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:

•  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.

Source: Duke

Here's The Latest in Health Care:

•  New mandates from CMS are in. By the end of the year, states and Medicaid managed-care programs must outline their plans to overhaul their approach to opioid use by their Medicaid populations. This includes setting limits on opioid prescriptions and refills while also tracking patients who are at risk of overusing painkillers, or who may be concurrently taking multiple prescribed opioids, benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics.  Read More

•  The Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI) and Cerner are collaborating on a pilot project to analyze patient data in order to identify the most effective treatment options for chronic cardiovascular (CV) disease. By combining clinical research with data-driven insights, the project has the potential to dramatically improve patient outcomes.  Read More

•  CVSHealth is expanding their diabetes and hypertension programs. With the help of analytics, the company is identifying and enrolling at-risk members into their management programs. Patients are provided connected scales and blood-pressure cuffs as well as digital coaching, access to specialized experts, and more. CVS has set a lofty goal to reduce diabetes in a given population by 58 percent over three years.  Read More

•  MIT researchers have developed a machine learning (ML) model to predict Alzheimer’s up to two years in advance. This model can help better identify clinical trial participants who are in the disease’s early stages - before symptoms are evident and when treatment has the best chance of being effective. It has the potential to significantly reduce the costs of clinical trials to make them more affordable at scale, hopefully facilitating the development of an effective drug for treatment.  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.

Source: Rite Aid

Here's The Latest in Health Care:

•  CMS has rolled out a new pilot program to give clinicians access to claims data for their Medicare patients. The “Data at the Point of Care” pilot, along with Blue Button 2.0, are part of the agency's MyHealthEData initiative, an interoperability effort that aims to give patients more control over their health data. CMS launched Blue Button 2.0 last year to allow beneficiaries to connect their Medicare health information to third-party apps and computer programs via an application programming interface. The goal is to overcome silos in the healthcare system, allowing clinicians to view a more complete medical history for patients before making decisions about their care.  Read More

•  The drugstore chain Rite Aid is adding telehealth to its in-store health care services. In partnership with InTouch Health, Rite Aid will begin offering a virtual service that connects customers with clinicians via its RediClinic Express kiosks located in retail stores. The RediClinic Express kiosks deliver a virtual health assessment with integrated medical devices and point-of-care testing. Patients will be able to speak with RediClinic clinicians in real-time via a secure, high-definition video connection.  Read More

•  Many IT and security professionals have historically had reservations about keeping mission-critical data, especially protected health information (PHI), in the public cloud. In recent years, technological and operational developments have reduced or eliminated any of those major concerns. CIOs, CISOs and other leaders are now much more comfortable about the cloud, to the point where the cloud is now used as a major or even primary means of data hosting. New security tools in health care have evolved to the point that a shift in this perspective is achievable.  Read More

•  Doctors in the U.S. treated a patient with a genetic disorder using the powerful gene-editing technique CRISPR, the first treatment of its kind. The patient is being treated for sickle cell disease, which affects millions of people around the world, and this course of treatment is a major landmark. In the study, doctors are using cells taken from patients' own bone marrow that have been genetically modified with CRISPR to produce a protein usually only made by fetuses and babies for a short time following birth. Doctors hope the protein will compensate for the defect that causes sickle cell disease and will enable patients to live normally for the rest of their lives. While it may take months, if not years, of careful monitoring before the treatment is determined to be safe and effective, this is a huge step forward.  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.

I actually had to go in for a colonoscopy the other day. The next day when I got home from work, my wife said, "The doctor called with your colonoscopy results. Good news - they found your head.”

All jokes aside, in advance of pMD’s attendance at the upcoming GI Outlook conference hosted by ASGE (American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy) this week, we want to share a little more than just GI-related humor. If your gastroenterology practice is interested in improving efficiencies and ultimately patient care, you have come to the right place!

Our mobile charge capture and advanced rounding tools enable providers to easily capture and submit hospital charges in real-time, reducing charge lag from weeks to less than a day. In fact, gastroenterology groups using pMD have reduced their charge lag from 14 days to just 0.2 days

Our custom suite of powerful, efficient, and intuitive technology allows health care teams to communicate and capture data at the point of care, improving accuracy and ROI. 

For example, an average 50-provider practice can realize close to $400K per year in additional revenue by implementing a proactive process around transitions of care. pMD’s automated discharge alerts and scheduling instructions make managing this process a breeze, helping grow outpatient practices in the process. With the help of our robust analytics dashboard, practices can easily follow up with patients, reduce readmissions, and recognize Transitional Care Management (TCM) revenue.

