Team of bioengineers succeeds in putting three different imaging technologies into a handheld probe that could be used by physicians to assess skin lesions in their offices
Dermatopathologists and pathology practice administrators will be keenly interested in a new, hand-held diagnostic device that is designed to reduce the need for skin biopsies. Because of high volume of skin biopsies referred to pathologists, any significant reduction in the number of such case referrals would have negative revenue impact on medical laboratories that process and diagnose these specimens.
This innovative work was done at the University of Texas at Austin’s Cockrell School of Engineering. The research team developed a probe that uses three different light modalities to detect melanoma and other skin cancer lesions in real-time, according to a news release.
New imaging technology might change flow of biopsies to dermatopathologists
Dermatopathologists will be interested to learn about new imaging technology that significantly boosts the accuracy of this methodology to analyze images of the skin and diagnose malignant melanomas.
Although still in the research stage, these technology advances demonstrate how advanced imaging solutions, in tandem with computer-aided diagnosis, may allow dermatologists to evaluate patients without the need to harvest a biopsy and send it to the pathology laboratory for diagnosis.
Company intends to use pattern recognition software to evaluate risk of skin cancer
A “do it yourself” dermatopathology service for consumers is coming soon, according to Health Discovery Corporation (HDC) of Savannah, Georgia. The company is preparing to introduce a cell phone-based tool to help consumers recognize whether a mole or other skin lesion needs examination by a dermatologist.
Using their cell phone cameras, consumers would click a photo of the skin lesion, then forward that image to a computer at HDC. Using pattern recognition algorithms developed by the company, called Support Vector Machines, the computer would analyze the image. A report telling the consumer whether the lesion was low, medium or high risk for skin cancer would be sent as a text message. This text message would include a list of dermatologists located near the consumer. The list of dermatologist referrals would be targeted to the user’s geographic area. HPC would compile this list, based on GPS data collected from the cell phone transmission.
Second opinion dermpath business combines digital pathology, glass slides, and the Internet.
Telepathology, Federal Express, and internet technologies are the cornerstones of a flourishing second opinion business by dermatopathologists in Boston, Massachusetts. In just a few years, the practice has built a national and international clientele. This confirms that there is already overseas demand for access to expert pathologists with subspecialty skills.
Another unique twist to this pathology second opinion business is its use of a subscription arrangement. Referring pathology groups can pay sliding flat fee per case, based on a pre-agreed monthly volume. This arrangement has proved popular.