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.






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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


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

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

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

•  Care coordination apps could be the answer to mismatched patient records shared between multiple providers. As little as 50% of patient records are correctly matched when more than one provider is involved. pMD's Care Navigation software is one such solution to this problem.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.





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

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

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

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

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

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






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


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

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

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

•  According to a new study, the more weight loss, the better. Study participants that were overweight or obese and who lost a higher percentage of weight presented a much lower risk for metabolic syndrome than those who maintained less than a 5 percent weight loss.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.





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

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

Tip #1: Stay Connected

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

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

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

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

Tip #2: Take Breaks

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


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

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

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

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

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, MIPS registry, clinically integrated network, and care navigation software.





In the health care landscape these days, security and data protection concerns are as common as thermometers and stethoscopes. As a health care technology company, data protection can’t just be on our “to do” list. It has to be in our company DNA. If it wasn’t, we’d never close a deal, and our potential clients - medical practices of all sizes - would run screaming in the opposite direction. And, we wouldn’t blame them!

At pMD, security has always been at the core of what we do. In fact, our original infrastructure was prefaced on the highest security standards established at the time - those of the financial industry. In our daily work lives, we understand the privilege of handling a person’s Protected Health Information (PHI) and demand a high level of respect and care from every team member. I often find myself hypothesizing, “What if this were my mother’s health information? How would I want it to be handled?” So, when a large potential customer asked us to perform an annual third party audit by an AICPA accredited firm, I gave an enthusiastic “yes!” To be completely honest, I had no idea what an audit really entailed. But, I knew doing so meant an unbiased third party would come in and gut check each of our decisions, while considering our specific business, goals, and culture. Yes, please!

So, here we are, almost two years after that initial audit request, with our first audit successfully completed, and our second one not far in the distance. What did we learn? Well, in a word ... lots. But here are a few big takeaways.

Audit standards vary.

Not all audits are the same, and the differences are largely driven by the standards used by the auditors. One of the most common groups of standards is the SOC standards. A SOC report provides an analysis of a service organization’s internal controls so that users can better understand the risks associated with sharing sensitive information with this external organization. There are three SOC reports - SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3. Each one makes sense for different industries and company types. Then, within the reports themselves, there are different criteria. For example, within a SOC 2 report, there are criteria related to security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality and privacy. At pMD, security was our top priority, and a SOC 2 audit made the most sense. So, we started with a SOC 2 covering the Security Trust Services Criteria, and will consider folding in new subject areas as we move forward.

There are also two different types of SOC reports, Type 1 and Type 2. That means a company could complete a Type 1 or Type 2 SOC 1, SOC 2, or SOC 3 audit. A Type 1 report assesses controls as of a point in time, whereas a Type 2 report assesses controls over a period of time, usually six to twelve months. For our first audit, we decided to complete a Type 1 and will build that effort into a Type 2 for our second audit.

In planning our audit, we also knew how important HIPAA compliance is to each and every one of our users. So, we also completed a HIPAA audit, where our auditor used the HIPAA requirements to assess whether our security controls are adequate to meet our HIPAA obligations. Knowing that security and HIPAA would be of the utmost importance to our customers, we prioritized both those sets of standards and hope to expand them in the future.

Be open, be honest, be organized.

In the months leading up to our audit, our team had quite a bit of jitters. It felt like someone was coming into our home, looking for dirt as they wiped their finger along each of our shelves. We knew we wanted the auditors to have a full view of what we were doing, but we were still nervous that our processes weren’t “good enough.” We handled these nerves by ensuring that we were as prepared as possible before our auditors arrived onsite, sending them all requested information well before they arrived to our office. We also made the conscious decision that this audit would only be helpful if we were up front and open about what our security processes really are. So, we were open and honest with our auditors, which brings me to our next point…

Let your auditors be collaborators.

Of course, an auditor inherently has to be objective and can’t advise a company on how to meet it’s security standards. But, at the same time, auditors have a wealth of experience and knowledge, and have seen hundreds of companies’ security configurations. So, if you’re working with a good audit firm, they’ll point out areas in which you could improve, and then offer various ways they’ve seen this security control addressed, including industry best practice. Auditors can offer invaluable insights, and this perspective really helped pMD maximize the value we received from completing our audit.

There’s no silver bullet.

