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.



Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The data of approximately 40,800 past and current patients at the Fetal Diagnostic Institute of the Pacific were impacted by a recent ransomware attack. It is crucial that health care employees are educated properly in ransomware prevention and should be paired with the right security tools and preventative measures.  Read More

•  JAMA Pediatrics recently published that usability standards for pediatric electronic health records (EHRs) should be considered different than those used for adult patients. The pediatric population faces unique safety challenges and these challenges should be addressed when designing EHRs.  Read More

•  The newest Apple watch includes a sensor that allows users to take an electrocardiogram that can be shared with their physician. While such heart data can provide insight on the patient's risk for stroke, there is also an increased chance of false positives.  Read More

•  On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared an epidemic surrounding teenage use of electronic cigarettes. The FDA gave device makers notice that they have 60 days to prove their ability to keep their devices away from minors.  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, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.





Apple. When you hear that word, do you think of the fruit that keeps the doctor away…or of the first company worth more than $1 trillion?

With over 700 million iPhones in use globally and 400 phones sold every minute, Apple is a relatable name to almost anyone. In fact, there is a popular YouTube video showing a 1-year old child successfully navigating an iPad, and then trying unsuccessfully to “swipe” a magazine page. How did a company that almost went bankrupt in 1997 become so relevant today?

Application Programming Interfaces

Innovation - Steve Jobs once said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Following the success of the iPod, Apple introduced the world to the touchscreen iPhone, establishing the company’s identity as an innovator. Apple continued to innovate by integrating different industries with its products through applications in the App Store. Most recently, Apple’s focus has been on advancing the health care industry by incorporating new application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers to work with.

For those new to APIs, imagine a fire hydrant. A fire hydrant limits how a fire truck can connect to a city’s water supply by regulating hose connection types. In a similar fashion, an API (hydrant) is a gatekeeper that sets guidelines on how a mobile application (fire truck) can interact with certain information stored on a device (water).

How is this related to health care?

Apple first began dabbling in health care with the introduction of HealthKit in 2014, which enabled users to download personal patient records from the Epic EHR. Then in 2015 and 2016, Apple released ResearchKit and CareKit respectively, improving data collection for researchers and enabling developers to create apps for day-to-day care. All three of these “kits” include APIs that expand a developer’s ability to work with patient information. In a bold move, Apple most recently introduced the new Health Records API.

Why is this new Health Records API a major milestone?

Before highlighting the benefits, it’s important to understand what this API targets. Over the past decade, one of the biggest changes to health care in the U.S. was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which required all health care providers to adopt and use some form of electronic medical records (EMR) by January 1, 2014. As one can imagine, out of this mandate arose a myriad of competing EMR and EHR (electronic health record) systems - two of the largest and most recognizable being Epic and Cerner. With the countless number of EMR/EHR systems, cross coverage of patient information can be a nightmare. To mitigate some of the compatibility issues, an organization called HL7 was formed to create standards for compatibility across different platforms. The latest standard created by HL7 for transferring health care information between systems is called FHIR. Despite this FHIR standard, the problem of a comprehensive patient record remained.

Apple’s latest Health Records API seeks to alleviate some issues with sharing patient information. The API enables users to download personal patient data onto their phones using the FHIR standard. The impact of this API is significant due to numerous partnerships that Apple established with hospital and health care systems. In January 2018, Apple began a pilot program with 12 hospitals including prominent names such as Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, and Cerner Healthe Clinic. To date, Apple has increased that number to over 80 participating hospitals.

As the list grows, so does the ability for patients to download and aggregate patient information on their phones. The benefits of providing a central node of information begin with empowering patients to understand and ask more questions about the care they are receiving. Using the API has other benefits - a patient on vacation is admitted to the ER because she has trouble breathing. Having no way to immediately access the patient record residing within her regular care network, an ER doctor would have to rely on intuition and experience to treat the symptoms. With the new Health Records API providing access to EHR systems, the patient could instead open an app on the phone and show the doctor any record of asthma, allergies, and medication that is pulled from her care network - and that right there could drastically improve her treatment!

Similar to Apple, pMD is focused on building innovative products that improve patient care and save lives. As new ways to manage patient information emerge, pMD will remain dedicated to keeping up-to-date with and leveraging the latest technology.

Find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, care navigation, and clinically integrated network software and services, please contact pMD.






