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:


When the COVID-19 pandemic hit earlier this year, health system executives had to shift their priorities to fast-track innovations such as virtual care services and artificial intelligence tools. But the quick implementation of telehealth solutions in response to the pandemic highlighted areas needing improvement—in particular, integration gaps, especially with platforms not built for healthcare workflows.  Read More

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to running a successful physician practice, but a new report has found that top-performing organizations have a couple of characteristics in common. Practices performing the best related to operations, profitability, productivity, and value invested more in staff, facilities, and operations compared to the median of all multispecialty practices.  Read More

Surgery has undergone a great deal of fluctuation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. As the country grappled with a relatively unknown virus and raced to learn more about it, hospitals suspended elective and non-urgent surgeries. But as states reopened, surgery service lines did as well, and now many organizations are working to adjust surgery services to the new normal.  Read More

According to a recent survey, health system execs expect it will be at least 2022 before their operations return to anything resembling a pre-pandemic "normal." Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they were moderately or extremely concerned about the financial viability of their organizations in the absence of an effective COVID-19 vaccine or treatment.  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.


Injuries are tough. For student athletes, it can mean missed seasons, time spent on the bench, a distraction from classes, and sometimes...extra semesters to make up for it. And for the average adult, an injury can cause serious disruptions to everyday life, like less time playing with the kids, having to take off work, reduced mobility, and even loss of independence. 

Though for many patients, injury rehabilitation can be as much an obstacle as the injury itself. 

Certainly, navigating the web of providers and care settings can be a daunting and difficult task. For student athletes, this may mean coordinating care between doctors, physical therapists, athletic trainers, or some combination thereof. Similarly, injury rehabilitation for the average patient will likely involve coordinating care between some combination of doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors, or potentially even a home health care provider, depending on the severity of the injury.

In each of these cases, the sheer number of appointments, providers, and coordination that must occur can leave many patients feeling disillusioned, confused, and “out on their own” -- left to navigate this intricate web and direct their recovery themselves. What’s more, the siloed nature of this landscape leaves many opportunities for patients to “fall through the cracks” on their road to recovery. For more minor injuries, this intimidating landscape might be enough to convince patients that their injury rehabilitation can wait. 

Although the severity of the injury, the patient's circumstances, and the combination of providers needed to treat the injury are unique to each case, a commonality between any injury rehabilitation situation is that the patient serves as the vector of coordination between all points or providers. Patients are oftentimes physically carrying documents, forms, and their own PHI (protected health information) from one provider’s office to another. Certainly, this system is neither efficient nor free from error. The lack of communication and coordination in this setting makes both patient and providers' lives more difficult.

Here at pMD, our mission is to improve patient lives, and in the process, make doctors’ lives easier. pMD’s secure messaging solution was born out of a need for providers within a practice to be able to communicate with each other. But over the past 5 years, we’ve expanded the platform, to allow providers to communicate with other providers outside of their practice, as well as with patients directly. Just recently, we introduced group messaging to our platform, allowing for an even higher degree of coordination between patients, providers, and caretakers.  

In the case of injury rehabilitation, pMD’s secure messaging platform gives patients the opportunity to communicate and coordinate directly with their providers, ask follow-up questions related to their rehab plans, and send and receive documents from their providers. Providers, in turn, are able to control conversations with patients, share secure documents, communicate about PHI freely, and coordinate with other providers, all while keeping their personal contact information private. 

In today’s ever-complicated health care landscape, communication and coordination are key to a quick recovery. pMD’s communication software serves as an elegant solution to many of the nuanced problems associated with injury rehabilitation and care coordination that currently plague this environment. In the process of improving system efficiencies within and between practices, we hope to make patients' lives better, so they can have that time back with their kids, get back on the field, or get back to work. Because that’s what really matters!

