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.


Image: Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images/Dorling Kindersley

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  In a recent clinical trial by the Food and Drug Administration, it has been found that complications with Lasik are not uncommon. Nearly half of all people with healthy eyes prior to undergoing Lasik developed visual aberrations after the procedure. Yet many ophthalmologists insist that Lasik is the safest procedure done on the eye.  Read More

•  New payment models and health care reform call for better care coordination but true coordination has its challenges. Team-based care is most effective when the entire care team along with the patient are all on the same page. That's where mobile devices and remote monitoring play a key role in end-to-end care. By automating workflows, care teams can improve care coordination and in turn, patient care.  Read More

•  In a recent international study, there is strong evidence that vitamin D may protect against colorectal cancer and that risk of cancer increases if there is a deficiency.  Vitamin D can be obtained from foods such as egg yolks, salmon, trout, swordfish, tuna, sardines, and fortified foods such as cow's milk, soy and almond milks, some cereals, and some orange juices.  Read More

•  The Centers for Disease Control Prevention recently released a report that found that the U.S. suicide rate has risen in almost every state since 1999 and for about half the states by 30% or more.  This report comes in the wake of the shocking suicides of two high-profile celebrities, renowned Chef, Anthony Bourdain, and fashion designer, Kate Spade.  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.





New research has found that Electronic Health Records don’t reduce the administrative costs of medical billing. In a large academic health care system with a certified EHR, “costs for processing a single bill ranged from $20 for a primary care visit to $215 for an inpatient surgical procedure, or up to 25 percent of revenue.” That’s a staggering drain on the bottom line.

Worse yet, the researchers did not find any obvious process issues within the institution’s central billing office that could be streamlined. They said that “the high costs were not caused by wasteful, inefficient processes, duplicate or redundant tasks, or the inappropriate use of high-wage personnel to perform low-skilled tasks.” So what gives?

One factor to consider is the quality and the timeliness of the information that reaches the central billing office. If the institution is relying on EHR software to capture billing information as part of the patient’s progress note or op report, then it may take days or weeks for the physician to finalize and sign that note. Additionally, it may be missing information that is needed for billing. For example, it may have the patient’s complete problem list, but a coder may be required to determine which specific ICD-10 diagnoses this physician was addressing during their visit on this date of service. Charge entry lag and requiring coders to look at every charge would both contribute to billing overhead that can’t be streamlined away on the back end. In other words: garbage in, garbage out.

This is where mobile charge capture software is like delicious revenue peanut butter that complements the EHR’s clinical chocolate. It can get complete and accurate billing information to the central billing office in less than a day, regardless of how long the EHR progress note takes to complete. And that charge already has just the ICD-10 and charge codes that are specific to the physician’s specialty and to the date of service. The charge even acts as a “ticket” to find missing notes and thus lost revenue.

Desktop EHRs were never meant to be mobile charge capture systems, and they don’t reduce the cost of billing for medical services. And it’s expensive to try to patch up and work around issues with charge lag and coding, especially when those originate on the front end, with getting accurately and timely information to the central billing office. Fortunately, pMD Charge Capture and MIPS Registry solves this problem at its origin and results in a much faster and less expensive billing process.

 If you'd like to 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.



Image: Healthcare IT News

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  An inexpensive blood test developed by scientists will be able to predict a pregnant woman's due date and the possibility of a preterm death. Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death in the U.S. The test detects changes in RNA circulating in a pregnant woman's blood. If the test works, it could prevent deaths of babies born prematurely.  Read More

•  On Tuesday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recalled over 5,000 HeartWare 3 Left Ventricular Assist Devices due to causing low blood flow or clotting, leading to the possibility of serious injury or death. The medical device is manufactured by pharmaceutical company, Abbott.  Read More

•  A recent study published on Sunday finds that many women diagnosed with early-stage invasive breast cancer could safely forgo chemotherapy, making the decision on whether or not to go through with chemo easier.  Read More

•  In a recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), hospital-acquired conditions have decreased between 2014 and 2016, saving over 8,000 lives and $2.9 billion. A safety-focused culture is important in continuing this trend for future years.  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.

