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:


Peanut allergy sufferers are one step closer to a treatment after an FDA committee voted to approve Palforzia. A form of oral immunotherapy, the powder can desensitize the immune system to peanuts, reducing allergic reactions. This could be the first FDA-approved treatment for peanut allergies.  Read More

An inexpensive pill consisting of low doses of three blood pressure drugs and a cholesterol drug has recently been tested in the U.S., successfully lowering participant blood pressure and LDL. Similar drugs have been effective in treating conditions leading to heart attacks and strokes in other countries and may be a valuable treatment option for those with limited access to medical care in the U.S.  Read More

A recent study found that nearly 20 percent of surgeons in the U.S. predict they will need to retire early due to the physical strains of laparoscopic surgery. While close to 80 percent of those surveyed have experienced some sort of muscular or back pain, 13 percent have also required a consult with another healthcare professional for their injuries.  Read More

A new machine learning model can better predict heart failure in patients with type 2 diabetes. Researchers have been able to generate a risk score for patients based on the top 10 predictors of future heart failure. By integrating this risk score into bedside practice or EHR systems, it may help identify patients who would benefit from therapeutic interventions.  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.


Since the very first version of pMD on the Palm Pilot nearly twenty years ago, security has been a foundational principle in how we design and build our software. As technology has advanced, the challenges have grown but security has remained a steadfast commitment to everything we do. From how data is stored and transmitted to how we operate internally and with customers, security is as much a cultural value as it is a set of encryption algorithms or protocols.

Service Organization Controls (SOC) 2 Type 2 is one of the highest industry standards for software as a service, and is particularly relevant to health care technology. It helps potential customers to measure and assess the risk of using different services and tools, like pMD. Earlier this year, pMD successfully completed its third-party security audit, achieving SOC II Type 2 and HIPAA certifications. These reports are a validation of the things we've always done, yet it allows an easier and industry-standard medium to communicate our security commitments to our users.

Handling personal health information is a privilege. So much of health care is based on trust -  trust in your doctors, trust in your tools and their privacy protections, and trust between everyone involved in helping provide the best possible care for patients. At pMD, even though we're proud of this milestone, we never take this for granted and will continue to keep security practices a core focus of everything we do.

 

Find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registrycharge capturesecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• A recent study has shown that adults who are regular tea drinkers tend to have better organized brain regions than non-tea drinkers. Regular tea drinking has been found to have positive effects against age-related cognitive decline.  Read More

• As hackers become more innovative and begin to finely tune their techniques, health care organizations are more and more at risk of having their data stolen and sold on the black market. Most medical records contain all the pertinent information needed for identity theft, such as full name, address, date of birth, phone number, emergency contact, Social Security number, and more.  Read More

• The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finalizing a policy that will enable it to remove many non-tobacco flavored vaping products from the market. This is in response to the rising use of e-cigarettes by young people and reports of recent deaths and illnesses tied to vaping.  Read More

• Last year, the Apple Watch received FDA clearance for its electrocardiogram feature. The watch now falls under the classification of a medical device and is capable of alerting the user to abnormal heart rhythms. Apple will be using its new Research app on the watch to crowdsource health data from its users for research studies.  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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have had over 200 reported cases across 25 states of severe lung disease with possible links to vaping. There have been 2 deaths so far from severe lung illness after vaping and federal authorities from the CDC and the FDA are working with state investigators to identify what toxin or substance might be causing the problem.  Read More

• The American Medical Association is launching its new Practice Transformation Initiative in an effort to fight physician burnout. The goal of the initiative is to support research and solutions surrounding the causes and impact of fatigue and burnout among practicing clinicians.  Read More

• While staying cool during the summer months is a matter of comfort for many of us, for those with mental illness, heat can be a dangerous hurdle in managing their conditions. Prescribed medications can play a major factor because some medications can interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature and cause dehydration and even hallucinations.  Read More

• A recent study has found that individuals using homeless shelters visited the emergency department the most before entering and after exiting the shelter. There is potential for effective collaboration between hospitals and government programs to address housing insecurities as a way to improve health outcomes.  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:


• Fitbit, a wearables company, is expanding its reach into health care with a new premium subscription service. The service offers personalized health and wellness insights based on health data collected from its 27.3 million users. The company also plans to roll out a one-on-one coaching service in 2020 in order to help consumers manage chronic conditions.  Read More

• Even as the overall number of people with individual insurance has dropped, insurers plan to expand their Affordable Care Act plan offerings for next year. Rates were relatively flat this year, so premium increases for 2020 are likely to be moderate in many markets.  Read More

• While artificial intelligence (AI) may have the potential to discover new methods of treatment, a new report examines the obstacles health care faces in implementing AI. Organizations looking towards AI solutions would have to consider the following hurdles: machine learning needs free and open access to large quantities of good health care data, hospitals need to be able to find and respond to threats by building robust security into data operations, data needs to be easily shareable.  Read More

• Deli meat labels using words like "no nitrates added" or "uncured" may be misleading, according to a new report. While these labels could make people think these meats are healthier, using natural curing agents, such as celery powder, pose the same health risks as traditionally cured meats because the nitrate and nitrite levels are essentially the same.  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.


