The pMD Blog

Welcome to the
pMD Blog...

where we cover interesting and relevant news, insights, events, and more related to the health care industry and pMD. Most importantly, this blog is a fun, engaging way to learn about developments in an ever-changing field that is heavily influenced by technology.


Image: CSA-Printstock/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is teaming up with 4 health systems to create a non-profit generic drug company. The goal of the four companies, Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension Health, SSM Health, and Trinity Health along with the VA, is to address the issue of high costs and shortages of medications in the U.S. They plan to make more affordable and more available generic medications. Read More

•  While stifling a sneeze may seem like one good method to stop the spread of germs, one rare case of sneeze stifling ended in a ruptured throat for an unsuspecting man in Britain. The force of the sneeze he attempted to stifle when obstructing both his nose and mouth was so strong that the blast of air forcefully made its way through the soft tissue in his throat as tiny bubbles. This caused his neck to swell and a change of voice along with unsettling crackling sensations. Don't worry, after a week, the man was well on his way back to the norm.  Read More

•  With the possibility of a government shutdown looming, health care programs will be threatened with billions of dollars in health care costs, as it did in 2013. The Department of Health and Human Services does have a contingency plan in place in the event of a government shutdown.  Read More

•  Curious about how this year's flu season compares to those of the past? The New York Times' Q&A answers some questions on what to expect of this year's flu season and how it's spreading and well as how historical data compares to the 2016-2017 season.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

pMD's engineering teams are very different than others in the software industry. In a previous blog post, I wrote about the special responsibilities all software engineers have to their users: establishing and maintaining a culture of empathy with them. This is absolutely critical in keeping the software in line with the users, providing a trustworthy guide for product development. This principle also guides how we manage and hire teams here at pMD.

When I first joined pMD, I had come from a series of typical software shops where I received specifications from another department and had the clear instruction to spend my workday implementing the request. When I started at pMD, I was taken way out of my comfort zone by regularly speaking with customers and visiting them onsite on a monthly basis, and immediately given a large and growing list of responsibilities to derive my own “specifications” out of those interactions. The discomfort soon gave way to an appreciation of how it fed back into the product and guided what we build as a team and as a company.

As a core cultural value, it also guides how we recruit and hire developers. In many ways, this poses a challenge. Sometimes it feels like looking for an orange in a sea of apples. Yet this also creates a competitive advantage for the folks that want something different and desire to have a well-rounded experience in product development. Not every developer wants or needs to spend time regularly speaking with customers, which is ok, and this at times creates a challenge in reducing the pool of applicants who have strong engineering skills. Yet in our experience, it has also been an advantage. By drawing candidates towards the team and providing something different and compelling in an otherwise homogeneous space, this practice has helped us recruit and retain some great engineers who have shaped and will shape pMD’s future.

So, if you're a software engineer looking for something more and value interacting as well as learning from your users, we have some great open positions!

Interested in joining the pMD team? Check out pMD's careers page for more information! To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, and care coordination software and services, please contact pMD.

Image: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  There are approximately 1.7 million children across 20 states in the U.S. who could be at risk of losing their Children's Health Insurance Medicaid (CHIP) coverage in February due to shortage of funding. A few states plan to use state funds to make up for the lack of federal funding and the states that can't afford it may resort to freezing enrollment or terminating coverage when federal money dissipates.  Read More

•  For those of us who don't have a gluten sensitivity, pursuing a gluten-free diet may not yield the health benefits we think it would. Unnecessarily avoiding gluten-containing grains in your diet can lower overall digestive health because fiber intake decreases. We also have to remember that gluten-free substitutes are not always any more healthy.  Read More

•  Less than two months after canceling two mandatory bundled payment programs created under the Obama administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it is launching a new bundled payment program under the Trump administration. The Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced model gives providers an incentive to deliver high-quality and efficient care to their patients.  Read More

•  The opioid crisis continues to devastate the U.S. and health care leaders are turning to new strategies to fight it. In 2018, the focus will be on efforts to assess patients on their pain levels upon admission, educating staff about safe opioid use, patient education, and exploring alternative pain relief methods.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Sophie Sahara Barkham

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Telehealth services and products are on the rise in rural areas. Rural hospitals are especially benefiting from telepharmacy services, which not only offers patients 24/7 pharmacy services but also provides big savings for these rural hospitals. Approximately 95 percent of medications delivered via the telepharmacy program are located in a dispensing machine.  Read More

•  Penalties through the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program are responsible for hospitals losing 1 percent of Medicare payments each year. The program, in its fourth year, is meant to improve the quality of patient care. Hospitals are penalized for having too many infections and patient injuries.  Read More

