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:


•  Zynquista, the first oral treatment for people with Type 1 diabetes, is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The advisory panel for the FDA, however, is split on whether to approve the new drug, which means that the agency would be responsible to decide by the end of March whether the drug should reach the market.  Read More

•  In a recent report, six major issues facing health care have been identified for 2019. This includes preparing for the arrival of digital therapeutics and connected devices, identifying employees that need to be upskilled or reskilled, bracing for tax reforms, creating a value line of products or services, keeping up with private equity's acquisitions and investments in the health sector, and navigating changes in the Affordable Care Act.  Read More

•  In the past year, 9 out of 10 people had visited a health care provider who are capable of prescribing medicines. Among those who went in for a possible infection, about 89 percent had a chat with their provider about whether antibiotics were appropriate. Some experts say this percentage should be higher and that more patients should understand why they were being prescribed an antibiotic. Antibiotics don't work on viruses and are little help for some conditions caused by bacteria, such as many forms of bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. Many times, an over-the-counter remedy can help with these symptoms.  Read More

•  A new effort to conquer rising costs in health care formally launched this week. The Society of Actuaries and Kaiser Family Foundation launched "Initiative 18 | 11" in an effort to address the rising cost of health care in the U.S., which is roughly 18 percent of its gross domestic product, while the rest of the developed world spends roughly 11 percent.   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, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Due the government shut down, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cut back on routine safety food inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables, and many foods that are at high risk of contamination. There are concerns that outbreaks would not be prevented or caught at the earliest warning signs without inspections.  Read More

•  The F.D.A. released the new Digital Health Action Plan as part of the agency's effort to improve oversight of artificial intelligence and other digital health products. Its aim is to be more efficient, while promoting safety of technology.  Read More

•  According to a recent study, the U.S. spends more on health care than other developed countries and nearly 25% more than that of the next-highest country, Switzerland. What's to blame? Researchers say prices are to blame for the high health care spending but it's been the same old story since 2003.  Read More

•  Pregnant and haven't gotten your flu shot yet? A recent study found that pregnant women who are hospitalized in the ICU with the flu are four times more likely to deliver babies who are premature or born with low birth weight. Just another reason to get your flu shot if you're pregnant!  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, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A new AI imaging tool promises to cut the time between medical imaging, diagnosis, and the start of treatment. This new tool would offer physicians automated diagnostic alerts for certain conditions within seconds of the image being completed, potentially accelerating patient diagnosis.  Read More

•  Could exercising in extremely cold weather make us healthier? While there is little evidence to support the health benefits of training in cold weather, believers say that cold weather exercising can help burn extra calories, exercise your blood vessels, and train the immune system. Which way to the next icy lake?  Read More

•  As the partial government shutdown continues on, some important health-related initiatives are put on hold. Many public health operations are vulnerable to the continued shutdown due to funding streams that are being affected. Health services for Native Americans are also on hold because Indian Health Service clinics are funded through the Department of the Interior.  Read More

•  It's a new year! Have you had a chance to get into the groove of 2019's health care news yet? Let's see how much you've learned going into the new year with this week's health care quiz.  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, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Many foods are banned in the European Union that are still used in the U.S., such as additives that are linked to cancer and can be found in American-made bread, cookies, soft drinks, and other processed foods. Drugs that are used in farm animals as well as genetically modified foods are also banned in Europe.  Read More

•  Where do hospitals need to be five years from now and how should they be preparing for the future? Patient experience is at the center of the future of hospitals and with that, hospitals should be looking for new methods to measure and report on patient satisfaction as well as to engage the patients. Some strategies also include providing staff escorts to guide patients to their destinations, experimenting with virtual experiences, and working with ride share companies to provide patient transportation.  Read More

•  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has furloughed more than 40 percent of employees starting this past Wednesday in response to the partial government shutdown. The FDA will continue work that is critical to public health and safety and will still be able to respond to emergencies.  Read More

•  In 2018, several new Medicaid policies rocked the nation. To name a couple: requiring proof that beneficiaries work a certain number of hours per week or month with some exempt individuals and a proposal that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to consider whether someone is likely to use public services when deciding if the individual should be granted permanent residency.  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, and care navigation software.





