PathologyWatch Raises $25M to Advance AI-Driven Skincare Research and Diagnostics

The Series B funding round will help PathologyWatch digitize biopsies, increase access to top skincare physicians and further AI research.

SALT LAKE CITY, November 16, 2021—PathologyWatch, the leading digital lab and pathology platform for dermatologists, announced today that it has raised $25M in Series B financing with participation from Ceros Capital Markets, Rock Creek Capital, SpringTide, Spark Growth Ventures, Blueprint Health, Blackbrook Management Group and existing investors.

With the new funding, PathologyWatch will broaden its outreach to dermatologists and conduct further research into skincare diagnostics and AI – allowing patients to receive faster diagnoses and more equitable access to dermatopathology services while enabling labs to work more efficiently and cost-effectively. Additionally, the funding will support operations as the business expands across the country, adding new labs in Texas, Florida and Arizona.

“We are honored that of all the digital dermpath labs available, dermatologists are increasingly choosing to partner with us,” said Dan Lambert, PathologyWatch CEO and cofounder. “As digital dermatopathology continues to grow, it has the potential to reduce the costs of pathology by billions while creating better patient care for everyone across the country. We’re thrilled to be winning so much volume so quickly.”

PathologyWatch provides fully interfaced EMR reporting and 24/7 access to digital slides for dermatology clinics. For their clients, this means more-efficient workflows and direct access to leading dermatopathologists across the country, with broad insurance coverage. PathologyWatch has successfully integrated laboratory information systems, scanners, digital viewer technology and EMRs into an end-to-end solution for dermatologists.

“PathologyWatch has been disruptive to the market and is digitally transforming the industry in unprecedented ways,” said Mark Goldwasser, CEO of Ceros. “With the need for remote health services during COVID, the distributed network of top-tier dermatopathologists alongside a digital viewer that can be accessed anytime and anywhere could not have come at a more fortuitous time.”

“For a dermatology practice to send nearly all skin biopsy volume for cancer diagnosis to PathologyWatch is a no-brainer,” said Austin Walters, founder and managing partner at SpringTide. “The company has worked hard to create a service that outperforms every other from both cost and quality perspectives.”

“Dan is a driven entrepreneur with social good in mind,” said Ryan Brooks, principal at Blackbrook Management Group. “We are part of a cause, not just an investment capital endeavor. In the past, I have been a patient waiting for pathology to come back. When you are waiting for results that could change your life dramatically, you want doctors and tech you can depend on. PathologyWatch will enhance the human experience and enable dermatopathologists to do a better job.”

“I am proud to support PathologyWatch’s mission to provide premier, accessible and affordable digital pathology services to the world,” said Rick Stratford, managing director of Rock Creek Capital. “The ability to provide top-tier pathology services to all communities regardless of location brings hope to patients in underserved areas and can save countless lives. PathologyWatch and other digital platforms like it are democratizing healthcare services and bringing hope and change to our healthcare systems.”

For more information about PathologyWatch, visit pathologywatch.com or contact [email protected]

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 in-house lab services. 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.

Digital Technology Benefits Patients AND the Rural Clinics That Treat Them—Here’s How

Since the pandemic’s onset, we’ve learned a lot about the impact of digital technologies like telehealth services and remote patient care models. These services have been pivotal for ensuring the nearly 78 million people who live in rural communities across the US have access to a healthcare provider.

But telecommunications and digital pathology capabilities within rural clinics also benefit primary healthcare providers by elevating the quality of patient care they can provide with no heavy investment in lab equipment or additional staff. 

With a digital pathology workflow, your patient’s lab results are sent electronically directly to each patient’s EMR. Plus, a digital image of your patient’s results makes it possible to collaborate with expert dermatopathologists from all over the country to utilize their expertise for the best care options possible.

