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:


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.

Source: Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Chili peppers aren’t for the faint of heart, but maybe they should be. According to a recent study, those who consumed the spice at least four times per week reduced their risk of dying from a heart attack by a staggering 44 percent and from cerebrovascular disease by 61 percent.  Read More

•  Nearly 1.5 million people in the U.S. develop sepsis each year, with a mortality rate of 17 percent. For sepsis, it’s all about early detection, and now one hospital system is using AI to analyze EHR data to deliver real-time warnings to clinicians.  Read More

The U.S. is already behind the curve when it comes to primary care, and now it looks as if we’re moving in the wrong direction. A new study found a two percent drop in people with primary care physicians in the last decade, a decrease that represents millions of Americans.  Read More

Experts are predicting gene editing and data privacy will be among the top issues which determine the future of health in the next ten years. Will the first CRISPR-based medication be approved within the next decade? At least one expert says yes.  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.



Health Data Sharing is Caring: Overcoming Integration Hurdles


Over the last decade or two, we’ve seen much of the medical industry transition onto some kind of electronic health system as a result of government requirements. However, until recently, there’s been little emphasis on requiring these systems to be able to share health data with each other. At pMD, we endeavor to connect the world (in a HIPAA-happy way of course) in our mission to save patient lives. We strive to reduce manual data entry, saving users time while preventing avoidable medical errors. I have worked in the medical industry for almost a decade now, connecting hospitals and practices, and here's my brief view of the world from my corner of the office.


Keep it standard: HL7, that is


HL7, or Health Level 7, has been around for decades and still seems to be the most popular data format of choice. This agreed-upon format gives software systems a way to package health data relating to a patient (demographics, appointments, encounters, etc) in a structured way, so everyone can understand the shared data easily. This standard format allows for easier setup and quick go-lives of integration projects. I’ve worked on projects before where we were able to connect, format test, and go-live in a matter of days, as opposed to the usual weeks or months! The main challenge I usually come across is with connectivity or bizarre user workflows, rather than the interface itself. If your system supports this format, odds are you can integrate with a majority of the system players in the health industry. With that said, you may come across hurdles where some software companies cannot process data that seems basic. For example, a handful of big-name practice management systems cannot receive admission or hospitalization dates. Ask any biller or coder out there and this would boggle their minds! I theorize that these companies originally developed their interfaces for one specific scenario, which is fine to start with, but have not updated their systems since. It frustrates many a customer.


Consider VPN-less solutions


Packaging data in a standard HL7 format simplifies the way the systems read data, but it doesn’t address how to get data from A to B. This question can usually eat up a lot of time on a project, which I personally find can be the most painful hurdle of integration. While the internet offers many solutions, VPNs (virtual private networks) are still unfortunately the popular choice. This technology was made popular in the 1980s due to its security, but it can get very complicated to set up, and just becomes a maintenance nightmare if the connection breaks. The internet has come a long way since then, and with it cybersecurity. pMD certainly supports VPNs, but we prefer the other VPN-less solutions, such as web services. If only the health world would catch up to the banking industry when it comes to modern technology. Security officers out there, listen up! We all access our bank accounts online through the web, and not a VPN. They’re not needed anymore. Let’s stop living in the dark ages!


Facing hurdles with APIs


While VPNs are still a hospital’s best friend, it’s encouraging to see a shift to the development of Application Program Interfaces, or APIs, for integration. This is where a software system provides a standard way to integrate with their software - essentially saying, “here you go! If you follow these rules, we’ll connect with you without needing much work from us”. This really sounds great from a development perspective. It cuts downtime from having connectivity discussions, the data format is fixed and clear, and the main work is left to the vendor who wants to hook up to your system. In practice, however, it can actually be very challenging if this is designed poorly for the outside vendor. For example, I encountered an API that required 20+ individual message calls in order to submit a single financial transaction. This was quite messy as there were way too many pieces to line up and was just gearing up for mistakes. Ultimately, APIs are great, but since everyone seems to be developing their own right now, there’s really no standard, which is a bit of a burden on other vendors. While your own development team might need to do little after developing an API, asking other vendors to adhere to your private API is a potential hurdle that will slow the project down. At times, it can even be a show-stopper because not everyone will have the resources to work with every separate format. 


We take great pride at pMD in our ability to connect physicians, hospitals, and patients. We’ve integrated countless systems which transmit millions of messages daily. It’s fun to think back at how many keystrokes saved, typos avoided, and/or medical errors averted because of our integrations. Let’s connect everyone!


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:


Everyone has a go-to family soup recipe that seems to magically cure any illness; but how about one of the world’s most deadly diseases? What started as an elementary school science experiment could have significant impacts on the fight against malaria.  Read More

•  This year’s flu season is off to an early start, spreading like wildfire. Even after seeing one co-worker or classmate fall victim after another, still, more than one-third of people refuse to get a flu shot. Widespread vaccination remains our best defense against this sometimes-deadly virus.  Read More

We may be on the verge of a major breakthrough in treating advanced breast cancer. Doctors recently released test results of two experimental drugs, one of which can deliver chemotherapy directly to the cancer cell.  Read More

CVS launched a new program aimed at boosting access to genetic testing for people with advanced cancers. A partnership with the precision medicine company Tempus will make it easier for doctors to pinpoint the best treatment option.  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.