Image: The Felix Project

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Many public health programs in the U.S. have been widely successful but funding for these health campaigns is surprisingly low. Why? The public sector is beholden to political forces that dictate spending. Projects that focus on more obvious and immediate benefits are preferred over public health investments. However, even with less advantageous returns, the more recent public health investments still have been worth the value they provide.  Read More

•  In a move to reduce state burdens, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a policy that would require 17 states to accept lower Medicaid payment rates without a review of the consequences or even industry input. Hospitals oppose this proposal because of the anticipated adverse impact it would have on Medicaid Beneficiaries' access to care because many providers may choose not to treat Medicaid patients.  Read More

•  Artificial intelligence is here to stay in health care and one line of research is seeking to train computers to diagnose pancreatic cancer while the disease is still readily treatable. However, The Felix Project at Johns Hopkins still puts in a huge amount of human time, labor, and intellect into training computers to distinguish between a normal pancreas and one with a tumor.  Read More

•  On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) launched an innovation challenge that aims to offer unique approaches to detecting, treating, and preventing opioid addiction. The challenge is open to products in any stage of development, from concept to testing. Developers accepted into the challenge will work with the FDA review divisions during the development and evaluation of the proposed product.  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.





Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term we have been hearing a lot lately. Most of the time it concerns the variety of problems AI is solving along with future solutions to those problems. In recent years, health care has adopted AI technology in a number of areas including disease diagnosis, imaging analytics, virtual telehealth services, and most recently, EMR integration. The possibilities for the application of AI are endless, especially when it comes to optimizing common processes in the health care industry, such as medical billing and coding.

What exactly is AI?

Robots and flashbacks to Terminator might ring a bell for some, but AI is actually a very broad term with many branches of application. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) refers to computer systems that think and act like humans, and think and act rationally.” Simply, AI is the capability to learn and problem solve by machines, in contrast to how humans display these behaviors naturally. For machines, the ability to learn and make decisions require lots and lots of data. An algorithm is needed to then test this data, until eventually the machine learns how to tell a bee from a flower, or better yet, identify enlarged lymph nodes in a CT scan of the chest while simultaneously scanning the patient’s medical record to determine if they have lung cancer. These current applications work to make physicians’ workflow more efficient. What if there were a way for AI to similarly improve the efficiency of medical billing?

What problems are the medical billing and coding space facing today?

It depends on who you ask, but the error rates in medical billing are reportedly pretty high. According to a study conducted by the American Medical Association in 2013, the error rate for medical billing was at 7.1 percent, while a study by Nerdwallet in 2014 put the error rate for Medicare claims at a whopping 49 percent. This can be due to many factors such as upcoding, duplicate billing, and even the digit transposing of ICD and CPT codes. Most of this is at the hands of human error, but certainly not without reason. With the transition change from ICD-9 to ICD-10 codes in 2015, the amount of codes increased by five times the original amount. Now having roughly 68,000 ICD and 8,000 CPT codes to work with, medical billers and coders have had to learn and process tons of new information. In this period of getting used to a new system, there was a 50% loss in productivity at first, but the industry has since adapted. The system will surely change again, and I can’t help but wonder if machine learning might be able to work a little bit of its magic in the medical billing and coding space.

Using AI to assist with medical billing and coding

By using machine learning techniques to process data, it may be possible to deploy an application that can process medical codes and billing codes, identifying errors and making appropriate corrections. AI could be integrated as an assistant and allow for medical billers and coders to work more efficiently and accurately by flagging mistakes and suggesting possible fixes. Having an automated process where computers take care of the more tedious and common clerical tasks, will allow for medical billers and coders to spend their time on the more difficult and comprehensive issues, such as insurance appeals and the claims process. The end result of introducing AI to medical billing and coding: less errors, more money, and more time!

What’s on the horizon for AI in health care?

It took nearly a decade to develop ICD-10 codes and another decade to implement. Innovations in health care can sometimes be referred to as “slow moving giants”, so it’s possible we won’t see AI completely taking over right away, but we can expect to see the adoption of machine learning more frequently. According to Healthcare IT News’ reporting on HIMSS18 “Allscripts, Athenahealth, Cerner, eClinicalWorks and Epic revealed big plans for adding AI into the workflow in forthcoming iterations of their electronic health records platforms.” As you can see, AI is no longer this untouchable, sci-fi enigma, but now is something that is actually being utilized in our day-to-day. There’s much more on the horizon for AI’s role in health care, so we'll just have to stay tuned!

 If you'd like to 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.



