ClearPath™: Transforming Dermatopathology Workflow with Digital Imaging and Process Innovations
Dermatopathology laboratory accelerates diagnostic turnaround times and helps dermatology practices expand with a unique digital pathology software solution, developed in partnership with EPIC Software Development
Dayton, Ohio: Dermpath Lab of Central States (DLCS) is a full service dermatopathology laboratory and national leader in skin pathology. Through technology investment, DLCS has created products and services that digitize pathology, improve efficiency, and widen patient access to quality care. EPIC supported the product launch from concept to delivery, providing UX design, development, testing, and deployment services.
Will advances in touchscreen technologies, digital slide scanning, cloud storage capabilities and rapid data streaming help bring pathology into a new era?
Similar to radiology’s transition from physical films to digital images, pathology is undergoing a similar shift today1. As a subspecialty with complex workflows, clinical pathology could benefit greatly from the process improvements and expanded services made possible by digitization.
A typical workflow involves packaging biopsies, shipping them to a lab, analysis, and mounting on glass slides. DLCS has improved this process by digitizing the samples, backed by evidence that digital rendering can provide the same high quality as a glass slide2,3.
While regulatory requirements and needed process innovations are an ongoing challenge, DLCS is leading the transition with the first-ever digital pathology workflow solution, capable of transferring and enhancing digital pathology images while conforming to FDA rules for clinical practitioners.
And with changing state laws and Medicare reimbursements bringing new financial pressures on their practices, dermatologists increasingly need to expand their services in order to stay competitive. Digitization puts the images in their hands, enabling them to take on and bill for routine pathology work at their practice, while delegating more challenging diagnoses to pathologists through DLCS.
For a clinical dermatologist, the ideal solution is a remote diagnostic pathology tool that is capable of access from anywhere in the world, for real time diagnosis available at any time. Combined with DLCS’s ability to provide digital images within 24-48 hours, patients can get their results quicker than before.
DLCS and EPIC Software Development designed ClearPath™ so that a dermatologist can use their iPad or tablet as a touch-enabled virtual lab, loading images directly from a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR). This makes the process easy and compatible with the required workflow — an important differentiator for DLCS.
The ClearPath™ software enables the entire diagnostic workflow from the intake process, to case review, diagnosis and reporting, and sending to the EMR for the next patient meeting. It also makes it possible to send images to a DLCS pathologist dedicated to reviewing cases. The result is a fully integrated workflow system.
The solution allows dermatologists to view slides at their own location, instead of waiting for a pathologist to read the biopsy results for them. Dermatologists benefit from the increased efficiency, and better control of their patients’ cases. Furthermore, this presents new billing opportunities by being able to directly read and diagnose their patients’ cases.
With ClearPath™, dermatologists are able to:
- Review digital whole slide images
- Generate customized diagnostic reports
- Sign-out cases for reimbursement
- Access a complete biopsy log
The improved efficiency brings a major advantage by removing excessive paperwork, and improving patient encounters. Once the slides are digitized, they are available in your inbox on demand.
The solution also eliminates the need for physicians to use multiple systems to review results, walk patients to other rooms to review results, or rely on labs to look up or store results. Additionally, DLCS provides direct access to dermatology specialists and Mohs surgeons who review digital results during real-time consultations or before surgery4.
ClearPath™ makes it easier to get a second opinion.
- Fast turnaround of digital images (24-48 hours)
- Quick, easy access to digital images through the EMR
- Glass slides always follow for microscope confirmation
- Ability to zoom and measure
- Access to all submitted case information
- Custom templates for report diagnoses
- Biopsy logbook
- Create, review and print reports
- Interface results to your EHR
- Clear and crisp images on any tablet
- Annotation tools for descriptive explanations
- Opportunity to enhance patient interaction
- Access to case information anywhere, anytime
ClearPath™ is the first software solution to bring digital pathology directly to the dermatologist in a format that’s easy, flexible and compatible with existing workflows. From reviewing digital whole-slide images to generating custom diagnostic reports and signing out cases, ClearPath™ streamlines workflows and helps practicing clinicians realize greater efficiency.
Within 48 hours of sending biopsies to our lab, physicians receive crisp digital slide images on their tablet, iPad Pro or other mobile device. Interpreting dermatologists are able to confirm diagnoses on glass slides returned to them from the lab.
All digital images are stored safely in the cloud for easy access and retrieval.
Because it’s designed to work on a touch-enabled tablet, ClearPath™ can be used from any CLIA-certified location with a WiFi connection—making the review of whole slide digital images easier and more convenient. The platform provides immediate access to all your cases, which are stored safely in the cloud.
Supporting Medical Education
Digitization brings an added benefit for the next generation of dermpaths, who are able to study slides for their board exam from anywhere, using DLCS’s education app with its extensive database of cases. ClearPath™ is the top iPad app for dermatopathology students studying for their board exams.
As dermatologists come out of medical school, they will have spent the majority of their education using digital slides. The technology provides an easy segue for new practitioners coming into the field, with its revolutionary ease of use compared to the increasingly antiquated process of looking at glass on the microscope.
The ClearPath™ 3.0 software and service is unique in its ability to digitally diagnose a patient, case by case, without costly microscopic analysis and related workflow. It has opened up 24/7 access to images, allowing dermpaths to show results to patients, and load their own diagnosis. Reports can be printed, and with internal LIS integration, direct billing is possible.
Customer adoption and usage has been strong, with upwards of 1,500 cases processed each week.
The results would not have been possible without close collaboration between the DLCS product team, doctors, and EPIC Software Development’s life sciences team.
The project was managed using Atlassian’s JIRA software tool, and was completed on time, on budget, with a high quality application delivery that performed very well at launch, meeting an aggressive delivery date for a user conference. Following the initial release, EPIC has continued to collaborate with DLCS on the design of an internal product used for diagnostic workflow for transcriptions. In total, four products were delivered.
Digital pathology offers tremendous opportunities to enhance efficiencies, reduce errors, and facilitate communication between the pathologist and clinician