These days, being a patient comes with a slew of responsibilities: staying on top of your medical history, knowing which medications to take and when, calling in to make an appointment and actually remembering said appointment, following post-op or post-discharge instructions, and the list goes on.

Even with the help of supportive medical staff and a patient portal, patients still struggle to navigate through what is often a confusing health care environment. Why is that? Sometimes patient portals can introduce barriers that often slow the communication process. For instance, a majority aren’t mobile, forcing patients and doctors to log in from a computer. Then, once a message is sent, there’s usually a delay in response because let’s be honest, what medical professional is at their computer 24/7 to receive and subsequently reply to messages?

Of course, we here at pMD understand the need for patient portals and the robust information they house. With pMD’s updates to its secure messaging platform, we give care teams more advanced messaging functionality that supports a variety of patient communication scenarios while supplementing your practice’s patient portal. These communication tools also empower patients to overcome barriers that prevent them from being involved in their own health care.

Patients can reach out to their practice on their mobile device via pMD® Secure Messaging™, saving them from several failed login attempts in the portal or being forced to listen to smooth jazz on loop while on hold. Let’s say a patient is experiencing headaches and insomnia that may be related to their newly prescribed medication. The patient sends a message to the practice in pMD, the message gets routed to the Medical Assistant (MA), who then promptly discusses with the doctor. The MA responds back immediately in a group message that includes the doctor and the patient letting the patient know they can stop taking the medication. After the patient says thanks and bye, the MA is able to then end the conversation and close the message thread. The patient can still reach back out in the future by starting the process again. This feature gives practices and patients a seamless and efficient way to connect about important and time-sensitive matters such as appointment scheduling, test results, and urgent health-related questions without the hold music or delayed emails.

With the ability to send group chats, multiple users in a practice are able to communicate with a patient in a single, secure conversation. Everyone involved in the patient’s care, such as schedulers, nurses, and specialists, including the patient, can connect on one unified message thread for complete transparency. 

In addition to messaging, providers can also securely communicate with patients and colleagues through face-to-face video calling or in-app voice calling. By giving users a mobile option for video calling and also a way to call through the app, health care professionals are able to foster real-time communication with patients, keeping their care coordinated and compliant. 

“We started using pMD® Secure Messaging™ because we needed a HIPAA-compliant way to communicate with our patients,” said Dr. Stacey Marquee. “It’s been a great decision so far! We’re able to message with our patients about clinical information, medications, appointment cancellations, and for general check-in. Adoption across our staff and patients is high because the app is simple to download and very easy to use.”

Let’s face it; life happens. Patients are real people who try to balance busy work schedules and their personal lives while figuring out the health care landscape all at once. With pMD’s communication tools, patients have a convenient way of engaging with their care teams and reducing miscommunication and confusion. For practices, being able to fast-track communication with their patients saves support staff more time and reduces phone volume by 12%.

“Using the pMD app was a real anxiety reducer,” says one patient. “If you have a question and something’s not right, you can get an answer through the pMD app. It’s immediate. You feel closer to the doctor and staff. It’s more personal. I would prefer practices that use this type of technology!”

Improving patient engagement and continuity of care is the first step in promoting positive patient outcomes. Better communication tools mean patients are more involved in their care, making them happier and, more importantly, healthier.


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:


Roughly half of the new 133 grants announced by the US Department of Agriculture, totaling $42.5 million, will help bankroll the deployment of telemedicine programs in rural areas. These grants are the latest push from the federal government to improve education and healthcare access in rural areas across the country.  Read More

Often times patients are unaware of the costs of health care services until it is too late and they are on the hook for expensive medical bills. University Health is now offering a price estimator on its website to give patients a head start in planning.  Read More

Researchers say that artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to predict future heart risks and even death by examining electrocardiogram (ECG) test results. The studies are among the first to use AI to predict future events from ECG results rather than to detect current health problems.  Read More

Amazon is attempting to make clinical documentation more efficient with its new medical transcription service. Cerner is already using the platform to develop a digital voice scribe that can "listen" in the background during a patient's visit and transcribe physician-patient conversations into text.  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:


• It’s Black Friday today, which means deals, deals, and more deals. And TVs and sweaters are not the only things on sale. Some health care organizations are getting into the spending frenzy, offering discounts on items such as medical supplies or healthcare services. One hospital is even offering a 50 percent discount on balances paid in full.  Read More

In this day and age, social media represents the biggest outlet for those seeking support. Behavioral health and social media have a long-standing and complicated relationship, but Pinterest is making an effort to address a big issue by removing posts related to self-harm.  Read More

Amazon’s Alexa has a new skill; managing your medications and reminding you to take them. This is another big step for the tech giant into health care, adding fuel to the conversation of convenience versus privacy, especially when it comes to confidential information like medical details.  Read More

• As we close out the year, it is once again time to consult the crystal ball for what 2020 holds in store for the health care industry. Will the balance of power begin to shift from hospital systems back to physician groups? Amid revelations about data privacy, will companies that are transparent and ethical come out ahead?  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.