Ultimately, it all comes down to streamlining physician workflows. When providers and staff are equipped with the right tools to enhance productivity and increase collaboration for rounding and hand-offs, consult notifications, billing and secure communication, they can spend less time worrying about processes and more time caring for patients. 

But don’t just take our word for it:
"The most common question I am asked about pMD has nothing to do with its use; my doctors and staff want to know why we didn't get pMD years ago. Hospital billing lag time and lost charges have all but been eliminated. The secure messaging feature works great on both provider cell phones and staff desktops. We had high hopes that pMD might improve our operations...seamless integration with existing systems and workflows, better secure messaging, and a reduction in lost charges and billing lag time. pMD has surpassed these high hopes and become one of the best investments made in my 25-plus years of managing medical practices."

- Lucien Roberts, Gastrointestinal Specialists, Inc., Virginia

"The doctors love it, we love it! We are much more efficient with pMD. We're able to track charges better, and bridge the gap of missing charges. It's easier to maintain over paper and has made our process so much easier. pMD has helped us reduce charge lag by at least 75 percent. We also love the ability to message within a particular patient record. It helps our messaging organization, and allows for faster messaging overall by not having to retype patient information into the message. Everyone references the correct patient immediately and as a result, responses come much faster.”

Tamra Crespo, Coding Compliance Team Lead, Austin Gastro, Texas

We will be exhibiting at the GI Outlook (GO) Practice Management Conference in the Loews Hollywood Hotel, August 2 - 4. Come stop by booth #4 for a demo! 

All groups are different, which is why we provide all customers with a full workflow analysis and unlimited consultation services. We’ll continue to work with your practice until you see tangible improvements to the key metrics that matter most to you!

For more information click here or contact us directly.

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:

•  New research has found private practice physicians are less likely to utilize electronic record systems (EHRs) compared to group practices and hospital employed physicians. Since the America Reinvestment and Recovery Act was introduced in 2009, which defined meaningful use of EHRs and offered financial incentives to physicians who adopted such systems, the number of independent providers participating in the program decreased by half as of 2015 and has continued to drop. Results of the study have been interpreted in multiple ways. First, since independent doctors have more authority over the technology they use, they simply have more freedom to choose not to continue in the program -- as opposed to doctors in integrated systems in which management could require participation. Second, the high-cost and time burden of maintaining EHRs is not longer offset by the financial incentives offered, leaving independent physicians unable to invest in maintaining them.  Read More

•  The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced their Rural Residency Planning and Development program, which will provide 27 healthcare organizations across the country $20 million in federal grants to establish new residency programs. Medical schools, rural hospitals, community health centers, and Indian Health Service centers are among the organizations that will receive funding. The goal of this government program is to address the increasing shortage of doctors in rural, disadvantaged areas and improve patient access to high-quality healthcare providers.  Read More

•  A 14-month study, conducted by a research team from the University of Utah, has made significant leaps in prosthetic technology by adapting a commercially developed prosthetic named the "LUKE arm." The original LUKE arm had been designed to perform a variety of movements, but the Utah collaboration significantly improved it by identifying how to mimic the way the human brain sends a signal to the hand to touch an object, and how the hand sends a signal back in response to touching it.  Research suggests nerves that control the hand and sends information to the brain still exist, even after the hand has been amputated. Using electrodes implanted in the existing nerves of the subject’s forearm, the prosthetic was able to convert brain signals into movement for participants. This enables the sensations of touch and provides the ability to feel and manipulate objects, which they previously had not been able to do.  Read More

•  The American Heart Association suggests that adults older than 70 years of age who have not had a heart attack and people who have a higher risk of bleeding should not take aspirin, but new research shows that nearly 7 million people surveyed take aspirin daily regardless of medical advice from their physician. Although aspirin can benefit people affected by a heart attack or stroke, the drug is not always beneficial and can cause higher risk of severe bleeding. Because of the widespread use for aspirin, which can cause serious side effects, physicians should ask patients whether or not they take the pill and help them understand the potential risks and benefits associated with 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, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, and care navigation software.

The Post-Grad Job Search: Why I Chose pMD

Less than a year ago, I walked across the stage at my college graduation ceremony and subsequently entered the workforce. This moment was exciting, but as many other recent grads know, it was also accompanied by the fear of the unknown. What would I do next, and how would I make the right choice? Once I began my job search, I was overwhelmed by how many different routes I could take: private sector or public sector? Large or small company? San Francisco or Washington D.C.?

Three notebooks full of notes later, I began to narrow down the pool of companies I was considering to those who had a positive and collaborative company culture, placed a high value on continuous learning, and took on challenging but rewarding work. Looking back, it comes as no surprise that pMD became my top choice.

