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.


Source: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


There’s nothing more frustrating than rendering services and not being paid. Sometimes the problem can come down to a single code. Brushing up on common coding mistakes helps avoid costly recoupments and denials, so coding experts have weighed in on how physicians can maintain compliance and collect all the revenue to which they’re entitled. Read More

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, Americans are avoiding preventive care, including vaccinations and colonoscopies. While care that could not be avoided, such as childbirth in hospitals continued, demand for care that could be delayed has declined significantly. While some health experts had predicted the declines would be followed by a spike in demand for preventive care, that has not happened yet.  Read More

Up and down the West Coast, hospitals and health facilities are reporting an influx of patients with problems most likely related to smoke inhalation. As fires rage, smoke and ash are making even ordinary breathing difficult. With flu season also on the horizon, it creates a major problem as facilities already strapped for testing supplies and personal protective equipment must first rule out COVID-19 in these patients. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms are the same as those caused by the virus.  Read More

Last week the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) floated some new policy ideas for keeping telehealth coverage and reimbursement expansions after the pandemic. One such idea is to allow clinicians who participate in Advanced Alternative Payment Models (A-APMs) to continue providing telehealth services to patients outside of rural areas and to patients in their homes.  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, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Source: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The coronavirus pandemic not only accelerated the expansion of traditional approaches to telehealth, but it has also ignited new ways to use existing technology. Numerous health care systems are employing telehealth solutions to deliver virtual care inside the hospital walls. Providers at UW Health are now conducting virtual rounds and will continue to do so after the COVID-19 crisis.  Read More

Experts predict the COVID-19 public health crisis will push the industry further away from fee-for-service reimbursement and towards value-based care. Long term, it seems inevitable that the pandemic will drive the transition to value-based care, but in the interim, the coronavirus is actually impeding the conversations due to the lack of financial stability, which is essential to make this transition a reality.  Read More

Shortly after releasing the 2021 CPT code set, the American Medical Association (AMA) added two more codes related to COVID-19, including one that accounts for the extra safety protocols providers are taking to care for patients during the global pandemic. This update is the latest in a series of modifications to the CPT codes set to meet the needs of the health care industry as medical advancements expand the fight against COVID-19.  Read More

HHS released a plan this week to enhance rural health care services as the pandemic continues to highlight the steep health care barriers these regions face. While the plan falls short of the complete overhaul some experts say the problem requires, it includes steps to significantly expand the availability of telehealth services and directs the federal government to provide more than $8.7 million in grant funding for virtual emergency care consults.  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, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

 
The arts have been a part of western and eastern medicine since history started being recorded. We see this looking back at prominent Greek philosophers. Hippocrates once said, “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” Hippocrates supported the diagnosing and treating of the “whole” person, an approach that implies the interrelationship of soul and body. This is a foundational concept to modern medicine and gets to the true route of health care and healing. My father, a CMO/OBGYN practicing at St. Vincent's in Indianapolis, has always told me, “As providers, we can’t cure everyone but we can help everyone heal.”

Healing with Integrative Medicine


Today, over half of all medical schools in the U.S. require some form of training in the humanities to become a doctor. Integrative medicine is becoming more and more mainstream across America. “Integrative medicine is the treatment of patients through spiritual, emotional, mental, and environmental in addition to physical means.” Art, music, dance, yoga, and support groups are just some of the ways that the art world is merging into the medical world.

There is an emotional and morale component to all of this. How can the arts and humanities change the quality of life of patients and even doctors? During my junior year of college, I created a documentary called “Art as Medicine” where I featured three doctors and presented them with the question: how do healers heal? I was able to show the power that art gives healers so they can better heal others. The main point of this documentary is that you aren’t able to take care of others to the best of your ability if you can’t take care of yourself. 

Art and Self-Care


This is true for any type of job. You can’t do a job well if you, yourself, are unwell. Having a healthy work-life balance is needed for everyone to operate at their best. Everyone needs an avocation in addition to their vocation. Art is subjective and wide. Art for you could be exercise, cooking, or gardening. The most important aspect is that you have something else to disconnect you from the everyday stress of work. 

Culture of Empathy and Humanism


As a new employee of pMD, I am happy to confirm that pMD understands the importance of taking care of oneself. Giving employees a flexible schedule, having bonding activities, and showing a real interest and respect in each other's hobbies and goals outside of work creates a culture where people want to give 100%. 