The emergency department (ED), for most people, is the easiest place to go for health care. Hospital administrators and payers have understood for a long time that patients who are seen frequently in the ED are responsible for a disproportionate amount of health care spending.

In an effort to reduce ED visits, one of the primary strategies being employed is a shift of high-utilization or high-risk patients to primary care. Traditionally, this is a complex process requiring a team of people who are not only able to identify high risk patients but also would be in a position to intervene in a timely manner, before the patient is seen in the ED.

In addition to chronic health problems, high-utilization patients also often experience challenges in their ability to access care such as transportation, financial difficulties, or poor health insurance coverage. Understandably, this difficult reality often forces these patients to look for help at the ED closest to them, regardless of facility or the facility’s relationship with their primary care provider.

Some organizations, for example Oncology practices who are participating in the Oncology Care Model (OCM), are often well-positioned to be able to identify and intervene.  Practices who have strong relationships with their local hospitals, potentially leveraging pMD's clinically integrated networkwould have the ability to not only identify these high utilization patients but also understand their relationships with other providers. By understanding where the patient is already established and also understanding important elements of their medical history, providers are then able to eliminate unnecessary tests and imaging studies, reducing the costs of, or even necessity of, an admission.

But what happens when a patient is not within this utopia of information sharing and potentially not being tracked closely? Patients who visit the ED of a facility outside of the clinically integrated network are off the radar of care coordinators and this presents a significant problem for ACOs. When an ACO patient is seen outside of the ACO, this is known in the industry as patient leakage. The problem is exacerbated if the patient has not already been identified as a high-utilizer as it’s unlikely that this patient has been assigned to a team of care coordinators.

The pMD solution to patient leakage is comprised of two layers. The first being the ability for a provider or care coordinator to receive real-time notifications when a patient is admitted to a facility where pMD is integrated. The second layer is real-time communications - the ability for providers, care coordinators, family members, and even patients themselves to communicate securely with their care team. In this way, the people who are best able to help are able to intervene as soon as possible, getting the patient to the right place of service or at the very least, the right ED.

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






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The National Institutes of Health began a study in 2013, which is still ongoing, that aims to reveal how brain development is affected by various experiences, which include concussions, substance abuse, and screen time. CBS's "60 Minutes" reported on the early results of the study and found that heavy screen use was associated with lower scores on some aptitude tests. But the data is still preliminary and it's unclear whether the effects are long lasting.  Read More

•  St. Mary Medical Center's emergency department was facing a slew of problems, from overcrowding to gaps in leadership to changes in their electronic health record system. By hiring consultants and making updates to the design of their EHR documentation templates as well as to leadership and front-end processes, they were able reduce length of stay, left-without-being-seen rate, and the arrive-to-provider time.  Read More

•  According to a new analysis from the National Association of ACOs (NAACOS), Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) saved Medicare $2.7 billion to date, proving that ACOs are valuable and are saving American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.  Read More

•  Families who don't qualify for subsidies under ACA (Affordable Care Act) are bearing the full cost of coverage as insurance premiums continue to rise. These financial challenges have pushed many to drop their coverage or turn to cheaper, less comprehensive insurance.  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, and care navigation software.





250,000. That is the number of deaths from medical error calculated in a study by patient safety researchers at Johns Hopkins. That would make medical error the third leading cause of death in the United States, outnumbered only by heart disease and cancer. Medical error is a problem that can affect anyone. Unfortunately, this doesn’t get the same amount of attention as other issues facing health care. Comparing medical error to the current drug epidemic in the United States, the Johns Hopkins report would put the death toll from medical error at 3.5 times the number of individuals killed by drug overdoses in 2016. However, thanks to great work being done by groups like IHI and AHRQ, as well as patient safety researchers, there are steps the health care industry can take to reduce medical error.

