By: Cade Wilson, DVM – Microbiology Partner
Let’s start at the beginning, Skoped Micro; what is it? Who are we? How did we get here? I am Dr. Cade Wilson. I am a veterinarian and own and practice in a veterinary hospital in southern Oklahoma. I am a husband and a father, but I am also an active outdoorsman. I love nature and wildlife! In 2015, I purchased a Phone Skope case to film wildlife through my binoculars and spotting scope, and an idea started formulating in my head. How can I utilize this in my everyday life? I use a microscope nearly every day to practice veterinary medicine, probably more than your typical veterinarian. I “engineered” an adapter to fit onto my microscope, and little did I know I had changed the course of my future.
That original idea was entirely self-serving. I took pictures of cytology for follow-up appointments to lessen my necessary notes, educate clients, and prove the need for essential treatments. The evolution of this usage quickly followed. The next thing you know, it became an educational tool for my staff and clients. We don’t have to go back and forth and hope we’re looking at the same thing. Now, using my phone as a screen, I know we are talking about the same things. Education is vital for a better-informed staff and clientele! Then, the social media posts began! People love seeing things under a microscope, both in person and on social media. I come from a few generations of teachers, and that educational spirit is inside me. Social media allowed me to show the world some things I witnessed under the microscope, and I can use that wonder and excitement to teach about preventable diseases. It is a win-win! Making a GOOD video clip of microfilaria, urinary crystals, intestinal parasites, or ear mites was now not only possible but easy with this microscope attachment. It was something that I could do that made me better at my job as a practicing veterinarian, business owner, and client educator! Then it happened, and into my practice walked the next step in the evolution of this homemade adapter. A patient came in for a second opinion. It was a potential cancer situation confirmed after an examination and needle biopsy. Now I had to figure out the margins and where we needed to go. Out came the adapter (that, by now, I had tweaked and improved). I called a pathology friend, and the first of many “Face-time Consults” in real-time happened. WOW!
Time ticked along, and one day while on Instagram, Phone Skope popped up. “Hmmm, let me check them out and see what else they do outside of wildlife and nature.” I was shocked when there were only pictures and videos of wildlife and nature. I do not know why, but I was shocked. It was strange to me, and I asked myself, how am I the only one doing this with their equipment? On more than one occasion, I had seen someone trying to hold their phone up to their eyepiece to get a picture, so I knew that other people would have use for it. Reflecting on what benefits I had received from using this device, I thought, why not share the idea? I sent them a message about what I had been doing, how I thought it would be helpful to them, and how it could improve the lives of practitioners and patients everywhere. I had no plans to be involved at that point. We set up a meeting where we talked about what I had done with their original idea, the tweaks I made to meet my needs as a veterinarian, and left them with “good luck”! A little time passed, and I got another phone call from Phone Skope. “We think this is a great idea, and it will be more successful with you involved. I did not know how that would work a thousand miles apart, me already running my own business and being an active husband and father, but I took a leap of faith. If it were meant to be, it would work out.
The next thing you know, I am in Utah at Phone Skope HC. I met the crew and discussed our ideas, possibilities, dreams, and personal expectations. It did not take long for me to realize that I had somehow stumbled into a group of individuals that were exactly like me. They were hardworking, honest, dependable people that liked a challenge and were not afraid to “stick it out there.” Over time it became more than that. They are my family, and I am lucky to be a part of this adventure with them!
We are nearly six years from that fateful moment when I purchased that first Phone Skope case—years of innovation and development of the 23 mm and 30 mm microscope attachments have occurred during that time. We have worked through the problems that arise from “living life through a microscope” and how we can solve those problems. New technology brought about new opportunities. We stepped back and started looking at the possibilities. We asked ourselves, how can we help most vets that cannot purchase equipment for thousands or tens of thousands of dollars? How can we help educators bring their classroom and lab equipment into the future? How can we improve the diagnostic process? How can we improve digital pathology and bring it to the masses? How can we simplify and shrink the world?
In the last eighteen months, we’ve had long days, dead ends, brainstorming, and breakthroughs. The Skoped Micro App is the culmination of those questions and will be the tool you didn’t know you needed. Our patent-pending micrometer allows you to calibrate your phone to your microscope setup and measure with microscopic accuracy! Take pictures and videos with a scale to easily classify what you see. Need to teach a class about microscopy? No problem! Use our broadcast function of “One to Many” to share your screen with the masses as they listen to you teach about and share what you see in your microscope. Have a diagnostic problem that needs another set of eyes and the ability to talk through the solutions, but that person is not nearby? No problem! Use our broadcast function of “One to One.” Share the screen and talk back and forth about the issue and solution from anywhere in the world, LIVE!
We are not through solving problems, but we are through keeping this to ourselves! We are Skoped Micro, and we are excited for you to share in what we do, and we welcome you to our family!