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Cats and dogs can serve a bigger purpose than simply being a house pet. More and more, animals are being used for therapeutic purposes, also helping to heal and provide joy to the sick. Animal-assisted therapy can include quality time with not just dogs and cats but also miniature horses, cats, rabbits, and even llamas, oh my!  Read More

•  Civica Rx, a nonprofit generic drug company established and launched by some of the country's largest health systems, aims to lower the cost of medications. The company, which has drawn interest from over 120 health organizations, is first focusing on 14 drugs that are being administered in hospitals.  Read More

•  The National Institutes of Health's All of Us program aims to enroll 100K participants to share their data for research purposes. This program bears similarities to the UK's National Health Service's October roll-out of services that will allow equitable access to genetic and genomic testing.  Read More

•  The Affordable Care Act is yet again the center of a health care saga. A recent lawsuit by Republicans aiming to strike down the federal health law has Democrats and Republicans facing each other in court. The lawsuit comes after Congress eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance, which was part of last year's tax bill. Republicans say this action renders the entire health law unconstitutional, while Democrats are arguing against this.  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, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Over a third of calories that Americans consume these days come from foods purchased or eaten in restaurants, and most of these restaurant-goers are completely clueless about how many calories they're consuming. Every restaurant has their extreme calorie contenders, like Cheesecake Factory's Breakfast Burrito or Chili’s Honey-Chipotle Crispers & Waffles. The obesity crisis, which has reached epidemic proportions is showing no signs of slowing down for Americans over 5 years old.  Read More

•  A group of insurers filed a petition in July 2016 requesting two clarifications to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2015 Omnibus TCPA Order, which allows HIPAA-covered entities to communicate with patients that give their phone number to a health care provider. The changes to the current language would allow a patient's phone number given to any HIPAA-covered entity to constitute prior consent to make non-marketing calls.  Read More

•  Federal health officials have reported a sharp increase in STDs in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2017, a record high and 20,000 cases more than the previous year.  Read More

•  In a recent study from Pew Charitable Trusts, highly customizable EHRs that vary in design and use have been found to lead to inefficiencies that can fail to prevent patient harm or ultimately contribute to it. Organizations are encouraged to test EHR usability to evaluate system safety and identify challenges to prevent future harm.  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, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.





pMD’s culture promotes the importance of customer feedback, which we’ve discussed in previous blog posts. Through conferences, implementations, and support, we’re always looking for the best way to enhance our product so that our customers can focus on improving patients’ lives. So, it’s no surprise that since its launch in 2014, pMD’s secure messaging product has been molded by the feedback and input of our customers.

Recently, the pMD team has consistently heard that providers would like to utilize pMD® Secure Messaging™ to communicate with their patients using the same platform they already use for internal communication. As emails go unanswered and phone calls are forwarded to voicemail, messaging becomes the most effective and efficient choice when deciding how to communicate with patients.

With the number of Americans that own smartphones continuing to rise to 77% in 2018 (Pew Research Center), more patients than ever before can connect with their health care providers, so we asked ourselves: how can we make the process of communicating from both sides - patient and provider - as seamless as possible?

When engineering pMD’s system for messaging with patients, we started with everything that makes pMD’s current secure messaging system an optimal solution for health care providers: an easy-to-use interface similar to your favorite text messaging app, an architecture built around security compliance, and a system of robust and reliable notifications to ensure that time sensitive information is delivered when it matters most. We spent time improving our sign up process to remove clunky steps and make sure that new patients can be on-boarded and start messaging in seconds.

On the provider side, we added clear delineations between internal and external messages, so providers, office staff, and administrators will always be reminded when their communication is being sent outside the organization. We know how important it is for providers to maintain control of the conversation threads, so we designed a system that allows caregivers to open and close conversations, while still allowing patients to initiate conversations. Providers’ personal information is hidden from patients’ view, and messages with patients can be shared among all members of the care team so that providers can collaborate and patients receive the highest quality care. pMD® Clinical Communication™ is already helping organizations deliver better care, and this additional feature set will allow those groups to reach their community on a whole new level.

pMD is currently working with innovative health care organizations to transform the way they interact with their patients. If you’re interested in learning how we can help improve your patient care through custom workflows and communication tools, contact us!

Find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, care navigation, and clinically integrated network software and services, please contact pMD.






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A recent study showed that the combination of two immunotherapy drugs given to melanoma patients shrank brain tumors and prolonged the life of the patients whose cancer had spread to the brain. Melanoma is more likely than most cancers to invade the brain.  Read More

•  Trying to navigate the risks of overlooked Internet of Things (IoT) for hospitals can be a daunting task. One expert discusses some tips on how to avoid those unintended consequences resulting from the growing use of IoT in health care, such as performing due diligence on vendors and understanding what could go wrong any technology.  Read More

•  Falling from a plane and surviving? Sounds like a plot from a James Bond movie but a handful of lucky people have actually been in similar real-life scenarios and survived. A few tips on how to survive an insanely high fall? Being small, landing on something soft, not landing on ones head, and not falling in the first place are just a few factors that can help you survive a 10,000-foot fall.  Read More

•  Care coordination apps could be the answer to mismatched patient records shared between multiple providers. As little as 50% of patient records are correctly matched when more than one provider is involved. pMD's Care Navigation software is one such solution to this problem.  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, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.