It is worth saying that Johns Hopkins’ estimate of 250,000 isn’t without criticism. Health care systems in the United States differ dramatically by location and finding a reliable estimate of the number of patients severely affected by medical error is no easy task. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not register medical errors as a formal cause of death and that the causes of medical error are hard to solve. Studies have found that common causes of medical error include fatigue, inadequate supervision, inadequate experience, and faulty communication. These causes are often institutional failures and can't be addressed by simply flipping a switch. So, what can be done in the face of a problem with such a broad scope and no single solution? And what can an individual practice do to start addressing medical errors in their own backyard?

One example of something hospitals could do to begin addressing this issue is to implement common sense systems to catch errors before they affect a patient. For example, medication errors, a common source for medical error, can be dramatically reduced by implementing systems like Barcode Medication Administration (BCMA), where a doctor or nurse scans the medication before giving it to the patient. This simple step gives the computer a chance to check the provider’s work. But, it isn’t necessary to implement new systems that can cost a practice thousands of dollars a year. For smaller clinics, simply applying “Do not Disturb” rules whereby those administering medication are able to work in a quiet place, free from interruption, was shown to reduce the error rate of those administering medication by roughly the same amount. Another key focus of patient safety research is patient handoff. Because of the complexity and variety of patients’ conditions, patient handoffs must adjust to fit the patient's situation and do have the potential to be a large source of communication errors. However, one study looking at patient handoffs found that implementing a mnemonic device, called I-PASS, to guide physicians through patient handoffs reduced adverse events by almost a third. Simple changes like using the I-PASS method are inexpensive and are designed to ensure that all critical patient information is communicated effectively and in a timely manner. Implementing these changes doesn’t have to come at the cost of reducing the quality of patient care. The same study found that there was no increase in time spent conducting patient handoffs and there was no decrease in time spent with patients.

Humans are prone to making mistakes, and doctors are no exception. One report says that rather than blaming individuals for mistakes, institutions can create a culture of safety in the workplace and design their systems to protect patients, making patients safer while unburdening doctors with the stress of being one simple mistake away from being on the bad end of a tragic statistic. pMD is proud to work with health care teams to promote communication in the hopes of preventing medical error and improving patient care.

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









For those of us who are avid news consumers (myself included), a certain phrase has rapidly been appearing in the headlines with each passing day: the opioid crisis. The opioid crisis has captured the attention of the U.S. government and media due to its expansive grip on the American public and was recently declared a public health emergency by the current administration. This epidemic not only claims the lives of 130 Americans daily but also subjects a burden of nearly $78.5 billion a year on the U.S. economy. Countermeasures to this crisis have been enacted to provide necessary aid to health care providers and those who suffer nationwide. As active participants in health care, pMD is always seeking to provide a product that will positively impact our clients and the patients that they care for. For us to contribute in a meaningful way, we first have to examine the underlying causes of this opioid crisis.

What Caused the Opioid Crisis?

To understand the actions that government and local communities are currently taking, the first thing that must be addressed is the underlying causes and societal impacts of the opioid crisis. Opioids (and subsequent opioid addiction) have had a presence in American health care since the Civil War, beginning with the use of morphine to treat U.S. soldiers wounded in battle. Then in 1898, Bayer Pharmaceuticals released a new drug that was intended to be a non-addictive alternative to morphine: heroin. Heroin was seen as incredibly addictive, with doctors in the U.S. having objections to the drug as early as 1899. The U.S. endured two major heroin epidemics, once during the Vietnam War era and then again during the late 1980s. With the introduction of prescription opioids such as Oxycontin in the 1990s, the numbers of addicted Americans skyrocketed. Today, there is a strong link between opioid overdose and prescription opioids.

To provide some context on the severity of the opioid situation, here are some startling statistics:

Nearly 11.5 million Americans misuse prescription opioids with over 40 percent of all opioid-related overdoses being attributed to prescription opioids.