At pMD, we believe our team is an essential component of the healing process. Whether that's making sure a provider has all the tools necessary to work seamlessly or helping a patient get ready for a telehealth appointment, our team is dedicated to helping people. My boss always speaks about trying to achieve the impossible, how a tiny little company could drastically change the whole health care industry. The main goal of pMD is to help providers and patients make health care easier and intuitive. At pMD, we not only focus on the technical side, (which we happen to be quite good at) but we also truly care about the empathetic and humanistic aspects of each of our providers and patients. As a newcomer to this company and industry, I believe that this level of care starts internally and is one of our biggest differentiators from other software vendors. 

In short, take time for yourself. It will ultimately make you happier and more productive in all areas of your life.

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Source: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Washington-based health system Providence St. Joseph Health has launched a $50 million investment over the next five years aimed at reducing racial disparities in health care. The initiative will start by focusing on disparities that have been exacerbated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 51-hospital system will leverage its existing system and regional tools to partner with communities and hopes to ensure equitable distribution of treatment and a vaccine for the virus when it becomes available.  Read More

A new survey shows that confusion over COVID-19 coding and claim requirements is one of the top impacts the pandemic has had on revenue cycle operations. The most cited impact was unpredictable work/claim volumes, followed closely by an increase in workloads due to confusion over codes and requirements for COVID-19-related claims.  Read More

As COVID-19 continues to spread, an increasing number of rural communities in the U.S. find themselves without their hospital or on the brink of losing already cash-strapped facilities. This is a dangerous scenario, in fact, A study last year found that death rates in the surrounding communities increase nearly 6% after a rural hospital closes — and that's when there's not a pandemic.  Read More

Health care industry groups have been chewing on the challenge of accurate patient matching for years, but it has been particularly relevant to the current COVID-19 crisis. Incorrect patient data can have a significant negative impact on the timeliness of the public health response. Some public health nurses have even had to rely on Google searches to try and correctly identify patients in order to get them their COVID-19 test results.  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, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Source: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


U.S. health officials have sparked a wave of confusion after posting guidelines that coronavirus testing is not necessary for people who have been in close contact with infected people. The new guidance was posted earlier this week on the CDC website. Across the country, public health experts called the change bizarre, noting that testing contacts of infected people are a core element of public health efforts considering as many as 40 percent of cases exhibit no symptoms.  Read More

Hospitals will now be required to submit daily critical information on COVID-19, including bed capacity and the availability of essential supplies. CMS released an emergency regulation this week calling for mandatory reporting. The agency also posted new requirements for lab reporting and revised policy for physician and pharmacist orders of COVID-19 tests.  Read More

COVID-19 has put a focus on the need for a more expedient and safer way for hospital staff to talk to one another. More effective communication is needed to move information quicker about a patient who is in the emergency room to the EHR and proper caregivers, in order to know what level of care is required and if an isolation room is necessary.  Read More

Providers may need to keep track of two different times when reporting the new CPT add-on code for prolonged services in 2021. CMS will not follow the time ranges that the AMA released in its guidelines for office E/M visits and prolonged services. The proposed add-on code, currently held by placeholder code 99XXX, will be used to report prolonged office or other E/M services that require at least 15 minutes of total time either with or without direct patient contact on the date of the primary E/M service.  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, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

 

When the pandemic hit this year, my team struggled to become telemedicine software experts. We still struggle with this.” 

I thought downloading a trial version was great. But after hours of attempting to figure it out on my own, I still don’t have a system that meets my needs.”  

We liked the product, but we had to hire employees just to help support it.

All too often, medical technology companies offer software separately from supportive services, like product customization, best practice implementation, systems integration, and product support. This is because unlinking services from a product into discrete offerings makes it easier for that company to account for internal costs. But what’s easier for the vendor adds complexity for the customer to an already complex decision-making process.  

This is the strategy of a vendor. If you look at an invoice or pricing proposal today and see unbundled products and services, that means you’ve likely hired a vendor. And in practical terms, it means that when you have a new problem to solve, you’re either on your own or you’re likely going to pay more money. In financially stressed times like these, you simply can’t afford to invest another cent with a vendor.   

Partnerships are about value creation


Good partners, as opposed to vendors, understand that a successful relationship requires that a combination of services be delivered from a team of experts in order to maximize the value created. pMD's products are backed by some of the highest quality services in the industry. But you won’t see a separate quote for those.  

“pMD acts as an extension of each practice from day one. I’ve seen firsthand their effort to understand the needs of each practice stakeholder and identify workflow improvements down to the individual user level. Each time the result is the same; a finely-tuned set of pMD solutions optimized to deliver value for that team,” says Ibrahim Ali, Associate Director of Product Management for McKesson, The US Oncology Network. 