 

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:


Once again CMS is expanding the telehealth services covered by Medicare during the COVID-19 public health emergency, as coronavirus cases surge in large swaths of the country. This time adding 11 new virtual care services, including cardiac and pulmonary rehab. Since the start of the pandemic, the agency has now added more than 135 new virtual care services to what's covered under fee-for-service Medicare.  Read More

Mental health issues are spiking during the COVID-19 pandemic as Americans face enormous social and economic stress. At the same time, access to behavioral healthcare—which had already been limited due to resource shortages and stigma—is even more limited. The AMA is spearheading an effort to help make behavioral health more accessible by providing support to physicians working to combine mental and physical health services in their medical practices.  Read More

Scientists have confirmed a 25-year-old Nevada man was infected twice with the coronavirus. This is the first confirmed case of reinfection with the virus in the U.S. and the fifth confirmed reinfection case worldwide. The cases underscore the importance of social distancing and wearing masks even if previously infected with the virus.  Read More

This week CMS detailed relaxed repayment terms for providers and suppliers that received COVID-19 loans. Among the changes include lowering the interest rate from 10 to four percent and delaying recoupment to one year from the issuance date of the accelerated or advance payment.  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.


As the world continues to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care industry has ridden waves of changes brought on by “the new normal.” The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services acted quickly to remove barriers to providing the best care possible to patients by announcing that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) would not penalize the use of video conferencing tools that are not HIPAA-compliant during the pandemic. This notification went on to suggest that providers seek out HIPAA-compliant video communication products whenever possible, but the lifted restriction allowed providers to care for their patients utilizing their best judgment without red tape restricting their ability to improve patients’ lives. 

However, now that we are seven months into the pandemic, one of the questions I have been hearing more and more often is: “What makes pMD’s telehealth video platform HIPAA-compliant?”

Let’s get technical


While the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) policy has several goals, the one that applies to video conferencing is to respect individuals' rights to privacy by requiring secure handling of individuals’ health data. Covered entities, such as health care providers, insurance providers, and clearinghouses, in addition to business associates, or another company that conducts business with a covered entity and comes into contact with patient information, are subject to the HIPAA legislation. 

Two major sections of the HIPAA legislation are The Privacy Rule and The Security Rule. The Privacy Rule covers the patients’ rights to privacy and appropriate processes for using and sharing PHI, or Protected Health Information, no matter the medium used. The Security Rule sets standards for electronic storage and transfer of PHI. These standards within The Security Rule include administrative actions, physical safeguards, and technical standards.

pMD’s telehealth video chat functionality (as well as all our other software products) meets the requirements set forth by the HIPAA legislation. We execute Business Associate Agreements (BAA) with our customers in order to provide the assurance that we will handle our clients’ PHI with the utmost care, to disclose how we manage and process PHI, to outline how we will safeguard the data, and to determine how we will help our clients comply with the Privacy Rule.

In addition, pMD utilizes the highest encryption standards across the industry in order to protect our customers. While other vendors shy away from storing clinical information and, in some cases, even advertise that they will not store any information on your behalf, pMD understands the clinical importance of having a fully integrated solution for telemedicine and instead builds robust technical systems to manage your patients’ health information.

pMD also understands that HIPAA-compliance is not necessarily enough to protect PHI, so we consistently go above and beyond the security measures required by legislation to ensure we serve as a trustworthy and reliable partner for our customers. Each year, pMD undergoes rigorous voluntary security audits to confirm that we meet the industry’s best practices.

Make the best decision for your practice


While pMD has taken strong steps on the security front, this is still only one of the critical factors that should go into evaluating telehealth vendors. pMD’s extraordinary customer service, our collaborative approach to implementing the best telehealth workflow regardless of your organization’s size, and the intense focus we place on the pMD user experience set us apart from the competition. All of this is backed by the organization you know and trust: a 20+ year player in the health care industry with thousands of happy customersIf you’d like to learn more about our telehealth solutions, contact us.

