Oct 25, 2022 | Digital Pathology, Uncategorized
The digital pathology industry is expected to grow from $736 million in 2021 to $1.37 billion by 2026. PathologyWatch is emerging as an industry leader, blazing a trail for patient care like no other.
In a MedTech Strategist feature, CEO Dan Lambert describes PathologyWatch’s unique position in the dermatopathology space, its success in building a workflow from start to finish, and its unprecedented opportunity to transform the future. Read a few highlights here, or visit this link for the full article.
What Makes PathologyWatch Unique
There are 25 million skin biopsies performed in the US each year and, while many are benign, it is estimated that there will be 99,780 new melanoma diagnoses in 2022. Melanoma is a serious form of cancer that, if left untreated, can metastasize and quickly become fatal. The world is in dire need of a reliable and efficient solution to diagnose skin cancer.
With its focus on dermatology and cutting-edge tools, PathologyWatch is in a unique position to address this critical issue. Unlike other digital pathology companies, PathologyWatch works mostly with outpatient clinics rather than hospitals. This means that PathologyWatch is involved throughout the entirety of the testing and diagnosis process.
Building a Digital Pathology Workflow from Start to Finish
PathologyWatch’s clients asked for more than just a “piecemeal” solution—they wanted involvement at every point in the process. According to Lambert, “They wanted us to manage the transportation of the tissue sample, the courier system, the insurance billing, enhanced bidirectional interfacing, and everything in between.” This was a challenge since they “had to integrate a lot of systems that didn’t talk to each other.”
Lambert adds, “The firm had to build the laboratories, develop a laboratory information system to specifically track skin specimens, buy scanners, create a digital platform usable anywhere (not just in the laboratory setting), forge agreements with payors and partners, and connect with all the major electronic medical record providers in dermatology.”
PathologyWatch was able to successfully build a workflow integrating all the pieces from start to finish. The system integrates with the electronic medical records of Modernizing Medicine, EZDERM, and eClinicalWorks, which cover app. 90 percent of dermatology practices, and the company receives samples from over 120 dermatology clinics, with near perfect client retention.
The Advantage of Control
This fully-integrated system has granted PathologyWatch the control necessary to get accurate, detailed results. “In our own environment, we can assure the quality and standardization of the techniques used to generate a digital image. This means better outcomes for AI. You can get amazing sensitivity and specificity when you take the right algorithmic approach while simultaneously operating in controlled laboratory conditions,” says Lambert.
To read the full article, click here.
Mar 16, 2022 | Dermatology Practice, Uncategorized
By Darren Whittemore, DO
To increase revenue and expand your patient base, you may have tried engaging with people on social media, advertising special service packages, or even parking a dancing balloon guy on the curb by your derm practice to drum up business. Nothing seems to work.
Serious change requires serious strategies. By tracking changes in billing and health insurance requirements and offering your resources and expertise to support pharmaceutical companies as they use technology to gather research data, you can uncover additional ways to help your practice grow. So give the dancing balloon guy the day off, and let’s explore four hidden revenue-building opportunities that can help point your derm practice in the right direction.
Outsource Medical Billing
Unless your accounts team has expertise in ever-changing CPT codes, AFA policies, and other Medicare, value-based care reimbursement guidelines, outsourcing medical billing is a popular and cost-effective option. Around 90 percent of healthcare leaders have considered outsourcing in both clinical and nonclinical functions to be more cost-efficient and better equipped to handle value-based care models. And here’s why:
A recent survey by Harmony Healthcare found that 33 percent of hospital executives reported the average claims denial rate hovering around 10 percent. In fact, across the nation, hospitals face average denial rates between 6 and 13 percent. When rejections occur, you need an experienced team that can respond quickly and are better equipped to handle changing requirements for medical reimbursements.
For example, board-certified dermatologist Dina Strachan, M.D., at Aglow Dermatology in New York, notes that every step needed to collect money from both patients and insurance comes with a cost attached. There is a huge time factor involved in understanding the fine print of the myriad high-deductible plans, and a lot of time is tied up in collecting and processing bills. By outsourcing billing, and placing a link on her website where payments can be made, a lot of time is recaptured.