Since pMD’s corporate strategy is not driven by short-term investors looking to maximize profitability and make a quick exit, pMD prefers to invest in helping to solve your complex issues without a new contract wherever possible. We know that a sustainable partnership is based on mutual successes. Mr. Ali went on to add, “pMD’s investment in understanding our practices and their goals has built our trust in this partnership over the past several years. Leveraging this relationship will be key as we navigate the future of community oncology care together.”  

pMD releases of HIPAA-compliant secure messaging, telehealth, and automated patient appointment reminders to the existing pMD® Charge Capture™ platform at no additional cost were huge value additions for care teams. Customers received those new features paired with experienced pMD workflow experts to deliver the most value possible. No new contracts discussed. No new money requested. These are just a few examples of value-added feature additions that pMD partners have enjoyed over the past years.  

Good partners invest to understand industry trends from industry experts


“Partnerships, like the one between pMD and MedAxiom, are critical to advancing innovation and best practices in the cardiovascular industry,” said Joe Sasson, Executive Vice President at MedAxiom, an American College of Cardiology company.

Anticipating the future needs of specialists, patients, or the industry as a whole is crucial given the development and testing of a new feature can take months. Thus consistently investing in strategic industry partnerships means when a need strikes that industry, a partner like pMD is there waiting with a tested solution. This was very much the case in 2019 when pMD built secure video for telemedicine and added it to our platform for free, months before the industry urgently needed it in 2020.

Mr. Sasson went on to say, “Advancing health care takes place through these types of partnerships, and they are essential to our philosophy of creating bi-directional education between industry and CV programs as a means of creating value through innovation.”

The cost of not partnering with pMD is simply too high


In today’s environment, where every team is tasked with doing more with less, you can’t afford to waste resources on a poorly performing vendor relationship. Fire your vendors. And then click here to discover more about all of the value that a pMD partnership delivers.

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Source: ThinkStock

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


In an effort to combat fraud, starting next month, providers that want to get Medicare payments for treating a patient with COVID-19 must include a positive test in that patient’s medical record. The test must be performed within 14 days of admission, and the results must be documented in the patient’s medical record. CMS has applied a 20% add-on Medicare payment for inpatient hospital COVID-19 patients, but without evidence of the positive test result, providers will not be eligible.  Read More

• COVID-19 hasn't just taken healthcare delivery virtual, it may also be changing the way doctors practice medicine, according to a recent survey. More than 60 percent of doctors surveyed said they value tools for remote monitoring their patients at home more than they did prior to the pandemic, with nearly one in five expecting that asking patients to self-administer their care may be a permanent change.  Read More

CMS is poised to eliminate most of the temporary codes created during the coronavirus pandemic to expand connected health. According to the proposed 2021 Physician Fee Schedule, CMS is planning to keep just nine codes added during the COVID-19 crisis, while adding an additional 13 new codes. But that means 74 codes are slated to end when the public health emergency is over.  Read More

HHS will distribute $1.4 billion in COVID-19 relief funds to children's hospitals around the country, with each hospital receiving 2.5 percent of their net revenue from patient care. The funding will ensure the 80 freestanding children's hospitals receive the financial relief they urgently need to offset revenue losses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.  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, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

 

Telehealth, or telemedicine, has existed for years, but with the emergence of COVID-19, the relationship between telehealth and the health care industry was transformed practically overnight. For most practices, COVID-19 catapulted telehealth from a long-term possibility to a complete and immediate necessity. According to AARP, demand for telehealth surged 1,000% by mid-April when compared to the time period before the emergence of the COVID-19 disease. This change came with a need for providers to train staff, evaluate software vendors, and devise new workflows to support telehealth. The patient side of the health care industry was equally disrupted, with individuals no longer able to continue their care in person. While some patients had experience with video conferencing through their employers or through FaceTiming family and friends, many were thrown into a new world of installing software, attaching webcams, creating accounts, and setting passwords.

Supporting patient adoption


At pMD, we have always been dedicated to easing the burden of learning or implementing new technology for both practices and patients. We have decades of experience working closely with practices to customize our software to meet their needs. The pMD team trains practice staff, provides 24/7 technical support, and implements our software in a way that best fits each practice’s existing workflow. The same approach is taken with patients using our software. We give them direct access to our knowledgeable employees who can help them work through even the hardest technical issues, we train them to use the software when needed, and we allow them to accomplish their telehealth encounter using the device and process that makes the most sense for them.

While pMD approaches helping practices and patients in a similar way, patients' needs differ in many ways. Individuals have a wide range of experience and comfort with technology. They use different software and hardware from many practices, sometimes using phones or computers that can be up to 15 years old, and they may be running software equally as out-of-date. If an individual encounters issues with software compatibility, they don’t have an IT department to contact in the same way many practices do. At pMD, we do our best to support every possible software and hardware configuration on laptops, desktops, phones, and tablets. We also integrate all options in a seamless manner, allowing for use of a web browser or a native app. 