•  Feeling terribly exposed may be a thing of the past when it comes to hospital gowns. In partnership with students from Parsons School of Design, Care and Wear, which specializes in medical wearables, has created a new gown design inspired by the kimono style. This new design ties in the front, allows for more coverage, and replaces five different types of gowns with one.  Read More

•  Overbilling, or upcoding, Medicare for office services has always been a problem and still remains unchanged. Unfortunately, this kind of fraudulent billing does not get doctors into legal trouble. Physicians have long been warned by the Office of Inspector General that they are responsible for billing Medicare at appropriate levels for office visits.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: PhotoAttractive/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is under scrutiny after investigators found that the FDA did not always evaluate food-borne hazards in a timely manner. The organization is not moving quickly enough to remove contaminated foods from store shelves, leaving consumers at risk.  Read More

•  In 2017, the interoperability discussion centered around private sector innovations more so than federal government policy. While policy guidance from the government is well-meaning, interoperability will truly gain traction when driven from the private sector i.e. vendors, health systems, patients, VC investors, and more.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) clarified its stance on texting patient information on non-secure versus secure platforms. Texting patient orders is prohibited regardless of the platform, however, members of the health care team are allowed to text patient information through a secure, encrypted platform.  Read More

•  Going into labor can be an exciting and often times scary experience. For some minors across the U.S., it can be even more of a challenging experience when they're denied requests for treatments such as epidurals. This is due to laws requiring permission from parents or legal guardians before receiving medical treatment that's not considered emergency care. Doctors and nurses are advocating for a change in policy.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The number of women enrolling in U.S. medical schools has increased in the last few years. In 2017, more women enrolled in med school than men for the first time and made up more than half of the enrollees list this year. This could potentially mean that more women become involved in hospital leadership roles that interact with hospital IT departments as well as digital health innovation positions.  Read More

•  Coconuts or olives? Experts reveal that compared to olive oil, coconut oil contains about six times the amount of saturated fat. Of course, there are still many health benefits to coconut oil but when thinking about cooking with either of these oils, olive oil is the better choice for overall health.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the federal government found 751 hospitals to have the highest rates of patient injuries. These hospitals were penalized with lowered Medicare payments. The penalty has been controversial since its start four years ago by the Affordable Care Act. The program is designed to financially incentivize hospitals to avoid infections and other mishaps.  Read More

•  Scientists have used gene editing  inside mice to prevent a form of inherited deafness. More research is still needed but this gene editing technique could potentially restore hearing, at the very least, to people who have lost it from non-inherent situations, such as a loud noise or infection.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.


I’m no big data expert, but I don’t have to be one to see that big data and health care are a perfect match for each other. Big data has been a buzzword in the tech industry for quite some time now. With the widespread adoption of electronic health/medical records (EHR/EMR) systems, big data analysts are looking toward health care as a new industry to target. Before diving into how health care can benefit from big data, we should discuss what “big data” means and why it’s taken so long for big data analysts to focus on health care data.

What is big data?

My favorite definition that I found that was an accurate description of big data in 2017 is simply, “collecting large amounts of data and doing something with it.” You can also think of big data as a set of methodologies to consume large amounts of data and doing calculations on that data to make predictions or gain insight. An example of big data in use is Walmart’s extraordinary success in correlating Pop-Tarts sales with natural disasters.

Walmart’s great big data success!

In 2004, Walmart decided to analyze their sales data during Hurricane Charley to see if they can gain insights on customer buying habits to prepare for Hurricane Frances. What they found was that in an attempt to prepare for Hurricane Charley, customers bought tons of dry food, which included Pop-Tarts. Using this insight, Walmart increased their stock of Pop-Tarts and sold seven times more Pop-Tarts than normal during Hurricane Frances.

Why now for big data in health care?

Countless industries have seen benefits from big data for many years now, but unfortunately health care has only started its big data journey. The biggest reason is because health care was dominated by paper processes. It wasn’t until the approval of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act in 2009 that health care organizations started to adopt electronic health care records. Now that the health care industry has matured into the world of technology, researchers finally have a set of data points to work with.

Uses of big data in health care

The benefits of big data in health care are clear. By using health care data, researchers can start analyzing data for trends and patterns that may help in predicting general patient health, readmissions, patient deterioration, or best treatments for specific diseases. As a direct result of gaining insights, patients will receive better care. Using big data, the health care industry can transform from reactive care to proactive care.