Image: Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  On Tuesday, the House passed a "right-to-try" bill that would allow terminally ill patients to get access to experimental drugs. Advocates for the bill say it would become easier for patients to get experimental drugs that have completed the first phase of clinical trials. Those opposed to the bill say the drugs could potentially shorten patients' lives, doing more harm than good.  Read More

•  Precision medicine is already underway in health care and is saving lives. However, the health care system can get stuck in a tangle of policies and other setbacks. To avoid making a broken system even worse, it is increasingly critical for hospitals to ensure an infrastructure to support these emerging technologies and provide widespread access to patients in all areas.  Read More

•  A few years ago, researchers ran an experiment that had barbers checking their customers' blood pressure and referring customers with high levels to pharmacists, who then met with the patients in the barbershop. The pharmacists would treat the patients with medications and lifestyle changes, updating their physicians but taking the physician out of the patient interaction entirely. After six months, the results showed a drop in blood pressure and a retention of those patients throughout the study and care process.  Read More

•  According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), individual premiums will see a rise by an average of 15% in 2019 due to the repeal of the individual mandate, which penalized individuals for not having insurance. Additionally, the mandate repeal will see a number of uninsured Americans rise by 3 million next year.  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.

Image: Pixabay

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  In 2017, the U.S. saw a drop in birthrate, one of the sharpest declines since 1987. Across all groups of reproductive age, birthrates have shown a general decline. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "the decline in rate from 2016 to 2017 was the largest single-year decline since 2010."  Read More

•  This week, the Veterans Affairs Department announced that it will sign with Cerner to implement the same EHR as the Department of Defense in an effort to modernize its system. With this being one of the largest IT contracts in the federal government, it's no wonder it took nearly a year after the initial announcement for the contract to be signed.  Read More

•  Anthem, the nation's second-largest insurer has decided to slash reimbursement rates to breast pump suppliers. This means that some breast pumps that used to be free will now come at a cost to consumers. This move will especially impact lower-income moms and could potentially see a drop in breastfeeding altogether.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first medicine designed to prevent migraines. Migraines affect millions of people and are often debilitating. While the drugs do not prevent all migraine attacks, they can make them less severe.  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.

Image: Courtesy of Pasca lab/Stanford University

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Senate HELP committee bill requires the DEA to create guidelines on how providers in health care can prescribe controlled substances in a telemedicine setting. It also outlines ways in which to expand access of care for addicted patients, while limiting who can prescribe opioids through telemedicine.  Read More

•  Desperate oncology physicians are turning to immunotherapy drugs for dying cancer patients. However, experts are split. Some offer immunotherapy drugs in the hopes that the cancer drug will help but at the risk of not knowing which patients might benefit and from which drugs. Others argue that scientists must first gather rigorous evidence before treating their patients with experimental drugs.  Read More

•  Nearly a year after canceling a planned release of Medicare Advantage encounter data, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) are finally making good on their promise. CMS collected data from private insurers who administered Medicare Advantage plans since 2012. The data release is part of CMS' new data sharing program that puts patients first.  Read More

•  Research on cerebral organoids, or minibrains, are raising ethical questions about the potential development of lab-grown consciousness or sentience and what that means for human brain cells that live and grow outside the human body. Minibrains are created by transforming skin cells from a person into neural stem cells.  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 software.

Image: Getty/smartstock

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  In a recent study, traumatic brain injuries have been found to increase the risk for Parkinson's disease. Even mild blows to the head with subsequent symptoms can increase this risk.  Read More

•  Two medical associations announced their collaboration surrounding a value-based payment model for treatment of opioid addiction. The payment model is aimed at lowering health care spending for people with addiction by decreasing the amount of expensive emergency department visits and improving coordination of care.  Read More

•  Apple is uniquely positioned to succeed in the population health space because they are moving data directly from the health system to the device. By giving the patient their data as opposed to storing it in another cloud, Apple is creating a positive, individual-centric experience for the patient.  Read More

•  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns of an E.coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce grown in Yuma, Arizona. The CDC has reported 31 people having been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported. The CDC cautions that if the source of the romaine lettuce is confirmed, do not buy or eat it.  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 software.

Image: Leyla B / EyeEm/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  One of the more promising opportunities for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in reducing health care costs is associated with population health. Population health is an ever-moving target and this is where AI would be most beneficial because machine learning can spot trends and patterns that may be missed by physicians.  Read More

•  Mergers in health care can pose safety risks to patients because business considerations drive these mergers and as a result, clinical consequences become low in priority. Identifying risks before and during the merger process, such as handling new patient populations, understanding the varied platforms and protocols, and considering the risks of doctor relocations, can help avoid problems that could potentially impact patients.  Read More

•  Currently, Medicare reimburses audiologists for diagnosing hearing loss in older adults but not for providing assistance on how to adjust and use them. In a bill that was recently introduced, Medicare would pay audiologists for such services where most elderly patients are not able to afford such services.  Read More

•  One of the leading causes of illness and death in young children is acute respiratory infection of the lungs and airways and can often be a result of air pollution.  In a recent study, scientists found that beginning the second week after pollution levels increased, there was a corresponding increase in respiratory infections.  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 software.