Related articles:
https://www.pmd.com/blog/post/your-future-revealed-telehealth-with-pmd
https://www.pmd.com/blog/post/supporting-patients-one-video-call-at-a-time
https://www.pmd.com/blog/post/pmd-the-most-valuable-player-in-telehealth
https://www.pmd.com/blog/post/pmd-helping-practices-and-patients-navigate-telehealth-when-they-need-it-most


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



Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The AMA announced new CPT codes for multi-virus tests used to detect COVID-19 and flu with a single test. The update was published to the new code set, which was approved for immediate use, and also includes editorial revisions for reporting medical services that have become part of the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read More

Telehealth adoption snowballed in the early months of the pandemic as patients turned to digital channels for needed healthcare. Prior to the pandemic, the majority of virtual visits were for on-demand urgent care. But this year, the volume of virtual specialty and scheduled visits outpaced urgent care, suggesting telehealth is becoming normalized across more fields and use cases.  Read More

The coronavirus has fundamentally changed the landscape of medicine, prompting some physicians to retire before they had planned. Some have had to close their practices because so many of their patients stopped going to the doctor once the pandemic began, while others can’t continue to provide care due to the increased risk to their own health or the health of their families.  Read More

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is threatening to withhold U.S. funding from hospitals that fail to comply with federal requirements on reporting data about Covid-19 and influenza patients. Among the data requested from hospitals are the number of Covid-19 patients in each hospital and the availability of medical equipment such as ventilators and protective gowns for 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.


As a member of pMD’s sales team, I have the distinct pleasure of speaking to a large number of individuals in the health care industry that are seeking better, more intuitive methods of communication amongst their internal team and with their patients. Most of the time, this outreach on behalf of the prospective client is done with this sole purpose in mind. However, these individuals are mostly surprised at the level of functionality and the communications risks that they can mitigate with a more robust product, like pMD,  that actually serves multiple purposes other than securely texting.

Today's world is a busy place and a premium is placed on our time. Efficiency is at the forefront of the majority of people's minds and any step we can take to make better use of our time is a must. Health care providers are often at the extreme end of this lifestyle. There is a lot to do, a lot of people depending on you and often there is not enough time in the day. 

Having a consolidated means of communicating with your team and managing your day can be a great time saver and allow for accurate and transparent communication amongst a care team. This is a reality for most of us in our personal lives. At this point in America, most of us have a smartphone that keeps us connected with the ones we love and a calendar to keep us focused on our day. However, in our professional lives, we are relegated to a team calendar in one location, printing our rounding or patient list from another, and sending vague, often cryptic text messages to our colleagues or office staff to communicate any number of items dealing with a patient's care. We have all done it and are equally guilty. It's the world we live in.

pMD recognized this need to have patient, schedule, and communication management in one location and made it a reality in our pMD® Pro solution. Now, providers and their support staff have the ability to manage their rounding list, view their appointment schedule, and communicate contextually with their colleagues. Taking one step further, providers now have the ability to enter a shared clinical note for a patient on their rounding list. Since this is a shared note, all providers in the practice are able to view this note as well as make additional entries in the event of weekend on-call or cross-coverage. 

All of this is very helpful and efficient being in one location, however, in today's world, the need to communicate securely goes outside the confines of our practices and colleagues. Due to the rise of COVID-19, the world has seen a drastic shift in many industries and health care businesses have been uniquely challenged because, pandemic or not, people still get sick and need to see their provider.  This has pushed telehealth from a minimally utilized novelty to an imperative must-have in providing care to our population. This brings to mind several questions: How do I do this securely? How do I keep my personal contact information private? What is the learning curve and success rate for my elderly population going to be?

All of these questions are valid and deserve to be addressed. Using pMD’s solution, the ability to communicate securely through chat, voice calls, and video calls is not limited to only members of your business. All of these methods of communication can be utilized with patients in a controlled fashion that does not expose your personal information as a provider. pMD’s solution from a patient's perspective is intuitive and simple. This is why it has been so effective for our current customers who have already deployed pMD telehealth to their patient population. If your patient has ever sent a text or received a FaceTime call from a friend or loved one, then they will be immediately successful in completing their virtual appointment with you.