Recipe for Success


pMD recently implemented a big performance boost that brings enhanced video chat performance to its iOS and Android apps, facilitating lower latency and higher resolution video calls. What does that mean for you? Clearer, faster video communication!

Video chatting is becoming a more common type of communication between providers and their patients. It’s a convenient way for physicians to consult with patients about non-urgent issues and an effective way to connect specialists with dispersed patient populations and rural communities. Not to mention, certain types of telemedicine video consultations are billable services. 

With more and more of the Millennial generation requesting telehealth over office visits, the demand will only increase with this growing demographic. But even in older patient populations, reducing the amount of travel from home to the doctor’s office can make a world of difference. A HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform like pMD’s allows care teams to collaborate more efficiently to provide the best patient experience possible with little-to-no operating costs.

Gone are the days of choppy or unflattering frozen stills of your face. Say hello to telehealth from your local corner cafe, on your morning walk with the dog, while finishing up paperwork in the office, or from the comfort of your living room couch. Whether you’re the provider or the patient, pMD’s free video chat allows you the freedom to connect face-to-face at your convenience. Communication in health care should never be a hurdle to providing or receiving the best possible 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.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  What if the government paid for everyone to have a cell phone, but you could only call people who had the same carrier? This is the analogy Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, used to describe what he calls a communication disaster in the U.S. health system. Despite the federal government spending more than $36 billion to increase the adoption of EHRs, that data is trapped in silos, which is hindering the transition to value-based care.  Read More

•  According to a new study by the security firm FireEye, for as low as $300, anyone on the dark web can purchase a database of compromised personal health information (PHI) from a hospital or health system. Motivations of these malicious actors can be anything from espionage to ransom. The firm notes that cancer research and medical device development are the two most hit targets, and that valuable clinical research data have been sought after by nation-states like China.  Read More

•  Thanks to the rise in telehealth, house calls are coming back into style. According to the American Medical Association and Wellness Council of America, nearly 75% of doctor, urgent care, and ER visits can be handled over the phone or through video. The rise in telehealth is forcing facilities managers to place an emphasis on the virtual facility as well as the physical one.  Read More

•  Fitbit will be giving away hundreds of thousands of fitness trackers to Singapore residents as part of a joint program with the Singapore government. Dubbed “Live Healthy SG,” the program’s goal is to improve the nation's overall health as a result of the rise in chronic conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.  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.


Recipe for Success


In 2013, approximately 7.96 million patients discharged from an acute care facility required some type of post-acute care service, representing 22.3% of all acute care discharges. With changes in reimbursement and providers assuming more risk, it is understandable that health systems and providers are seeking to better understand and manage this patient population.

Traditionally, post-acute care has been fragmented and disjointed at every level with little investment in creating a seamless transition across the care continuum. I entered the post-acute world in late 2009 and was astonished at the accepted paths of communication between health systems, providers, and the post-acute care companies caring for these patients. In my experience, I would say that the most accurate way to describe the coordination of patient care in this environment is ‘poor.’

In the overwhelming majority, there is no efficient collaboration between the acute care and post-acute care worlds. Providers have been left to piecemeal and bootstrap their own, oftentimes clunky and cumbersome, solutions for the ongoing communication required in managing this patient population. These solutions tend not to be secure and are woefully inadequate, lending to the issue of readmissions and sentinel events that have plagued our health care system. 

The amount of information that needs to flow between providers and the companies caring for these patients can be daunting, especially when the provider has another patient population to manage that is in the acute setting. Traditional landlines and fax machines are sadly the standard in coordinating patient care and the reliability is just not there. Today’s providers are busy and often will not immediately receive that fax or voicemail seeking orders to deal with a critical lab value, evaluate a concern for a post OP infection, or make decisions regarding end of life care. The RNs in the field visiting these patients have done the best they can with the means they’ve been given but the ability to securely communicate in an organized and timely fashion has remained out of reach.

As mentioned above, the days of patients getting readmitted to the emergency room due to inefficient communication are drawing to a close, thanks to penalties in reimbursements that providers are facing. There are options that exists today with pMD® Clinical Communication™ that allow for a seamless and timely flow of communication between post-acute providers in the field and the physicians that are following their care. 