The CDC states that those who use prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to use heroin compared to 2 times more likely for those who consume alcohol.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds that more Americans die from opioid overdoses than motor vehicle crashes.

The Midwest has seen a 70 percent increase in opioid overdoses from 2016 to 2017.

Large cities across the country continue to struggle with opioid addiction, as 16 major cities saw a 54 percent increase in opioid related overdoses.

Overall, the United States is taking a major hit from the over prescription and trafficking of pharmaceutical opioids.

Current Response

Recent laws that have been passed to address the opioid crisis include the bipartisan Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act. SUPPORT has many potential positive impacts on the opioid crisis, ranging from increasing the amount of first responders carrying naloxone to the expansion of access to addiction treatment for Medicare and Medicaid patients. This law requires state agencies to establish drug management programs, notably state-run databases called Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMP)PDMPs are increasingly being integrated into Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems, allowing for easy access and real-time updates to a patient’s history. PDMPs are also actively managed by U.S. health departments to help form more effective responses to the crisis using real data.  

pMD Solutions

pMD is passionate about improving the lives of patients and having a positive impact on health care. So, what can pMD do to help with the opioid crisis? Now that all 50 states have functional PDMPs, physicians are required to accurately document patient interaction with opioids in their daily visits. pMD’s customizable software can help groups capture necessary data relating to opioid interactions and pMD’s Care Navigation and Clinical Communication tools would also be an asset to opioid recovery teams throughout the country. Opioid recovery teams are comprised of professionals who cover all the bases of opioid recovery to increase patient success, including behavioral health specialists, physicians, social workers, peer recovery coaches, and even lawyers. pMD creates a space for care teams to successfully track the progress of opioid recovery patients while also communicating with each other on the same platform. This, in turn, allows the health care system to have a more significant impact on the opioid crisis as a whole. For as long as the opioid crisis exists, pMD will continue to find ways to spread awareness and create solutions that will have a positive impact on the U.S. health care system.

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






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Health care spending has slowed down for the second year in a row. The lower rate can be attributed to a slower growth in hospital services, clinics, and physician offices, which make up 63% of health care spending, according to the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  Read More

•  The USDA is easing up on the nutrition rules for school lunches. While the lunches are healthier than they were 5 years ago, schools need to have a little more flexibility in serving meals that kids would actually eat in order to avoid wasting food. The new rule gives administrators more leeway in serving non whole grain-rich breads and pastas, which is currently a requirement unless a waiver is in place.  Read More

•  Two rideshare giants are competing head to head to move into the health care space. Both Uber and Lyft have hired health care executives in an effort to become leaders in health care transportation services, providing reliable and comfortable transportation for patients.  Read More

•  The placenta has long been deemed an afterthought but more and more, scientists are viewing this ephemeral organ as critical to understanding the health and course of pregnancy. The placenta is the missing link between complications during pregnancy and development of the fetal brain.  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, and care navigation software.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  In the wake of a growing trend where parents opt to not vaccinate their children, reported cases of measles worldwide have been on the rise. Measles, a highly contagious scourge, had been nearly eradicated in many parts of the world just a few year ago. However, due to under- or unimmunized children in recent years, measles outbreaks are increasing in places like the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean region, and Europe. At least 95 percent of a population must have immunity to control the spread of measles, according to public health officials.  Read More

•  Lyft, a ride sharing application, has announced the hiring of its first ever VP of Health Care.  Lyft has been focusing its efforts on reducing the health care transportation gap for patients and addressing some of the social determinants that cause care disparities.  Read More

•  The number of children in the U.S. who don't have health insurance is increasing, according to a report released on Thursday by Georgetown University. Advocates for children's health blame the current administration's policies on enrollment health plans for this rise. The uninsured rate for children rose by 276,000 in 2017.  Read More

•  In response to the ever-growing sentiment that physicians are becoming bogged down by EHRs, the federal government drafted a new strategy that details goals to reduce clinician burden surrounding their interaction with EHRs and improve EHR ease of use, while still meeting regulatory requirements.  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, and care navigation software.