Here’s a fun fact about me: before I started my career in health care technology sales, I was changing lives in other ways - I was a teacher. I hear a lot of shock when I talk about my career path, and how I could have made such a drastic shift. I mean, clearly the roles of sales and teaching are night and day, right? Well, not really, actually. I have found that the very characteristics that made me a great teacher - empathy, compassion, and being a good listener - really correlate strongly to my day-to-day sales role. There is one such trait that I have found to be even more critical in both my teaching role and my role at pMD: agility.

What does it mean to be agile? Quite literally, it means having the ability to move quickly and easily. As a pMD employee, especially on the sales team, it is imperative we are able to be agile. We must be able to shift our focus quickly, become product experts at the drop of a dime, relate what we know back to a practice’s current obstacles, and give our developers the ability to innovate while feeling confident the sales team will be able to show value in the new products they are building. Here’s an example of agility in action:

When I first started at pMD a little over 2 years ago, we really had 2 core products: pMD® Charge Capture™ and pMD® Secure Messaging™. It took me a while to understand and articulate the intricacies and value of those two products, but I eventually got into a groove. I was in my comfort zone. Suddenly there was talk of expanding our product line. Our customers needed more from us and we needed to rise to the occasion. Thus, we also became a MIPS Registry.

Now, if you aren’t sure what MIPS is, let me tell you that becoming knowledgeable enough to sell a MIPS registry product is no small feat. Many MIPS registries are exactly just that. They do not have other product lines they are selling simultaneously. At pMD, we were expected to know how MIPS reporting differed for an infectious disease practice versus a hospitalist group and so on, all while continuing to sell our existing product suite. Did the sales team complain and throw our hands up in defeat? Hardly! We were agile, quickly moving to learn all we could about MIPS, and providing our customers and prospective customers with the insight they needed to make an informed decision.

This agility has helped us to “go with the flow” as we continue to expand our product offering. A couple of months ago we added additional products to our product suite, such as pMD® Clinical Communication™, pMD® Care Navigation™, and pMD® Clinically Integrated Network™, to serve the needs of today’s health care market. We as a sales team have been at the forefront of explaining these products to our prospective practices and helping to communicate feedback to our developers. This allows us to grow as members of the pMD team, learn from industry best practices, and reshape pMD’s business priorities by listening to the market. While being agile can at times be challenging, it is also what keeps our day-to-day exciting because who is satisfied with the status quo?

Find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, care navigation, and clinically integrated network software and services, please contact pMD.






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first identical, generic version of the EpiPen. The device enables people who are experiencing potentially life-threatening allergic reactions to automatically inject epinephrine into the thigh. The cost and availability is said to improve significantly compared to the current EpiPen, made by Mylan.  Read More

•  Expect digital medicine to be reshaped by open APIs, FHIR, and cloud computing in the coming years. Big tech giants such as Amazon, Google, and Salesforce have publicly pledged to use HL7's FHIR and Argonaut specifications to advance health information interoperability. The biggest piece of this digital health revolution? Unleashing the power of consumerism.   Read More

•  On Thursday, NYU School of Medicine announced that it will be covering tuition for all its medical students regardless of financial need. It is the first and only top-1o ranked med school in the U.S. to offer this kind of financial assistance. The move is aimed to encourage students to pursue specialties such as family practice and pediatrics, which are much less lucrative and tend to have a shortage of physicians.  Read More

•  According to a new study, the more weight loss, the better. Study participants that were overweight or obese and who lost a higher percentage of weight presented a much lower risk for metabolic syndrome than those who maintained less than a 5 percent weight loss.  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, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.





As a Senior Business Analyst at pMD, I am always on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency, optimize process, and continually make things better. While looking out for patterns and opportunities, I tend to reflect inward to see what more I can do to make my own work more efficient!

Our amazing office culture landed us as a Best Place to Work on several honoree lists (you can read more about that here!). However, you may or may not know that here at pMD we are always on the go. Whether it is working on the plane, working somewhere in the USA, or working from home for the day, I am always looking to get the same, if not more, productivity as when I’m in the office.  Doing a quick Google search for the best advice, I saw a trend with suggestions to make remote work as much like the office as possible: sticking to a schedule, dressing the part, staying organized, etc. While all very good tips to keep in mind, here are three of my favorites!