This can currently be done in real time - issues brought up and issues solved by creating a secure, direct line of communication between individuals responsible for the care of these patients. The ability for a physician to quickly shift from one population to another, review pertinent historical information, and issue orders of corrective action directly from their smartphone exists. If properly implemented, it can make a difference in the outcome of the patients we serve and avoid the readmission penalties that have hurt providers.

With just a small amount of effort, the abilities and impacts are nearly endless in bolstering the communication between the acute and post-acute worlds. For example, the ability for a physician and collaborating pharmacist to receive an automated alert to their smartphone or desktop which is tied to a specific patient, would solve a persistent and frustrating problem in that community that often requires printed or faxed documentation. Oh, and it also creates a better situation for the patient, reducing the potential negative impact on their well-being.

This is just one example, but it is a scenario that I have seen play out numerous times over. Enhancing our communities’ ability to talk and share documents, photos, and video efficiently in a HIPAA-compliant fashion can improve outcomes and save lives. That is what we are here for ... isn't it?

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:


•  Medical groups are weighing in on CMS’ rules and regulations for value-based care. The organizations are urging CMS to reevaluate its documentation and reporting requirements, which they argue currently add more administrative burden and cost for physicians rather than improving patient care. Specifically, the Medical Group Management Association wrote a letter to CMS asking that changes be made to the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MGMA’s suggestions included decreasing the number of MIPS measures, providing clear and actionable feedback based on MIPS performance, and releasing critical program information and updates prior to the start of the performance period.  Read More

•  The state of Florida is partnering with the Military Health System, using data from the MHS prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) to combat the potential risk of prescription drug misuse and addiction among the state’s military population. A new law, effective July 1, authorizes the Florida Department of Health to share PDMP data with MHS. It’s critically important for military and non-military health care providers to access and share patient data concerning prescription drugs in order for them to prevent and treat substance use disorders among serviceman and women.  Read More

•  It’s been scientifically proven that dirty air can cause a number of health issues, and there’s no simple solution since everyone needs air to breathe. Although it seems like an impossible problem to solve, there are some preventative things individuals can do to protect themselves. Choosing a less busy route to work can cut exposure to pollution in half. Traveling at less polluted times of the day, purchasing an air purifier, and avoiding wood fires are a few other ways to mitigation pollution exposure.  Read More

•  Scientists are developing the world’s first blood test to diagnose celiac disease. A recent study found that injecting gluten peptides into people with celiac disease led to identifiable symptoms linked to an increase in inflammatory molecules in the bloodstream. The current method for diagnosing celiac disease can take weeks or months, but using a blood test to diagnose the disease could shrink that time down to hours.  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.


Recipe for Success


Reader discretion is advised - do not read this blog on an empty stomach! 

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies


If we compare the pMD sales process to the recipe for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, what common ground can be found in the steps needed to reach a successful outcome?


Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit:

All good cookies start with prep work. A new member of the sales team always starts by “finding their way around the pMD kitchen.” While preheating may only take ten minutes in a real kitchen, at pMD, a new baker spends months working closely with other, more seasoned, sales team members. Laying a good foundation is the key to any good recipe. Without preheating the oven, nothing gets baked.

Mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt:

Practice makes perfect! You can think of each ingredient like a step in our learning process here at pMD. We carefully measure the ingredients and then add them in one at a time. We even modify our “recipes” slightly depending on a potential client’s product interest. For example, cooking up a charge capture demonstration requires a different set of ingredients than preparing to speak with a practice interested in clinical communication.

At pMD, we don’t throw new folks into the kitchen without equipping them with the proper cooking tools. Our team members are fully supported and start by engaging with smaller opportunities first. Eventually, they work their way up, adding each learned ingredient one step at a time, until they’re ready to try the full recipe on their own -- with their own twists and flair, of course!

Stick the spoon in and try the raw cookie dough… hmmm, something is missing. 

Ahh, I’ve figured it out. CHOCOLATE CHIPS! Add chocolate chips into the dough and mix well. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool slightly. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool.

You can preheat the oven and follow each step correctly, but if you forget a key ingredient, it will soon be obvious that something is missing. pMD’s sales department is focused on working closely with the marketing and operations departments to achieve the best results. This allows us to better align our product offerings with customer needs and to streamline the implementation process. It’s essential for a successful sales team to work collaboratively with other departments so that we never miss a key ingredient. There’s no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen in this case!

pMD’s culture is all about teamwork. Just as the perfect cookie needs all of its ingredients to mix together, when the sales department succeeds, everyone at pMD does - and we share that success. We would be doing ourselves a disservice if we operated in siloed departments and expected the whole team to win. 

So what is the perfect recipe? This is really a trick question. Each recipe is different. If you ask 10 people to cook their perfect chocolate chip cookie, you will get 10 different cookies. While they follow a similar successful blueprint, recipes are tweaked over time based on feedback and tastes.

I recommend eating these cookies with a tall glass of milk!

 

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.