Apr 14, 2010
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It seems like there are a number of threads about how the job market for pathology is poor compared to other fields of medicine. Here’s all the ideas that I can think of to solve that problem. And a quick disclaimer; I’m not a pathologist nor even in the medical field, so please feel free to modify/correct/criticize-in-all-caps anything suggested below.
<!--[if !supportLists]-->1.<!--[endif]-->Globalize your customer base, while using licensing laws to protect the US market from foreign competition. Start by offering high end consult services to private hospitals overseas, possibly using telemedicine. Even small subspecialties such as neuropath could probably do high volume on a global scale. Could you start the world’s first neuropath mill that negotiates consult agreements with all of the high end hospitals in the world? Does the mill concept improve quality as well as cost?
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2.<!--[endif]-->Increase demand by lowering prices and trying to find some way to improve speed or cost without unacceptable error rates. Are there any promising technologies that could improve the cost and/or speed at which pathologists can work without having unacceptable error rates? Didn’t this happen with the automation of a lot of CP tests? From an outsiders perspective, such automation didn’t seem to be the end of the world for pathologists. Some of the biggest fortunes in the world have been made by decreasing prices for the mass market. Examples: Bill Gates with operating systems, Ingvar Kamprad of Ikea furniture, Karl and Theo Albrecht of Aldi food stores, Lawrence Ellison with databases, Lakshmi Mittal of Mittal Steel, and the Walton family of Wal-mart, just to name a few people from the one of the recent list of world’s top 10 richest people. Why doesn’t this mentality seem to be prevalent in medicine, especially when increased demand and decreased prices seem to be forced onto pathologists by the government anyway?
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3.<!--[endif]-->Tout your understanding of the human body and its disease states on a molecular, genetic, and cellular level to get scientific jobs in pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and medical device manufacturers such as Beckman Coulter. Some of these places are even in desirable “saturated” pathology markets. Beckman Coulter has offices in LA area and Miami.
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4.<!--[endif]-->Start the trend of only letting pathology residents get dermatopath fellowships. With a shortage of dermatologists and an excess pathologists, doesn’t it make sense for the dermatologists to focus on dermatology?
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5.<!--[endif]-->Expand the capabilities of the field through R & D. I assume this is already being done in academia. But you don’t necessarily need to be in academia to bring your own products to market. For example you could provide mole removal kits to Family Medicine dogs that include prepaid postage to your lab for diagnosis. If you made it cheap enough, it could be faster and cheaper for the patient to see and IM doc rather than the dermatologist. I had to wait 4 months and pay $220 out of pocket to see a dermatologist get a mole removed and tested (granted, a sample size of one). It seems like it could have been done faster and cheaper with similar quality. More people would get moles removed if the cost were lower and their Family Medicine docs recommended it to them.

OK. I’m done with the longest introductory post ever.
 

Arctic Char

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Thank you, Captain Obvious
 

Gyric

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Welcome to the forum Enganeer.

While your suggestions are good, their has been little real pressure for this type of innovation. Despite the common "sky is falling" opinion posted here, most pathologists have very well paying jobs and have no need/motivation, as of yet, to expand into new markets. Some have this mindset and have had success, but who wants to rain on the pity party we are having...

5.<!--[endif]-->For example you could provide mole removal kits to Family Medicine dogs that include prepaid postage to your lab for diagnosis. .
Gotta love this typo, probably would not get too many biopsies if you marketed to the "family medicine dogs"