Sources
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/14/business/yourmoney/what-walmart-knows-about-customers-habits.html?mcubz=1
https://web.stanford.edu/class/cs102/notes/CS102DayOne.pdf

If you'd like to find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, and care coordination software and services, please contact pMD.

Image: iStock

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Consumers who are hunting for health insurance during the open enrollment period are either finding prices to be more expensive or are finding cheap deals, depending on subsidy eligibility for 2018. For those who are eligible for subsidies, insurance brokers and analysts are cautioning clients against the temptation to get the inexpensive plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act's minimum standards. Some states have extended their open enrollment period past December 15.  Read More

•  The office of the National Coordination for Health IT (ONC) recently published best practices for data management processes, enabling hospitals to more accurately and effectively match patient records.  There are 5 categories published in the Patient Demographic Data Quality Framework across which hospitals can begin to evaluate their own organizations: Data governance, data quality, data operations, platforms and standards, and supporting processes.  Read More

•  In a new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association, intense treadmill exercise has been found to be safe for those recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and may even slow the progression of their condition in the early stages of the disease. Current methods of treatment involve various drugs, most of which lose their effectiveness over time. While more studies have yet to be done, the findings are encouraging.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in favor to repeal net neutrality regulations. How does this impact telehealth? The new regulatory environment could break telehealth and remote monitoring functionality for providers, patients and vendors, especially those in rural areas of the country. Connectivity is an essential element of telehealth and without it, it doesn't work. Higher prices for connectivity might force providers in rural areas to abandon telehealth programs all together.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.


Throughout pMD’s nearly 20 years of existence, we have always been extremely proud of our unparalleled customer service. Our commitment to providing great service is one of the first things potential new clients come to learn about pMD, either from reading the hundreds of testimonials housed on our public website, word-of-mouth, or in initial conversations with a member of our sales team.

We all know it’s easy to say our customer support is “unparalleled,” but what does that actually mean? As part of the customer success team here at pMD, I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is on this one! Below, are just a few of the things that make the support we provide so excellent.

1. Easy to Reach: Users can get in touch with us extremely easily. They can call or message support directly from pMD’s mobile application or from our website. There are no hoops they have to jump through to discourage them from reaching out, and they always speak directly with a live pMD employee. Plus, because the medical world doesn’t close up at 5pm, neither do we - pMD support is available 24/7/365.

2. Timeliness: Our goal is never to miss a phone call and to reply to all written correspondence within the same business day, at the latest. Our software is designed to be used in real time, and we want our support model to be responsive to users who need help as they’re using our products throughout the day.

3. Product Knowledge: Learning how to provide a high level of service to our customers starts on day one of new employee training, and throughout an employee’s career at pMD, they maintain responsibility for helping with customer support. All of our support comes from in-house and is never outsourced to a third party or contractor.

4. Good Judgement: More often than not, questions or issues that come to us via customer support truly are support items, such as a user who forgot their username or a new employee who needs access. However, sometimes an inquiry that initially is posed as a support item is really part of a larger project or requires training or workflow updates affecting many users. If that’s the case, that client’s account manager is notified and included in the conversation so that they can assist with resolution for longer-term or more complex undertakings.

Our vision is that getting in touch with pMD’s customer service is just as easy as using our charge capture, secure messaging, care communities, and quality reporting software. A quick and easy resolution means that medical providers and their staff can get right back to doing what’s most important - treating their patients and saving lives!

If you'd like to find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, and care coordination software and services, please contact pMD.

Image: Joy Ho for NPR

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  On Monday, Google announced an open source version of their artificial intelligence (AI) tool, DeepVariant. This tool improves the accuracy of genomic sequencing, which addresses one of precision medicine's outstanding challenges. Big tech rivals, such as IBM, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are already speculated to be making moves into the health care AI space.  Read More

•  A recent study revealed that women who use hormonal birth control pills or contraceptive devices such as intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) face a small yet significant risk for breast cancer. This is the first study to examine risks associated with current, modern forms of birth control in a large population, however, not the first to establish a link to cancer.  Read More

•  Health care spending in 2016 saw a slow in growth, likely due to an increase in insurance enrollment during the first few years of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, per capita spending topped $10,000 in 2016 and spending per person was $10,348. Experts expect a continuation of growth in health care spending due to an aging population and growing health care costs.  Read More

•  Common ceramic household cookware, such as crockpots, may contain traces of lead, which can leak into food and cause lead poisoning. Where does the lead come from? Ceramic ware is glazed before entering a kiln to bake. Often, these glazes contain lead, which gives ceramic ware their attractive shine. Be sure to refer to the FDA's list of products that have been tested for lead contamination!  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.