The pMD Blog

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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.



Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Hearing music in an operating room during surgery is not uncommon, but it doesn’t usually come from the patient on the operating table. A video surfaced this week of a patient in London playing the violin as surgeons simultaneously removed her brain tumor. Woken up in the middle of the operation, the surgeons wanted to ensure they did not compromise parts of the brain necessary for playing the violin.  Read More

It has certainly been a bad flu season this year, but early signs suggest the vaccine is working, at least for one group. While this season's vaccine has been virtually ineffective against the Type A virus in younger adults, it has been more than 50 percent effective for kids. In all, the CDC estimates at least 14,000 Americans have already died of the flu this season.  Read More

Recruiting and retaining top physician talent is a perennial thorn in the side of health care executives, especially those in rural areas. But forget signing bonuses and relocation packages. According to three CEOs, when physicians evaluate job offers, they now place more weight on location factors such as an area's education system, the quality, and availability of housing, recreational activities, social events, restaurants, and shopping.  Read More

We continue to see an acceleration of rural hospitals shutting their doors, reaching a record-setting 19 last year. A recent report identified nine indicators to measure whether a hospital is likely to close, including occupancy rates, age of the facility, system affiliation, total revenue, and case mix index. While research has shown that states which have expanded Medicaid decreased the likelihood of closure by 70 percent on average, 14 states have still yet to do so.   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.


Unlocking Patient Access to Specialty Care




Conventional wisdom in health care typically points to increasing access to primary care as one of the biggest drivers when it comes to lowering health care spend and improving patient quality of life. It makes intuitive sense: patients with fewer barriers between them and a Primary Care Physician (PCP) probably stay healthier. However, a recent study is challenging that assumption. Researchers found that, when comparing patients in rural settings to those in urban neighborhoods, rural patients had poorer health outcomes. Again, this might make sense when one considers the likely fewer number of primary care providers in small towns, but the underlying cause the study found was surprising. Researchers discovered that access to a specialist accounted for 55% of the difference in preventable hospitalizations.  Proximity to a PCP didn’t affect the numbers.

Kenton Johnston, lead author of the study told Modern Healthcare:  "CMS and other health policymakers are misguided if they think that expanding access to primary-care providers alone will eliminate disparities in health outcomes for chronically ill rural Americans. The specialized skills and expertise brought by specialists for treating particular chronic conditions are necessary."

This likely comes as a surprise to many readers, but at pMD we’ve had a front-row seat to the essential role that specialists play in patient care since our company was started (our very first customer was a Cardiologist!).  We’re continuing to add new ways for those practices to give their patients access to the care they need, even when those individuals might be geographically located far from the practice.

As an example, our recent release of Patient Chat Routers functionality allows practices to open up new lines of text-based communication for their patients who are enrolled in pMD® Secure Messaging™.  Based on the patient’s request, the message will then be routed to a designated group or individual in the practice. This feature gives practices a seamless and efficient way to connect with their patients about appointment scheduling, test results, and health-related questions.

In 2020, we’ll leverage that foundation and continue to build additional innovative tools for our customers to utilize in order to facilitate frictionless access to care. Soon, Patient Chat Routers will be able to dynamically route messages based on a practice’s call schedule, and we hope to also expand beyond text routing into phone calls as well - something practices often have to rely on via answering services today. Our goal is to break down the barriers that prevent patients from getting the care they need!


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:


It’s official, the deadly coronavirus which has cost the lives of more than 1,000 people, is no longer nameless. Drumroll please, the World Health Organization has named the virus COVID-19.  After taking nearly two months to name the disease, W.H.O decided not to include a location, animal, or group of people, to avoid any stigma.  Read More

Imagine you need surgery, and the best surgeon for the job is in New York City. However, there is one big problem; you live four hours away from the city. Worry not, advances in telerobotics and 5G are paving the way for doctors to perform remote surgeries, expanding health to remote areas. These applications have the potential to drastically curb the damage caused by cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of death in the world.  Read More

Social determinants of health (SDOH), such as housing insecurity, employment, education, and transportation, have become an important issue in recent years, accounting for $2.5 billion in the last two years. Although there have been significant investments made recently, a report found that only 57 of the country’s 626 health systems committed funds to address social determinants directly.  Read More

