UltraClinics introduces a same day prostate cancer health care service and acquires EPO International

Tucson 08 February 2006Over 200.000 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed each year. UltraClinics Inc., a telehealth company based in Arizona, has developed a process that provides same day prostate cancer care services for men. With the UltraClinics prostate process, a patient can have a prostate biopsy, have the laboratory specimen processed in a rapid through-put laboratory at the same facility, and have "virtual slides" of the histopathology glass slides posted on a secure Internet server. A laboratory report is generated by an off-site telepathologist within hours of the biopsy procedures while the patient is still at the clinic. The patient can have an immediate consultation with a urologist for treatment planning, on the same day as the biopsy procedure. If cancer is present in a biopsy specimen, minimally invasive robotic prostate surgery can be performed by the same urologist in a timely fashion.

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The UltraClinics prostate care process has been implemented at the University Physicians Hospital at Kino (UPH) in Tucson, Arizona. At UPH, prostatectomies are performed using Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci surgical system. This advanced, minimally invasive robotic surgical technology assists surgeons performing prostatectomies.

With the UltraClinics patent-pending process, the patient's prostate histopathology glass slides are electronically scanned into digital image files using a DMetrix ultra-rapid virtual slide scanner. A telepathologist, at a service centre, examines the virtual slides on-line and immediately generates a diagnosis. The laboratory report in an Electronic Health Record is instantly available for discussion between the patient and a physician during the clinic visit on the same day.

"Image quality of the DMetrix virtual slides is excellent and of diagnostic quality", according to Katherine M. Scott, M.D., Medical Director for Pathology at University Physicians Hospital. The DMetrix array-microscope technology has been honoured as a breakthrough innovation by The Wall Street Journal.

"UltraClinics has the potential to revolutionize complex same day health care through its innovative uses of advanced telehealth technologies", according to Ronald S. Weinstein, M.D., Chairman of UltraClinics and founding Director of the national award-winning Arizona Telemedicine Programme.

UltraClinics also has acquired EPO International, a telemedicine and telehealth professional services brokerage firm. EPO International is an Expert Provider Organization that certifies the special expertise of its telehealth professional associates. UltraClinics Inc., a spin-off company of the University of Arizona and the Arizona Telemedicine Programme (ATP), is taking the telehealth ASP business model developed by the ATP into the private sector.

The national award-winning Arizona Telemedicine Programme (ATP) links 160 sites by broadband telecommunications. The ATP staffs its "virtual group practice" with licensed health care professionals from different health care organisations.

The EPO International health care service brokerage firm will provide the professional staffing for UltraClinics facilities, including teleradiololgists, telepathologists, teleradiotherapists, and tele-oncologists.

UltraClinics Inc. is establishing a national network of same day telemedicine oncology clinics. The first UltraClinics facility is in operation at the University Physicians Hospital in Tucson. There is a high level of patient and provider satisfaction with the UltraClinics patent pending process. UltraClinics is building a national infrastructure for its first 100 facilities.

The national UltraClinics service network plans to provide comprehensive same day single clinic visits for breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, and skin cancer patients. Certified telemedicine professional service providers will register at a Web site, www.expertsfirst.com, currently under construction, for case assignments and access to secure patient records in the UltraClinics Electronic Health Record system.

Breast care patients who come to an UltraClinic facility will have same day access to: on-site digital mammography; on-site tissue biopsies with laboratory work completed in hours, and telepathology diagnoses rendered by an off-site EPO International certified telepathologist using DMetrix virtual slides. Patients have available expert second opinions with same day feed-back. A patient with cancer meets with an EPO International certified tele-oncologist by video conferencing for treatment planning, all in the course of a single day pre-scheduled UltraClinics visit.

"Telemedicine and consumer-directed health care are growth industries in the United States. We estimate that over a million telemedicine cases were diagnosed in the year 2004", according to Ronald S. Weinstein. More news on Ultraclinics is available in the VMW February 2006 article UltraClinics Inc. develops a same day breast cancer diagnosis process.


Leslie Versweyveld

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