Before beginning the interview process at pMD, I did my homework and read that the interviews were very comprehensive and intense. Since I’d had quite a few interviews in the past for internships and fellowships, I felt I had a good grasp on what to expect. However, I was pleasantly surprised (and
exhausted) at the end of my first interview.

The interviewers wanted to understand who I was and what I felt passionately about before beginning to discuss anything work-related. I appreciated that the interview was much more of a conversation, rather
than a barrage of the same cookie-cutter questions that every interviewee before me had already answered. I also had plenty of opportunities to ask questions about each interviewer’s own experiences and why they chose pMD. What I appreciated about this was that, while each person had their own professional journey, all of their answers revolved around a similar theme: a desire to work in a driven, mission-based company.

Once I progressed to the in-person interview, I became even more excited at the prospect of working at pMD. First, I was provided breakfast -- anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with breakfast foods. Secondly, I had the opportunity to talk during that breakfast with many members of the team, not just my interviewers. I also felt a sense of community between the pMD team; they genuinely enjoyed each other’s company and were excited to add new members to the team (rather than begrudgingly add a newbie to the office). The warm welcome and sense of purpose I felt from each team member were some of the main reasons that I was thrilled to accept an offer from pMD.

During my pMD onboarding, colloquially referred to as “bootcamp,” I immediately noticed the pace and drive of the team. Not only do pMDers give their best effort on their individual responsibilities, but they
also contribute to cross-departmental projects and the overall customer experience. Because of this, it was apparent to me that pMD employees are extremely versatile and every day is a learning opportunity.

Forget online modules on the first day -- at pMD, new employees are engaged in hands-on tasks that teach important skills, which continue to develop throughout their career at pMD. I also worked on projects during bootcamp that incorporated team members from each department, not just those in my department of operations!

As someone who previously had little exposure to software, I was almost giddy with the opportunity to learn something new that I will build upon for the rest of my career. My manager listened to my feedback during our weekly meetings and tailored my projects to both suit my passions and make me a stronger contributor to the pMD team. To this day, my favorite aspect of pMD is that there is always more to learn, more to achieve, and new avenues to explore!

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 emergence of 5G technology has potential to revolutionize health care delivery, especially through telehealth. 5G will help support remote medical consultations by providing real-time, high-quality video and imaging, allowing patients in rural areas to get better and faster treatment. Cisco, the multinational technology conglomerate, is conducting a trial in the U.K. called “5G RuralFirst” that hopes to demonstrate the full potential of 5G to improve connectivity in rural communities where access had previously been a challenge.  Read More

•  A new study found significant age and race disparities in the use of hospital patient portals. Researchers examined patient portal usage over a one-year period and found that patients age 60 to 69 used the inpatient portal 45 percent less than the 18 to 29 age group, and African American patients used it 40 percent less than white patients. The study’s results suggest disparities in usage may stem from limited system knowledge and access issues, among other more nuanced differences that require further research. Health and technology companies continue to evolve their patient portals to be universally beneficial across all demographic groups.  Read More

•  According to a recent study, applying the maximum recommended amount of sunscreen can cause the absorption of chemicals into the bloodstream. These findings have caused people to question if sunscreen should be the go-to form of sun protection. Experts say that while sunscreen is still very effective, alternative types of sun protection, such as seeking shade, avoiding hours of the day when sun exposure is most intense, and using hats and clothes to block the sun, are also effective in reducing the risk of sun effects. Another viable option to avoid chemical absorption are “physical sunscreens,” such as titanium dioxide and zinc, which the body does not absorb into the bloodstream.  Read More

•  The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo an international health emergency. The outbreak has killed over 1,650 people so far. This week was the fourth time the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee has met since the DRC outbreak was declared back in August 2018. The committee is seeking international funding to stop the spread of virus and its rapid expansion to neighboring cities.  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:

•  Cloud-based technologies can give pharmaceutical companies access to greater resources and more data, which could have a large positive impact on the industry. According to Dr. Larry Ponemon, the founder and chairman of the Ponemon Institute, the shift to a cloud environment could have positive impacts on data security, supply chain processes, and artificial intelligence innovations. Even so, there’s still a divide when it comes to seeing the value in public clouds, as many harbor security concerns.  Read More

•  The Federal Communications Commission is developing a new program to support telehealth and remote patient-monitoring services to improve access to care in underserved populations such as low-income patients and veterans. The three-year, $100 million Connected Care Pilot program plans to cover up to 85% of the broadband internet cost needed for telehealth services, giving patients better access to their doctors. The pilot program aims to provide treatment for patients in rural and disadvantaged areas whose difficulty in accessing a broadband internet connection previously made telehealth an unattainable option.  Read More