Healthgrades has released its list of America's 50 best hospitals, representing the top one percent of hospitals in the nation. Healthgrades analyzed the performance of nearly 4,500 U.S. hospitals in treating 32 conditions and procedures, including heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, and sepsis. California leads the way with 13 hospitals on the list.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The Palo Alto Health Care System will become the world's first 5G-enabled hospital, potentially paving the way for VA patients to tap into the nation's largest integrated healthcare system. The ability to deliver three-dimensional images of patients' anatomy with such high clarity and consistency will open the door to allow VA's best physicians to consult during surgery even if they are across the country.  Read More

The much-hyped gene-editing technique CRISPR has taken another monumental step towards being safely used to combat tough-to-treat cancers. After more than three years of in-human tests, researchers have published their first report describing the trial. Using the genetically-edited cells to supercharge the immune system has caused no adverse effects in cancer patients, but it's too soon to tell if it can be a cure.  Read More

According to the American Medical Association (AMA), significantly more physicians are using emerging health technology than they were three years ago. Most notably, the number of physicians utilizing virtual visits has doubled since 2016. Along with measuring the use of telehealth, the survey also takes a look at the emergence of technologies such as remote monitoring, patient engagement, access to clinical data, and more.  Read More

Scientists have uncovered a new clue to how autism disrupts the brain's information highways. According to researchers, an abnormality in cells that produce a substance called myelin may be the key. Either too little or too much myelin coating can result in a wide range of neurological problems, which could help explain why autism spectrum disorders include such a wide range of social and behavioral features.  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 Wuhan Coronavirus is spreading, which has led the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to declare the outbreak a global health emergency. The designation gives countries the option to take preventative measures such as closing borders, canceling flights, screening people arriving at airports, or others. Although the U.S. reported its first case of human-to-human transmission on Thursday, the C.D.C. says the immediate risk to the American public remains relatively low.  Read More

The EHR company Practice Fusion has admitted to soliciting and receiving kickbacks from a major opioid company. As a result, the company will pay a $145 million settlement for utilizing its software to influence physicians to prescribe opioid pain medication. Between 2014 and 2019, health care providers using the software received CDS alerts designed by pharmaceutical companies just before writing prescriptions.  Read More

Artificial Intelligence (AI) remains a hot topic in health care, and Microsoft is getting in on the action. This week the company announced AI for Health, a five-year, $40 million program to help organizations leverage AI and machine learning to impact the health of patients and populations worldwide.  Read More

Just when you thought dogs couldn’t get any cooler, guess again. It turns out that our best friends are becoming our best medicine as well. Their remarkable sense of smell enables them to detect diseases, such as ovarian cancer, and their genius for observing our behavior helps them guide us physically and emotionally. Some dogs are trained to detect low blood sugar in diabetic patients up to 20 minutes before a device.  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:


Health officials have diagnosed a Chicago woman with the deadly Coronavirus, making her the second confirmed case in the United States. Luckily she was not symptomatic when flying, significantly limiting the concern of transmission to others. U.S health officials are also monitoring 63 additional cases across 22 states.  Read More

There's no shortage of logistical crossovers between theme parks and health care organizations, but so far one has had much more success when creating positive consumer experiences. Ultimately, it comes down to four things; the people, the platform, the places and the processes.  Read More

A new watch has received FDA clearance to be used to detect irregular heart rates. Researcher plan to use the watch in order to build solutions to help with screening, diagnosis, and management of patients with AFib. More than 10 million people in the U.S. may be at high risk for the condition, with about one-third going undiagnosed.  Read More

The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms in healthcare is poised to expand significantly over the next few years, but serious questions around the ethical and responsible use still remain. According to the CTO of Philips, there are five guiding principles for responsible use of AI in healthcare and personal health applications: well-being, oversight, robustness, fairness, and transparency.  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:


A doctor in Texas has been found guilty of falsely diagnosing patients with life-long degenerative diseases. Why would someone commit such a heinous act of malpractice, you may ask? I was all part of a $325 million fraud scheme in which patients where administered chemotherapy and other invasive treatments they did not need based on the false diagnoses.  Read More

