Three days.

Three time zones.

One incredible experience.

That’s what we can expect from the International Confocal Working Group’s 2nd World Congress on Confocal Microscopy on May 21–23, 2021. 

This simulive interactive virtual event, sponsored by SUNY Downstate Departments of Pathology and Dermatology, will broadcast from Brisbane, Madrid, and Chicago.

We reached out to Nina McMurray, who, along with the Business Boutique team, is facilitating this virtual event. We wanted to learn more about in vivo and ex vivo laser scanning confocal microscopy and what we can expect from this year’s event. 

PathologyWatch: How are in vivo and ex vivo laser scanning confocal microscopy impacting the dermatopathology field?

Nina McMurray: In vivo reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) is noninvasive dermatopathology. RCM and histopathology alike have their advantages and disadvantages. By embracing both, we can not only improve patient satisfaction by avoiding scars and pain associated with unnecessary biopsies, but we can also deliver safer, higher-quality care by ensuring biopsies are taken from the most diagnostically important area and minimizing false-negative results related to histopathology sampling errors.

Ex vivo laser scanning microscopy may revolutionize and could eventually replace frozen-section pathology. However, the greatest impact it could have on dermatopathology is enabling real-time invasive biopsy diagnosis, bypassing the need for tissue processing.

PW: Have you seen significant adoption of this technology in the medical fields?

NM: Confocal microscopy is still most widely adopted in Europe due to differences in reimbursement and healthcare delivery. However, since the recent development of specific CPT codes, adoption has grown in the US. It is disseminating as more US doctors and patients learn about the technology and more insurance plans begin covering the procedure.

We are proud to say that all active pioneers of this technology are faculty at this meeting. The combined experience of the presenters is unsurpassed. Furthermore, these key opinion leaders are also renowned for their complementary expertise in their fields of medicine. 

PW: What sets this upcoming May 21–23 event above other virtual events? 

NM: This is a truly global event with 106 global experts from 22 countries, providing 113 lectures, and delivering 20 hours of CME-accredited points in three time zones. 

It is also the most comprehensive and inclusive meeting on this topic in history. Not only does this event provide the delegates with the highest level of the most up-to-date education on the current breakthroughs in the world of in vivo and ex vivo laser scanning confocal microscopy, but it is also delivered on an exciting interactive virtual site. This means you can speak directly with leading global experts or privately chat with colleagues from across the world in real time while sitting in the comfort of your own home.

You can raise your knowledge through high-quality education at an event that allows you to be safe and secure during the pandemic while simultaneously reducing your carbon footprint and minimizing your CME expenditure.

PW: How many people signed up for this event?

NM: Over 200 people have already registered. Pricing is set for accommodating so that we can reach as many of our students and fellows as well as our key physicians.

We have also set aside a pool of tickets for attendees with financial hardship. This event is barrier-free and inclusive. There is still time to book and spaces available, and no concerns about the impact of COVID, travel, or loss of earnings. We would love for you to join us!

PW: How has the response been since going virtual in 2021?

NM: There has been a buzz of excitement in the confocal community. The meeting had to be canceled last year due to the unprecedented effects of COVID-19. Melissa Gill and Orit Markowitz, the copresidents, were undeterred and have created this exciting platform to deliver the best of global experts. There is a real focus on the necessity of dermatology, pathology, and surgical specialists working together to ensure the safest forms of practice and best patient outcomes. The speakers and faculty are extremely excited to be a part of this meeting and deliver cutting-edge education to the broader community. This meeting is breaking boundaries educationally and in delivery alike. 

PW: What can attendees expect to experience during this event? 

NM: Although virtual, this platform is a significant step away from Zoom. The event will take place live across three different time zones, ensuring the delegates can interact with the speakers, ask questions, meet privately in the chat rooms to discuss current topics, visit the booths of their top manufacturers and companies in the exhibition hall, and visit the abstracts room to see what’s new in the world of confocal microscopy. 

In fact, it has been suggested that you will have better direct contact with these experts within this platform while also interacting with some of the key manufacturers and companies within a virtual exhibition. 

This interactive platform recreates the convention center experience but without the usual challenges of navigating the space. Moreover, direct access to global experts across multiple disciplines over three days sets this meeting apart from in-person and Zoom-style meetings. Certainly, everyone is ready to get together, share their knowledge, and deliver the most up-to-date trials and studies published. There will even be an interactive quiz and opportunities to win some very exciting prizes throughout the event.

PW: What can participants hope to take away from attending this event?

NM: To ensure active learning and development, we want our participants to enjoy the whole experience. We want our attendees to become part of our confocal microscopy community, enjoy sharing and learning from one another in a global setting, and have fun! Our mission is to grow the field of confocal microscopy through collaboration, inclusion, and education to improve patient safety and outcomes. 

Clinically, the key learning objectives are below:

  • Understand how in vivo and/or ex vivo confocal microscopy could be incorporated into the dermatologist, surgeon, or pathologist’s workflow to improve patient care
  • Identify the many applications of in vivo and ex vivo confocal microscopy
  • Improve diagnostic confidence and accuracy by incorporating recent advances in image acquisition and interpretation in addition to quality control steps when utilizing RCM for the diagnosis and management of a variety of skin diseases
  • Assess clinical endpoints while also evaluating potential complications and/or pitfalls when using confocal microscopy
  • Understand how machine learning techniques are being applied in the field of confocal microscopy

PathologyWatch will be there! Be sure to visit the PathologyWatch booth to discover what makes us the groundbreaking leader of digital dermatopathology services. Our friendly pathologists and representatives can answer your questions about our full-service dermpath lab and share the ways we can help you maintain optimal patient outcomes while reducing staff burdens.

For more information on the International Confocal Working Group’s 2nd World Congress on Confocal Microscopy on May 21–23, click here.