•  A new study has found that moderate levels of air pollution can potentially cause just as much damage to lung function as smoking does. Researchers found that each increase in five micrograms per cubic meter in PM2.5, tiny pollutant particles that can be damaging to one’s health, resulted in a 52 percent increase in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The effects of moderate air pollution were also found to be four times more harmful than secondhand smoke.  
Read More

•  A new study found that outcomes for patients suffering from opioid use disorders have improved since the launch of CMS’ April 2018 initiative to reduce preauthorization requirements for buprenorphine, the most common drug used for treating opioid addiction. Research found that the percentage of Part D and Medicare Advantage insurance plans that required prior authorizations dropped tremendously from 87.5% in 2017 to 3.5% in 2019. By eliminating these authorization requirements for buprenorphine, 30% more people will receive treatment for their addiction, and over 50% of deaths from the disorder could be prevented.  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.

Chat with Patients: A Case for Secure Patient Text Messaging

Chat with Patients? A Case for Secure Patient Text Messaging

Recently, I was talking with a physician who is a new pMD customer. We were having a great conversation as she sought to satisfy her curiosity with how to get the most from the pMD software. Then I mentioned our new Chat with Patients feature, and she turned away from me, her previous openness instantly gone. She made a half turn away and laughed dryly, “Oh God. No.”

This was not surprising. The idea of patients having unfettered access to a doctor’s phone can seem like the loss of a last vestige of privacy, unfiltered patient needs adding to the cacophony of the many already trying to reach them.

So I shared a different story, one not filled with an endless interruption and immediate need. This type of communication can be better for both the medical provider and the patient receiving care. Surgery offers one compelling example.

Patient Text Messaging Before & After Surgery

Surgery represents a great opportunity to connect with patients via secure text for the following reasons: there is a clear episode of care, which includes a scheduled procedure, preceded by an instruction-filled pre-operative visit and followed by a post-operative period where concerns over pain, discomfort, new medications, and other follow up issues often emerge.

There are problems with other types of communication. Phone calls can offer endless rounds of telephone tag and voicemails, and email messages often are lost, misunderstood, or don’t have immediacy. Further, for patients who work, calls to workplaces and messages left can create privacy concerns. So, having a way to securely text and communicate in an asynchronous and timely way - texts don’t pile up the way emails do - can offer both better clinical outcomes and higher patient satisfaction.

Using Chat with Patients App Feature: The Process & Results

Below is the process for how a current pMD user is using the new Chat tools for text messaging with patients:

The scheduling coordinator invites patients who have a capable smartphone as part of their pre-operative process. She lets the patients know that pMD is a tool for them to have a direct contact as they go through their procedure.

She has found that younger patients have no issues with loading and using pMD and neither, to her surprise, did older patients. As long as they have a supported iPhone or Android, they have been able to easily download the app and get started.

Patient Text Messaging Helps Avoid Surgery Rescheduling

Prior to their procedure, patients commonly reach out to her with questions about the timing of the surgery, medications, and location of the facility where the procedure will take place. So far, at least one patient was saved from missing their surgery as they asked about a medication which, had they taken it, would have caused their surgery to be rescheduled.

Chatting with Patients After Surgery

The types of messages the coordinator receives after surgery often include those of the “what is normal?” variety, as well as questions about pain, medications, and the timing and location of follow up appointments. Having an easy way for patients to ask these questions helps avoid readmissions and missed appointments and allows the practice to stay on top of patient outcomes!

Secure Patient Messaging with pMD a “Real Life Saver”
The scheduling coordinator reports the following on using pMD as a tool to connect with patients:

"This has made such a huge difference in my contact with patients. They work, and texting them is so much simpler and more convenient than calling or email. I also love that it's not invasive. They don’t get my private info. This has been a real life-saver for me."

I also had the opportunity to connect with a patient using the platform, who reported more satisfaction with the care they received and a closer bond to the practice providing the care:

“Using the pMD app was a real anxiety reducer. If you have a question and something’s not right, you can get an answer through the pMD app. It’s immediate. You feel closer to the doctor and staff. It’s more personal. The app was very easy to download and use. I would recommend this to everyone! Doctor’s offices could really cut down on the number of phone calls. I would prefer practices that use this type of technology!”

I shared this story with the physician, and her demeanor quickly changed. Her practice is in the process of hiring a nurse to contact all their procedural patients, and pMD’s Chat with Patients would be a more effective way of connecting. With the right plan, secure patient text messaging offers unique and compelling benefits. Contact us and we will help you put a winning plan together!

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.
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Beyond Secure Messaging: Rich Communication Via Video Chat
What’s the Right HIPAA-Compliant Communication Platform For You?