Let’s talk about the current state of healthcare in rural communities and how the need for alternatives in delivering patient care, including specialized care, is in sync with digital technology capabilities. Then, we’ll explore how transitioning to digital technology doesn’t require more overhead costs. Instead, it empowers your rural clinics to expand accessibility and be more effective with existing staff. Here’s how. 

Understanding the Doctor-to-Rural-Patient Ratio

First, let’s understand what doctors in rural communities face. The National Rural Health Association says the ratio of doctors to the population in the rural communities they serve averages around 39.8 physicians per 100,000 people. This is compared to 53.3 physicians per 100,000 in urban areas. Access to specialized care is even lower, with only around 30 specialists serving 100,000 people in rural areas. These facts underline how critical it is for technology to bridge the gap between modernized healthcare and America’s rural regions. 

Comparing General Clinical Care to Specialized Care

In many cases, rural clinics staff medical school residents who can provide effective general care. On any given day, these busy rural clinics respond to various patient care needs ranging from setting bone fractures and running a lab test for a bladder infection to vaccinating an infant. 

But what about chronic skin conditions? An NIH study found that rural communities in Texas, for instance, experience higher incidences of cancer than urban areas, particularly melanoma, which accounts for over 7,000 deaths each year. And in Utah—which holds the rather dubious honor of reporting the highest incidences of melanoma and mortality rates in the US (80 percent higher than the national average)—96 percent of its land is rural or frontier. 

“Patients from rural and frontier counties may have different pathways of care to a melanoma diagnosis,” explains Tawnya L. Bowles and her research team. “Rural patients may not have proximity to a diagnosing provider and the specialty of the diagnosing provider may be different compared with urban patients. Furthermore, patient and tumor characteristics may also be influenced by rural residence.”

With early detection playing such a huge role in successfully treating chronic skin diseases, how can rural clinics best deliver optimal care without increasing overhead costs? Simple: Bring the dermpath lab and their team of specialists to the clinic. And that’s where digital technology comes into play.

Digital Technology: A Modernized Tool for Accessible Specialized Care

In any pathology case, tissue samples of the affected area must be collected, then processed in a pathology lab. Digital dermpath specialists add an additional process of digitizing slides in a scanner, which allows for improved access to whole-slide images for both the requesting physician and the dermpath lab, typically resulting in a shorter diagnostic turnaround time.

But here’s where rural clinics benefit from this technology: Since the process is virtual, slides can be instantly shared with specialists anywhere in the world. Some dermpath labs—including PathologyWatch—also have specialists in other fields on staff, allowing them to have even more immediate access to virtual slides after they’ve been digitized without needing to send glass for a consultation.

A dermatopathologist’s understanding of skin diseases includes knowing which ones can indicate something else, such as systemic diseases found in other parts of the body that may present dermatologically. Through digital dermatopathology, dermpaths can conveniently review and share slides with specialists familiar with these indicators and include those specialists’ findings as part of their report. 

Enhanced Patient Care

Understanding the correlation between dermatopathology findings and disease with readily available access to specialists can ultimately result in improved patient care. Once a diagnosis has been established, a primary care physician can take a swift and appropriate course of action. With digital technology, doctors can treat patients anywhere without requiring more full-time staff or expensive lab equipment. 

Compared to traditional pathology practices, digital pathology provides a strategic resource in qualitative analysis and reduces errors through the conversion of slides into digital imagery.

With an extensive network of specialists in multiple fields, digital dermpath labs can generate more detailed reports based on additional findings through collaboration achieved by sharing these high-resolution digital slides with specialists. That means a rural clinic in Hurricane, UT, can feel confident that they are providing the same caliber of specialized care for their patients as those treated in larger cities. 

Digital pathology can transform your rural clinics by offering patient care services that weren’t possible a decade ago. With digital technology as the foundation of your care delivery process, your staff will provide the most innovative dermatological care available, partnered with a personalized and caring patient experience. 

Contact us today for a free demo if you’re interested in learning more about how PathologyWatch, our team of dermatopathologists, and our network of dermatopathologists can help you.

