunately, using EMR for your patients’ information makes it easy to update CPT code changes. EMR technology houses patient data in a secure location that is easy to organize and share with other healthcare providers, insurance companies, pharmacies, labs, other clinics, billing services, and more. Compared to traditional handwriting, an EMR facilitates the code assignment for billing, increases legibility to reduce errors, curtails paperwork, and eliminates duplicate tests.  

According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, “Documenting a patient’s record with all relevant and important facts, and having that information readily available, allows providers to furnish correct and appropriate services that can improve quality, safety, and efficiency.” 

If your clinic is considering updating to digital patient records, we’ve weighed some pros and cons of using an EMR system. Check it out! 

Dan Lambert Explains Business Interdependence in His Latest Forbes Article

How does one company become an influential fixture in a global culture? For Dan Lambert, CEO of PathologyWatch and member of the Forbes Young Entrepreneur Council, it requires interdependence.

Inspired by Apple’s focus on integration to lay the groundwork for a customer experience-centered digital transformation, Dan and the PathologyWatch team have worked to create their own “Apple moment” of interdependence.  “This is how we can reduce the cost of healthcare in the US without sacrificing quality,” says Dan.

In his latest Forbes article, Dan explains the competitive advantage of interdependence and how interdependence benefits healthcare. Here are some highlights from the article.

The Competitive Advantage of Interdependence

A product is interdependent when one part is made and delivered depending on the way another product is made and delivered. Apple perfected this process, and Salesforce uses this model as well. “Once an interdependent product delivers reliably for customers, its components and processes begin to become standardized,” says Dan. “At this point, suppliers can compete to deliver what have now become modules more cheaply and quickly.” 

Benefits of Interdependence in Healthcare

Part of what inspired the formation of PathologyWatch was dermatologists’ need for a complete pathology system. “They wanted digital pathology, EMR integrations, the ability to show the case to the patient and an expert opinion (or sometimes multiple expert opinions),” explains Dan. He adds, “PathologyWatch was created as a center of excellence for dermatopathology, where we aim to provide an optimized end-user experience for our dermatologists and integrated care for patients.”

The healthcare industry is rapidly adopting a model of interdependence to fuel patient-centric digital transformation as a strategy to reduce the cost of healthcare in the US without sacrificing quality. “I am cautiously optimistic that this new commitment to interdependence will yield better outcomes, lower costs and overall greater value in healthcare,” he says.

To read the full Forbes article, click here

PathologyWatch Boasts Key Addition to Its Roster of Dermatopathologists with Allison Readinger, MD

A leader in dermatology and dermatopathology, Allison Readinger, MD, joins PathologyWatch’s clinical team to assist in the growing landscape of digital healthcare.

Salt Lake City—March 7, 2021—PathologyWatch, a full-service digital pathology service, is pleased to welcome Allison Readinger, MD, to its clinical team. A highly qualified and respected dermatologist and dermatopathologist, Readinger brings a wealth of industry knowledge and innovation, coinciding with PathologyWatch’s mission to preserve and extend life for patients while reducing healthcare costs.

“We are pleased to have Dr. Readinger join us as a member of our clinical team. Her industry expertise and seasoned leadership skills make her a genuine asset,” said Dan Lambert, cofounder and chief executive officer of PathologyWatch. “Together, we are eager to expand our reach across the Texas market, positively impacting the lives of our healthcare providers and their patients.”

An alumnus of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Readinger is a board-certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist with over 15 years of experience. In October 2010, she opened Trinity Vista Dermatology to offer more dermatology services to the rapidly growing population of Fort Worth, Texas.

Readinger recently served as President of the Texas Dermatological Society and continues to advocate for patients, for physician and resident education, and for her specialty.