To bring the communication loop full circle, automated appointment reminders have been developed and put into place to confirm with patients in advance and drive adherence to appointment times. These reminders, once put into place, are automated and allow patients to confirm or cancel their appointment well in advance of the scheduled date. Having a confirmed cancellation gives the practice more time to either fill that open time slot or give the provider time back into their day, reducing wasted time. After all, efficiency with our time and diverting that newfound time towards more important tasks (like providing the best possible patient care) is the goal, right?


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:


Telehealth has been around for a long time, but only recently has it gained the critical mass that most have long expected. Over the past six months, as hospitals and health systems have pursued telemedicine and remote patient monitoring programs, they've had to address some learning curves and growing pains, such as how to cultivate clinician buy-in, adjust to new workflows, iron out IT challenges, educate patients, manage new data streams, safeguard security and more.  Read More

The coronavirus tightened its grip on the American heartland, with infections surging in the Midwest. The U.S. is averaging more than 40,000 new cases a day. While that's dramatically lower than the peak of nearly 70,000 over the summer, the numbers remain worrisome. The nation's death toll also eclipsed 200,000 last week, by far the highest in the world.  Read More

Federal agencies have charged 345 people across the country, including more than 100 providers and four telehealth executives, with submitting more than $6 billion in fraudulent claims to payers. Of that, a whopping $4.5 billion was connected to telemedicine schemes. More than 250 medical professionals had their federal healthcare billing privileges revoked for being involved in the scams.  Read More

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven rapid adoption of digital health technologies, and doctors see the potential for innovations like augmented intelligence to play a bigger role in care delivery in the next five years. But to ensure the digital health boom lasts beyond the pandemic, physicians say these technologies need to address their biggest needs around interoperability and improved workflow.  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.

Everyone who has received medical care in the U.S. has experienced the complex system built around paying for the care you receive. From complicated insurance types to delayed and unforeseen bills, many agree that the financial burdens that come from U.S. health care are the toughest to swallow. The system, in all its complexity, is difficult for a reason. The negotiations that take place between insurance carriers and medical billing teams determine the amount that each patient has to pay on a case-by-case basis. The limited forms of payment exist for the security of the patient and the protection of their private health information. But is there a way to improve the patient experience when it comes to paying for medical care?

In 2018, in a survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics, researchers found that 68% of patients would be more likely to return to a practice for future care if a cost estimate was available to them at the time of service. It was also found that 75% of patients wished they could keep a credit card on file for any balances that come up during their care. Simple fixes go a long way towards improving patient retention and driving practice growth. The easier you make it for your patients to pay for their care, the more money you are likely to receive.

Cost estimates of patient care are one of the largest things a practice can do to make patients feel more financially comfortable while navigating their episode of care. An unforeseen bill, or one that is larger than expected, can unsettle a patient and may lead to higher rates of uncollected revenue. Upfront estimates provide peace of mind and allow patients to make informed decisions about the care they are receiving. The HIMSS Analytics survey found that 46% of patients also said they would be more likely to pay a significant portion of their bill upfront if an estimate were available. This simple step can create massive benefits for both practice and patient by keeping all parties informed and engaged throughout all aspects of care.

The growth of consumer culture in health care also means patients want to be able to pay for their visits using modern solutions. Scheduling apps and HIPAA-compliant payment portals are growing in popularity and patients are responding positively. By allowing patients to pay online, not only is the patient experience improved, but the providers will receive reimbursement for their work faster than paper billing alternatives. A 2016 survey by Aite Group shows that 56% of all bills that year were paid online, while 77% of health care practices specifically use paper billing systems. This comparison shows that the needs of the 50% of patients that state they would prefer online or paperless medical billing are not being properly addressed by their health care providers.

Tools like pMD® Charge Capture™ allow providers to capture their charges in real-time and reduce billing lag. These workflow improvements are the first step to providing patients with quick and accurate estimates of the money they owe and create more actionable opportunities for providers to maximize their revenue while driving patient growth. It all stems from the patient experience.