3 Benefits of Using Digital Pathology Services

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

Digital pathology services are expected to grow roughly 8 percent in 2021 as a result of the growing demand for its use due to COVID-19. One survey of 261 people in the pathology industry found that between 72 and 90 percent of respondents believe that the use of digital pathology education tools will remain the same or increase moving forward.

The advancement of digital pathology services has streamlined the workflow process, changing the field of dermatopathology for the better. Though there are multiple benefits to using digital pathology, we’re going to examine the most prominent potential benefits, including modernized access, better opportunities for collaboration, and improved patient care.

Modernized Access

Though digital pathology provides a number of benefits, the technology is still relatively new in the field. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the first whole-slide imaging device in the United States in 2017, followed by a second system in 2019, allowing for collected skin, hair, and nail tissue samples to be digitized.

After a sample has been digitized, dermatopathologists can analyze and pass along their findings digitally. Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, this access can play an important part in delivering timely treatment or management options to patients.

With cases and slides organized in the digital slide viewer, like the one offered by PathologyWatch, dermatopathologists can review specimens and generate reports of their findings possibly more efficiently than traditional microscopy. Unlike handling glass slides, whole-slide images are available any place and any time with an internet connection. 

Dermatology practices also benefit from digital pathology. EMR integration means less paperwork, which can reduce hand-written errors and lighten staff burdens. Additionally, dermatologists can pull up digital slides thanks to improved access when explaining a diagnosis to a patient in order to help answer their questions.

Better Collaborative Opportunities

In the same vein as the improved accessibility, digitized slides can also be shared with colleagues more easily, potentially allowing for more collaboration between dermatopathologists. If a second opinion is required to confirm a particular condition, digital pathology can help dermatopathologists to share virtual slides with specialists anywhere in the world in an instant. In the past, this process would have required packaging, labeling, and mailing a sample to a lab, where it would then need to be received, processed, and distributed to another dermatopathologist, which could have taken days or even weeks. 

Because dermatopathologists generate digital reports detailing their interpretation of samples, this ability to collaborate more effectively allows for specialists to better ensure an accurate diagnosis. Digital samples can also be compared to catalogs of previous historical data, which can be linked in the dermatopathologist’s report as evidence to support their findings.

Improved Patient Care

Building on the first two points, the improved accessibility and greater opportunity for collaboration through digital pathology may ultimately provide better patient care. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, when a pathologist is able to engage directly with the treating clinician, they can reduce days of unnecessary waiting in sending their report, increasing the chances of determining an effective treatment plan for the patient. Digital pathology can bridge this gap, allowing a pathologist to make their analysis and possibly report it more efficiently.

When a patient hears that additional testing is needed, they may start to worry. In fact, in a 2020 report from the Emergency Care Research Institute, the number one concern among patients was an incorrect or delayed diagnosis, so it’s important to work both quickly and effectively to help alleviate the patient’s concerns. In the event that a dermatopathologist’s findings suggest a more intensive course of treatment, the ability to receive that information faster can potentially help a dermatologist get the patient started on their treatment regimen more quickly.

The benefits of using digital pathology services stretch well beyond this list, but now you have some idea of how it allows for better collaboration through modernized access, ultimately improving the overall patient experience. Contact PathologyWatch to learn more about how we can help you begin the process.

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

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.

The Pros and Cons of EMR Systems for Dermatologists

Running a promising dermatology clinic means continuously seeking ways to enhance patient care quality and maximize staff efficiency. For proof, consider that over 40 percent of practices claim to have implemented EMR systems to help them grow.

While implementing an EMR system for dermatologists has many advantages, there are still some disadvantages to consider. This article will look at the pros and cons of electronic medical record systems for dermatologists, including reducing paper, image management, billing, lab interaction, and EMR limitations to ensure you have the facts when considering ways to maintain quality diagnosis and patient care.