Tip #1: Stay Connected

It is so easy to send an email - it’s fast, convenient, and you can re-phrase or edit what you want to communicate prior to sending it. In a software company that has HIPAA-compliant Secure Messaging, we love technology! However, it is amazing how much we don’t realize that we learn from everyday office chatter and face-to-face communication. Anyone here at pMD will agree that face-to-face communication always trumps electronic communication.

In fact, this study by Mahdi Roghanizad and Vanessa K. Bohns shows that face-to-face communication is 34 times more effective than email. Plus, it’s always great to catch up and maintain your relationship with your co-workers.

However, when traveling or working remotely, in-person conversations aren’t always possible, so try to jump on phone calls whenever you can. In the office setting, we have the ability to take a look over at someone’s desk to see if they are there and can walk over and ask a question.  It may seem a little daunting these days to pick up the phone and cold-call a colleague for a question but the worst that can happen is that they don’t answer! It will be faster, more efficient, and likely better understood to have a conversation over the phone rather than through email.

If possible, amp up the technology usage to opt in for a video conference. Department and company meetings are a lot more impactful when you video chat face-to-face or are present for the (not so) subtle body language  that may not always translate over the phone.

Tip #2: Take Breaks

Taking a day to work outside of the office, whether it is for business travel or a home office day can be a great way to really control your environment and get some quiet time. However, I sometimes feel a little guilty that I am spending the day in yoga pants while my colleagues are in the office and so I try to make up for it by being overly productive. On busy days with a lot to do, I am inclined to power through my tasks, working for hours at a time, non-stop. Unfortunately, I’ve learned that this is not the most efficient or productive way to get things done.

This study by Atsunori Ariga and Alejandro Lleras researched the effects of task performance with and without breaks. The participants were asked to perform a task, requiring their attention for 40 minutes. Only one of the groups (called the ‘Switch’ group) of participants had 2 short breaks within that time frame.  The group with built-in breaks maintained their level of performance while the others showed a noticeable decline in performance over time as shown in the graph below:

Whether the break is just to get up and grab another La Croix or take a stroll through a giant inflatable colon, take the time for those quick breaks. Your productivity will thank you!





Tip #3: “What can I do to make this more fun?”

My good friend, Kristen Zavo, bestselling author of Job Joy, recently posed this question as a response to someone asking about how to get motivated to be more productive. My initial reaction, probably similar to most, was a bit skeptical... It sounds good in theory but I have stuff to do! Kristen talks about upgrading your environment through music or venue changes and rewarding yourself for getting through less desirable to-dos with a more fun task or lunch as ways to increase the fun factor.  

Let me tell you, hands down, this has been one of my favorite tips!

While working remotely, it can be either very distracting or very dull and monotonous if you are holed up in yet another hotel room. Finding that fun helps you gain focus or engagement that can bring your productivity to the next level. Obviously, I love the fun (as you can see by above photo) but I also like to challenge myself and exceed my goals.  

My favorite way to mix it up and make it exciting is what’s called “gamifying” my work. Sometimes this looks like a fun checklist to get through multiple tasks or stages of a project. Other times it is getting competitive against my prior performance or a group of colleagues (friendly competition, of course!).

If I am looking to focus and need to get away from the distractions, my go-to is working outside. The sunshine and fresh air have a wonderful calming effect that helps me key in on my next steps and make a 30-minute work session both productive and inspired.

That’s it - my three favorite tips!  While I may not get to use each of these everyday, it is a goal of mine to incorporate them as much as possible into my work day so that I can continue to be both productive and efficient!

Find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, care navigation, and clinically integrated network software and services, please contact pMD.






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  In Q2 of 2018, there were 142 health care data breaches with over 3 million patient records compromised. The worst part about it? About a third of those breaches were caused by repeat offenders within the organizations. What does this tell us? It tells us that by not providing the proper training and reporting, an organization puts themselves at high risk of continued breaches. So how about that training manual?  Read More

•  How accurate are diagnostic health apps? As technology evolves in the health care space, more and more people are turning to websites and diagnostic health apps for answers to their health questions. The disadvantage to these frequently-accessed platforms? They're severely understudied and not as regulated as we'd expect.  Read More

•  Families of drug users have long been advised to practice tough love as a means of getting their loved ones through rehab. However, recent studies have shown that being empathetic while encouraging a voluntary treatment approach is an effective way of engaging drug users in their own recovery and keeping them alive.  Read More

•  Cockroaches, and ticks, and boxers. Oh my! How caught up are you with this week's health care news? Take this weekly health quiz to find out.  Take the Quiz

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, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.