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:


The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 this week, by far the highest confirmed death toll from the virus in the world. Deaths continue to climb rapidly and a widely cited model from the University of Washington predicts the U.S. toll will double to 400,000 by the end of the year as schools and colleges reopen and cold weather sets in.  Read More

The economic fallout of COVID-19 may accelerate acquisitions of independent practices unless practice leaders consider new ways of doing business. Evidence shows those organizations leveraging value-based contracts to implement an advanced primary care model were well-positioned to pivot during the pandemic. Because providers do not rely on volumes to keep the doors open, they did not experience the same revenue losses as traditional practices.  Read More

• Telemedicine is here to stay, and clinics that perfect the virtual patient experience will undoubtedly experience better patient outcomes. For telehealth to be effective there needs to be a good balance between addressing patient learning curves, implementation issues, and insurance limitations, with considerations for physician burnout and workflow concerns.  Read More

• Walmart is piloting a drone delivery service of home sample collection kits for COVID-19 in partnership with Quest Diagnostics. Once the kit is delivered, the patients can perform a nasal swab in their homes and send the sample to Quest Diagnostics using an included prepaid shipping label for a touch-free experience.  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.

For those under 50 years old, using mobile technology is second nature and often the preferred method of communication and interaction for younger generations. Socializing, viewing content, and even activities such as banking are all regularly done via mobile devices. So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was little concern that younger patients would struggle using mobile technology for virtual care. But what about seniors? For many, the first instinct is to assume that seniors would struggle to adapt to technology, especially as it relates to telemedicine.

According to a recent survey, 61 percent of Medicare-eligible seniors feel they have embraced technology more during the pandemic, with nearly half of correspondents reporting they have even begun binge-watching shows. In fact, a staggering 89 percent of those seniors reported having a smartphone, with only 11 percent using a smart mobile device only as a result of the pandemic. 

I bet you didn’t expect that! When we think of mobile technology, we have an inherent tendency to discount seniors, but...

How Are Seniors Adapting to Mobile Telemedicine? 

“But will my older patients be able or willing to download an app to see their doctor?” 

This is a great question and one that we’re asked regularly by medical practices. By now, most practices realize there is no putting telemedicine back in the box, but concern still lingers about how to care for their senior patients virtually.

Let’s take a look at the numbers. Of the nearly 130,000 patients over the age of 60 invited by their practice to use pMD, more than 75 percent have successfully downloaded and accessed the app on their phone or tablet. Of course, we have a secure backup option using the web for those patients who do not have access to or feel uncomfortable installing a mobile app, but overall, seniors have proven to have strongly embraced mobile for telemedicine. 

Why Mobile?

With telemedicine, the quality of the audio and visual directly impacts the quality of the care. Mobile devices today are built for just this type of communication with the highest quality, most reliable cameras and speakers. This is especially important for senior patients with poor hearing and/or sight. These devices also work on both wifi and cellular service, doubling the chances of having a clear, effective telehealth visit.

Support for Seniors is Key

There’s no sugar coating it, seniors are at a much higher risk when leaving their homes during the current health crisis.

“My husband has severe heart and lung issues,” says Jan, the wife of a patient using pMD for virtual visits. “If he gets this bug it will be fatal, so we feel much relieved to be able to talk to and see the doctor without the challenges of getting him out of the house and lifting the wheelchair as well as the exposure. What pMD does for us is literally helping to save my husband's life. This service [pMD] is such a blessing for us, ” continues Jan. 

We’re living in a scary time right now, one that is filled with an immense amount of rapid change. If we just throw technology at people, especially seniors, to which mobile is not as intuitive, then of course you will be met with angst, confusion, and resistance. But, if we are able to provide adequate customer support to alleviate those stresses, you’ll find patients are much more open to using new technologies. 

This is why at pMD we place a strong emphasis on providing unparalleled customer support to all of our users.

Sometimes we just need someone to walk us through it!


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.