At her core, Readinger enjoys bonding with her patients, providing excellent care, and being at the forefront of advances in medical technology. With an understanding of the importance of attention to detail and personalized care in modern medicine, she makes an excellent addition to the PathologyWatch family.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the continued growth of digital dermatopathology,” said Readinger. “The landscape of digital dermatopathology is growing at a rapid pace, and I am eager to assist in the continued growth and progress of our field.”  She adds, “I hope to utilize digital dermatopathology to expand further my ability to offer great clinicopathologic correlation to my clients.”

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 partner 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.

3 Ways Locum Tenens Can Help Expand Your Pathology Lab

If you are exploring new ways to expand your pathology lab with additional services or you see a need to bolster your team to keep up with growing demands, hiring full-time pathologists may feel a little too risky. Rather than putting off your plans, have you considered locum tenens with on-demand dermatopathologists? 

A recent survey found that 69 percent of healthcare facility managers said they use at least one locum tenens provider in a typical month, while 19 percent said they use seven or more. They recognize the benefits that locum tenens provides, including consistent revenue, flexibility in patient care, and expanding access to patient care. Let’s discuss how each point may benefit you.

1. Protects Revenue Flow

How can you keep your lab running when your primary revenue generators need time off? Schedule a locum tenens dermatopathologist to cover for them. That means you can bill for services even when your primary providers are not available.  If we don’t have a physician working, that means we don’t have a nurse working, and it goes all the way down through the organization. So the locum physicians are an integral part of how we provide care,” says Kelly Cameron, a director of provider recruitment and retention.

Similarly, if a lab is short-handed on dermatopathologists, profits may be lost as clinics will be forced to send their work elsewhere to ensure appropriate turnaround times.  At PathologyWatch, our locum tenens dermatopathologists work remotely to easily transition between labs by using digital pathology tools that streamline tasks and create a more efficient and cost-saving process for you. That means you save on expenses for travel, housing, and per diems. Plus, our EMR interface provides quick access to results, patient information, health services partners, etc. Should you opt for virtual locum services, we offer secure, 24/7 access to your pathology slides.

2. Provides Flexibility in Patient Care 

An important step in patient care innovation is to provide specialized services your patients want and need. But it can be risky to explore new care models by hiring permanent staff. Our staff of board-certified, academic-level dermatopathologists provide expertise in the areas you may be considering in your clinic.  Do you want to specialize in rare skin diseases that are prevalent in your area? Test that service with a locum tenens dermatopathologist. If it’s successful, a locum tenens doctor can remain in place until a permanent position is filled. 

3. Expands Access to Patient Care

We’ve encountered at least two ways that locum tenens dermatopathologists can help your practice reach more patients. These include treating patients in rural or seasonally-impacted areas and using teledermatology for those who have difficulty visiting a doctor in person.  Many healthcare networks have opened up clinics in rural areas where fluctuations in seasonal work or outdoor recreation impact the volume and type of care patients need most.

For instance, a clinic located by heavy agricultural operations or popular recreation areas where people spend more time outdoors during the busy warmer months of the year will experience an influx of patients but may not need a full staff all year long. Locum tenens doctors are prepared to go where patient care is needed most. And when the busy season ends, it’s easy to reduce the staff size. 

As one of the most rapidly expanding branches of telemedicine, teledermatology is another way to utilize dermatopathology expertise and provide care for patients in remote locations. “Dermatology is particularly suitable for telemedical diagnosis and consultation due to its image‐based orientation in diagnostics,” says Peter Elsner. Since the COVID-19 onset, experts estimate at least half of all dermatologists practicing in the US use telehealth technology. 

If you are one of the 85 percent of healthcare facility managers who used locum tenens services within the past 12 months, you’ve likely benefited from the forward-thinking strategies many locum tenens used to bolster your practice. With PathologyWatch locum tenens dermatopathologists, your lab can maintain revenue while balancing the needs of your valued staff, use expertise to explore new care models, and utilize innovative digital technologies to create more efficient patient care processes. Although locum tenens services may be temporary, the proven solutions, expertise, and technology will remain.

For more information about our locum tenens services, email us at i[email protected].