“We don’t have to spend time opening and sorting mail, punching in, and processing credit card payments—it’s a time savings,” she said.
Apply to Host a Clinical Trial
Emerging cloud technologies are helping pharmaceutical companies tap into innovative alternatives for collecting rich, segmented research data. ClinicalTrials.gov currently lists 404,694 studies with locations in all 50 States and in 220 countries.
With in-person testing sites no longer being the only option for research, pharma can use both virtual and hybrid models to collect data.
Depending on the length of the study and the interaction levels required by the clinical trial directors, pharmaceutical companies will often pay clinics willing to dedicate their time and resources to help facilitate a relevant clinical trial.
Along with the revenue potential, most healthcare providers enjoy the option to provide their patients with the most recent treatments available, particularly in skin cancer and other chronic cases. According to the Dermatology Learning Network, interviews with dermatologists that have participated in clinical research show they can be professionally, intellectually, and financially rewarding.
“It allows you to give your patients cutting-edge treatment at a severely discounted price or for free,” said Dr. Mitchel Goldman, medical director of La Jolla Spa MD, in La Jolla, California.
In addition to the excitement of being involved in the development of new products and offering patients new treatment options, Steven R. Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC, noted the potential financial benefit to practices as well.
“In an era where managed care is paying less for each office visit, you can charge your usual office rate,” Feldman said in reference to patients enrolled in trials.
Reexamine Health Insurance Partnerships
Over the past 20 years, health insurance companies have consolidated to cut costs, meet higher demands, and, in some cases, move toward the government and individual health insurance markets under the Affordable Healthcare Act. This transition has given health insurance companies an advantage over physicians.
“Most dermatology practices lack the scale to negotiate with large health insurance companies on an even playing field,” Todd Petersen, CEO of Vitalskin Dermatology, explains. “These terms set year-over-year reimbursement rates and allow the insurance company to set billing, coding and utilization management rules. Consequently, nominal year-over-year increases can be largely offset by increased denial rates and tighter billing and coding rules.”
Although dermatology costs aren’t a high price point for health insurance carriers (accounting for less than 2 percent of medical costs), Petersen points out that pharmaceutical spending for dermatology-related drugs, such as psoriasis-related treatments, accounts for 6.5 percent of total spending with signs of future increases.
“For dermatology practices with market share and a large psoriasis patient population, using this strategy at the negotiating table may prove beneficial and provide the practice with improved revenues,” he says.
Invest in EMR Technology
Moving to digital-based technology, such as EMR or EHR, creates more efficient and profitable processes in a few ways:
- Participates in the Medicare Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
Values-based care and reimbursements are growing and allow for additional revenue streams. EMR technology is required for billing compliance and patient dashboard access and to collect data and submit electronic data to CMS. According to Petersen, the initial investment cost of EHR technology will pay itself off down the road. “When considering whether to make the investment of complying with MIPS, consider the following: value-based reimbursement is not going away, and many practices have found the implementation of EHRs has helped them improve their billing compliance,” he writes.
- Enables faster turnaround times for lab test results
For Allen-Taintor Dermatology, not only did partnering with a lab that specializes in digital dermatopathology provide a faster turnaround time for 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. As faster turnaround time increases the speed of business, more patients can flow through the practice with increased revenue as a result.
- Expands access to care
Digital-based patient files mean doctors aren’t limited by location to reach out for expertise on a patient’s case. With digital technology, a specialist in Boston or Switzerland can securely review a patient file and discuss a diagnosis in real time with the dermatologist. That leads to quicker results and prompt patient care, which again improves revenue.
With the dermatology field expected to grow by almost 11.4 percent by 2026, dermatologists can leverage revenue-building strategies by reducing overhead costs through outsourced billing services, research reimbursement rates with health insurance and government health program partnerships, participate in clinical trials, and expand digital patient care services. By tapping into these revenue outlets, you can help to prepare your derm practice for a future of growth.
Jan 6, 2022 | Dermatopathology Lab, Pathology Business, Press Release, Uncategorized
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].
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.
Oct 8, 2021 | Digital Pathology, Uncategorized
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.
Sep 7, 2021 | Uncategorized
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.
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.
Jun 11, 2021 | Digital Pathology, Uncategorized
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.