On average, physicians are spending just more than 16 minutes per patient encounter on their EHR, with chart review representing more than one-third of that time. While the study, which consisted of nearly 100 million patient visits across 155,000 physicians, did not draw any conclusions, positive or negative, the data should be beneficial in future research addressing physician burnout.  Read More

As Google continues to push steadily into health care, the tech giant has spent more time in the spotlight, then they wish. The company continues to face criticism for its efforts to obtain the health records of millions of Americans without their awareness or consent and now find themselves locked into a very public battle.  Read More

Health care may not be the first thing that comes to mind when talking about virtual reality. Still, the technology has the potential to make a significant impact on adolescent cancer patients. A new study is underway to determine if VR-based group therapy sessions will reduce levels of anxiety and depression while eliminating the burden of travel.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


As the lines between consumer technology and health care continue to blur, the future of health technology was on full display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week. Among the standouts include a new smart lighting system to provide the optimal light to both the surgical areas and patient rooms, a wearable that makes users feel five degrees hotter or colder, and headset that uses neurowave stimulation from light and sound to reduce chronic pain.  Read More

The health care industry is slowly adapting to the priorities of Millennials, but a recent survey reports that 62 percent are more likely to take their pets to the vet before going to the doctor themselves. In addition, 79 percent say they ask "Dr. Google" about a health issue before calling an actual doctor. The industry certainly has its work cut out for them.  Read More

This week the world was introduced to Ballie, Samsung's new "personal care robot" that uses artificial intelligence to help seniors connect with smart devices in the home, while also doubling as a fitness assistant. According to the company, the small, ball-shaped robot “understands you, supports you, and reacts to your needs to be actively helpful around the house."  Read More

Ever wondered which states have the most affordable healthcare? According to a new scorecard rating states on their adoption of policies to improve the affordability of healthcare, Massachusetts tops the list. The scorecard takes into account policy areas such as extending coverage, lowering out-of-pocket costs, reducing low-value care, and, curbing excess prices. Where does your state rank?  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The earlier you can identify breast cancer, the better, and artificial intelligence (AI) may soon provide the best chance to do so. According to researchers, their AI model is not only able to detect breast cancer from scans with the same accuracy as radiographers, but also reduce the number of false reports.  Read More

Millennials now represent the largest segment of the U.S. population and have very different expectations for the health care industry than generations before them. Their desire for improved health care access, value, and experience will force the industry to completely re-think its approach in order to win their business.  Read More

If you opt-in to Facebook’s new Preventative Health Tool, you can receive suggestions for routine health exams in your feed, including mammograms, flu shots, and blood pressure screenings. Users can mark when they’ve completed procedures, and elect to receive reminders when they’re due for a follow-up. While convenient, there are some inherent privacy issues that come with it.  Read More

The past 10 years have brought about some monumental changes in the health care industry. A look back highlights some of the biggest storylines of the decade, including the move from paper to digital records via EHRs, the rise and fall of Theranos, an opioid epidemic, and much much more.  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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


A new program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is using remote-controlled robots to bring some holiday cheer to children in isolation or on bed rest. These robots allow children like Jayden, who has cystic fibrosis, to participate in morale-boosting activities with other kids from their hospital beds.  Read More

• Direct-to-consumer genetic testing is a hot commodity this holiday season, but some experts are advising against giving your loved ones the gift of decoding their genes. Among the primary concerns are the shaky science and privacy behind these highly watered-down versions of what you can get from an actual healthcare provider.  Read More

• If you've passed through several U.S. airports during the holiday season, you may have been exposed to measles. Health officials in Austin, Texas, Chicago, and Richmond, Virginia, have all put out advisories regarding possible measles exposures and are trying to locate any persons who may have been exposed during the infectious period.  Read More

• The new year is almost here, which means health executives want to identify and capitalize on the trends that will shape health care in 2020. New strategies and technologies will play key roles, but so will investing in people. Organizations must place emphasis on attracting and retaining talent by improving the employee experience and building the capabilities of their employees.  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.