1. Reliable and on-time communication is the foundation of effective services
The care process for a dermatology patient usually starts with an in-clinic visit, where the dermatologist will perform a general skin examination in search of potentially cancerous skin lesions. Analysis may involve imaging the spot(s) to obtain both overview and dermoscopic images. However, the final diagnosis cannot be ventured until the tissue specimen is analyzed by a pathologist. Since the majority of biopsies are interpreted by a third-party dermatopathology lab, communication challenges are prone to arise. Fortunately, modern cloud-based dermatology systems are addressing these gaps by providing advanced connectivity to share patient data between various stakeholders.
“I think the ability of DermEngine to connect several physicians working on the same case is a great feature of the software. For example, many times a pathologist will receive a biopsy specimen but they will have no idea where the lesion was taken from the body or where to look within the specimen itself to appreciate where the pathology may be. That is, depending on the preparation of the specimen the true diagnosis could otherwise be missed.” said Dr. Jason Rivers, Dermatologist and Clinic Director at Pacific Derm in Vancouver, Canada.
As a professional with a vast experience dealing with skin cancer, Dr. Rivers has been actively engaged in the development of dermatology services both on a local and national level within Canada. As such, he appreciates the role real-time communication between colleagues may provide to help deliver exemplary care to patients in dermatology practices. “[DermEngine] will help improve communication with pathologists, oncologists and other colleagues alike. Now we will have the ability to provide accuracy when we need to communicate with our colleagues, especially when dealing with a lesion that may already have been removed but still requires further surgery. This will help the surgeon to identify where on the body the lesion was and what further intervention may be needed” he added.
2. Interdisciplinary efforts drive improved patient dermatology experiences
Despite the need for effective interactions among stakeholders who provide dermatology services, communication gaps often remain as a reason for misunderstandings that lead to suboptimal outcomes. In Dr. Rivers’ experience, patients can bear the brunt of these communication issues, causing confusion to both physician and patient. “I’ve witnessed cases where patients have gone to a surgeon for the removal of a lesion and problems arose because either the lesional site was no longer evident or because the wrong lesion was inadvertently removed. This leads to a delay in diagnosis which could have dire consequences for the patient” he pointed out.
Having a group of professionals connected over the same cloud-based platform, where patients’ clinical data is stored securely, represents a great advantage to improve overall patient care. Skin imaging, diagnostic procedures, specimen collection, biopsy results and other crucial information can be readily accessible to all those involved in the workflow, which represents a new paradigm shift. Dr. Rivers explains that “having this type of dermatology software solutions will really bring things together [and] will make the patient experience a better one. Having a team of physicians working together with accurate and timely information will provide enhanced patient care. It would be almost like having the patient involved in a conference with multiple doctors working simultaneously on the case, though this process could take place anytime of day or any place around the globe.” The power of real-time connectivity represents accessibility to crucial patient information necessary to streamline practices. For patients, it represents a means to obtain best-quality treatments, thereby improving the overall delivery of healthcare to the individual.
Optimized workflows are a positive aspect for improved dermatology services. In particular for pathology procedures, modern cloud-based systems such as DermEngine are proving to be the next step in interdisciplinary communication due to its provision of real-time data accessibility, updating and analysis. Dermatology specialists like Dr. Rivers highlight the value that this applied connectivity can bring to dermatopathology workflows, improving both the doctor’s and patient’s experience. As the technology behind these systems continues to be refined, the focus will be on offering better diagnostic accuracy in an integral approach to deliver safer, more practical, and effective services for patients.
-The MetaOptima Team
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