The seamless patient experience


On the software engineering end, this involves addressing a complicated mix of all possible configurations with special attention paid to potential issues and workarounds. But, on the patient’s end, it simply looks like a functioning telehealth encounter that is as easy to use as clicking or tapping on a link or on a push-notification. The goal is to have the patient able to interact with telehealth in a manner that fits smoothly into their daily life. Patients can move easily from texting their children one moment to tapping on the text-message link telehealth visit the next. Users can pause their twitter use to tap a push-notification alerting them that their telehealth appointment is about to begin. Or, they can switch from emailing colleagues to starting their telehealth encounter by following a link sent to their inbox. And it all just works!  Nonetheless, if there are questions, as always, a friendly pMD employee is always ready and waiting to help with any issues that may arise. Want to learn more about pMD telehealth? Contact us! We'd love to hear from you.

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.



Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Health care delivery tomorrow will look much different than today for a variety of reasons. Consumer expectations, the emergence of non-traditional players, and a move to value-based care are among the driving forces. Yet nearly all advancements ride on the backbone of technology and the ability to harness a massive quantity of data now being produced.  Read More

This week CMS announced a new payment model to provide up-front investments and capitated payments to healthcare organizations in rural areas. Through this new model, CMS aims to address disparities by providing a way for rural communities to transform their health care delivery systems by leveraging innovative financial arrangements as well as operational and regulatory flexibilities.  Read More

While many providers are starting to see their patient volume levels return to pre-pandemic levels, most physicians and advanced practice providers are still concerned about the effect COVID-19 will have on visits and care. Nearly three-quarters of health care providers in a recent survey are concerned that the rise in newly uninsured patients will continue to keep people away from routine visits and elective procedures.  Read More

Physicians and health policy experts say the pandemic is accelerating efforts to restructure primary care, which accounts for about half the nation’s doctor visits every year. The remedy being most widely promoted is to change the way doctors are reimbursed, away from the predominant system today, under which doctors are paid a fee for every service they provide.  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, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.


During this time, where there is so much focus on our physical health, it is essential to not forget about our mental health. With all the changes and challenges that we have to overcome with this pandemic, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed. Social distancing can make this worse and make everyone feel more alone. 


Mental health has been seen as a taboo topic to discuss, but it is time to remove the stigma. An estimated 44 million adults in the U.S. are living with a mental illness and studies have shown that poor mental health negatively affects our physical health. In the past, behavioral health has been an afterthought, however, providers have started to address behavioral health to improve overall health. Health care agencies like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have been working to integrate behavioral and physical health care services by making policies that focus on collaborative care and eliminate the gaps in care. We can also use technology to make behavioral and mental health treatments more accessible and integrated into our health care system. 

Typically, most patients will seek to visit a doctor if they are experiencing a cough or chest pains. Despite interest from patients, there are still barriers limiting patients from accessing mental health treatments. These barriers include a limited number of accessible mental health clinics, logistics of finding a mental health professional who is likely to accept their insurance, and social stigma. Also, patients in rural areas might avoid seeking mental health treatment for fear of being seen by another member of the community. These barriers make it difficult for patients to navigate their health care roadmap in search of the appropriate treatments. But what if telehealth could help? 

TECHNOLOGY AND MENTAL HEALTH 


Four out of five Americans own a smartphone, and there are over 20,000 apps on the market for mental health. Typically, smartphones are associated with creating more mental health issues, but we have the opportunity to turn smartphones into pocket therapists and mental health oases. COVID-19 has pushed telehealth into the limelight, and it looks like it is here to stay. Research has shown that 59% of patients are more likely to use telehealth services now than previously. Why is that?

Patients enjoy being able to visit with their doctor without the hassle of making the trip to the clinic or office. Telehealth has the opportunity to remove barriers for patients receiving treatments for their mental health, like giving patients more options for providers and making treatment more accessible for patients in more rural areas. Telehealth also gives patients access to a wide variety of treatments outside of traditional therapy. Patients who would feel uncomfortable starting therapy in person might be more open to seeing a therapist in the privacy of their own home. Telehealth therapy also reduces patient travel time and other logistical issues. The benefits of telehealth also extend to the providers themselves by reducing their practice's operating costs and overhead expenses.

pMD’S TELEHEALTH SOLUTION


pMD provides unparalleled customer support and strives to improve both patients’ and providers’ lives. pMD’s clinical communication and care navigation platforms can help connect patients to providers and ensure patients are being treated holistically. pMD can help customize a solution for your practice to better serve your patients’ telehealth needs.

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.