Reducing Paper

One main advantage to an EMR is the ability to access your notes and patient information anywhere. In an increasingly digital world, we are often communicating with patients while out of the office. Still, 25 percent of dermatologists continue to use traditional paper systems to support their operations.

Here are some of the standard paper shortcomings and the ways an EMR system solves them:

  • Repetitive tasks: Completing the same functions repeatedly takes time and energy away from vital patient interaction. In addition to autopopulating fields, an EMR sends data electronically, so it doesn’t have to be re-entered. 
  • Errors: Entering and re-entering data into the LIS introduces the possibility of human error. Entering data one time using an EMR removes the chance of making mistakes on repeat entries. 
  • Access: Pulling a patient’s paper file can only be done in the office, requiring time and physical space to store the physical records. Using electronic medical records means patient information is stored securely in the Cloud, which providers can instantly access from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection.

Unlike paper, EMR systems make it increasingly advantageous for dermatologists and their staff to do things more efficiently and conveniently. It is important to ensure staff is adequately trained on a new system and receives regular review sessions to maintain a good standard of EMR charting, as updates occur several times per year.

Managing Images

Patient images in dermatology are valuable, as much of the specialty relies on visual recognition. It is also important when tracking the correct site of a biopsy, especially for referring to other providers like Mohs surgeons. 

Digital images are easy to capture, but often cumbersome to organize. If not using an EMR, these will have to be organized in folders with patient name and date and kept in a secure digital environment. Many EMRs resolve this arduous process by allowing you to take photos within the patient chart and automatically assigns the images to the correct biopsy location. These images can be accessed immediately, making it easier for dermatologists to share them with partners and patients or review them on the next visit. Also, being able to review them in the context of your visit with relevant labs and other notes helps in diagnosis, especially of difficult cases.

Reliable Billing

While necessary, billing is not the favorite activity of most providers. However, billing takes time and diligence to communicate with insurance companies and resubmit claims when appropriate. With that in mind, another benefit of electronic medical records is the autobilling feature. 

Many EMRs will issue invoices based on coding applications. In addition, some EMR systems claim up to 98 percent first-pass claim acceptance, which means you and your staff can spend time focusing on patient care instead of going back and forth with insurance companies.

Also, EMRs automatically track any changes to Medicare’s Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), ensuring your practice receives accurate reimbursement for qualifying services. This eliminates manual tracking and helps you to maintain focus on patient care.

Lab Interaction

Communication with your dermatopathology lab partner is vital to ensure the highest quality of diagnosis for your patients. Full-service dermatopathology labs like PathologyWatch will integrate an EMR interface, which allows them to access the data and fields entered into your EMR system. 

Equally important, an EMR interface grants you instant lab results and images sent directly to your device. The EMR also helps you send e-faxes to providers or drop notes directly to the patient’s record, instead of requiring your staff to print out, fax, scan, and wait for a confirmation.

EMR Limitations

While EMR systems embed many time-saving and workflow advantages, they also contain quirks and constraints that users learn to navigate. For instance, 82 percent of physicians indicate it takes too long to enter data that isn’t directly related to patient care.

The EMR could also make it difficult to communicate outside of the prescribed default descriptions. Thus, if you indicate eczema when you’re trying to describe a rash, it may take you longer to type in a custom description than selecting the available options. To make the system work right, you have to be willing to customize your process with templates, adding quick text or macros when possible to aid in customizing each note, and take time to delete unused or irrelevant items within your templates. 

Sometimes, adding digital elements can create slow-downs if the interface is down or you experience an error after an update, for instance. This can be challenging if you can’t print out a requisition from your EMR or can’t access patient records while you are seeing patients in the clinic.

In the end, the benefits of implementing an EMR into your dermatology practice often outweigh the disadvantages. By understanding how EMR systems can reduce your reliance on paper, manage images, increase billing efficiency, and boost lab communication, your clinic can make a qualified decision that can help you continue to provide quality care for your patients.