Of course, completing an audit doesn’t mean that a company will never have a security problem - though I certainly wish it did! But, what it does mean, is that you can sleep better at night knowing that an objective third person finds your security systems reasonable. And, from a customer standpoint, it means you don’t have to simply trust us when we tell you that we prioritize your data’s security. The proof is in the pudding - the audit reports not only clearly outline our security protocols but, more importantly, the audit indicates a culture of security awareness. It’s proof that pMD is willing to invest a great deal of time and money to ensure that our security protocols are up to par. And that means that when you engage with pMD - a responsibility we don’t take lightly - you can sleep better at night, too.

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




Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Squirting generous globs of that alcohol-based hand sanitizer? A recent study found that some bacteria are becoming tolerant of hand sanitizers that are used in hospitals. Scary! While these type of disinfectants help with battling staph infections in patients, rates of other infections didn't drop when sanitizing stations were used. In some cases, infections actually went up.  Read More

•  In an effort to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic, the NIC announced on Wednesday that the RxGov platform will be applying machine learning to prescription drug monitoring programs. The cloud-based platform will help track opioid prescriptions, integrates with EHRs, and includes data transparency.  Read More

•  AmeriCorps' latest service line, MedServe, allows pre-med students to work in health care clinics in underserved areas. Students gain more meaningful early-career experience while providing assistance in clinics in rural communities that are often short-staffed.  Read More

•  As doctors move away from prescribing opioids for pain, patients with chronic back pain are turning to a risky treatment - an injectable drug that, if used along the spine, can be dangerous. Depo-Medrol is an anti-inflammatory meant to be injected into muscles and joints but doctors who prescribe it have long been giving these shots close to the spine.  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.





According to Becker’s Hospital Review, several experts from UCSF’s Center for Digital Health Innovation have outlined their vision for a Connected Health Record. Aaron Neinstein, MD, Mark Savage, and Ed Martin proposed that “we need a connected health record” and defined it as follows: “the connected health record achieves true completeness by focusing on the dynamic conversation, teamwork, interconnections, and diverse data sources inherent in managing health and healthcare today.”

As a concrete example, they discussed the shared plan of care that “all care team members can update [...] electronically in real time with inputs and outputs to and from a multitude of systems.” Communication is also a critical aspect of the Connected Health Record. “Recommendations and changes in care plan from any one of those providers will be communicated to and accessible automatically for the entire care team.”

This all sounds great! But where should it live? Not, the authors rightly argue, within the existing electronic filing cabinets: “the construct of electronic health record as electronic filing cabinet remains deficient” and “a chorus of physicians and patients is crying out that EHR systems are already cumbersome and inefficient. Imagine how much worse this might become if EHR systems grow and grow to accommodate new use cases.”

Perhaps it should be some other piece of software that connects to the filing cabinets via APIs. That would allow you to view all of your information that is in different EHRs, without needing to copy it all into a single institutional health record. In fact, this software already exists today. It is an app called Health Records, and it was created by Apple.

Of course, the patient controls this app, not any institution. But isn’t that how it should be? Isn’t that necessary to achieve the goal of a connected health record that stands apart from all the institutional records and the various electronic filing cabinets? Why should an institution be able to view another institution’s data? This violates basic business principles - the incentives are aligned against it. Only the patient and their health care proxies should control the complete, connected record of their health.

So far so good, but what about the shared plan of care and the communication between the patient, their family members, care navigator, and all of their health care providers at different institutions? We’re still missing a critical piece of the Connected Health Record.

But wait, are those things actually a health record at all? A shared plan of care that lives with the patient and is visible to everyone in that patient’s care team… the ability for any providers from different institutions to communicate with each other, as well as with the patient… that’s not a health record at all. It’s a Clinical Communication app! And this, too, already exists today.

Connect the health records and create a single view of all the data that the patient controls. Then, empower the patient to selectively share that information with anyone on their care team. Finally, give all those health care providers a living, shared plan of care that they can update in real time. Now that is connected health care!

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




Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Medicare covering the cost of air conditioning units? Sounds like a stretch but starting next year, these window units could be considered a "supplemental benefit" under Medicare Advantage plans for patients with asthma. For a third of those insured by Medicare under Medicare Advantage plans, they can look forward to some changes being made next year. Among the new benefits: eyeglasses, hearing aids, gym memberships, and adult day care programs.  Read More

•  When you get a warning from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, you know it's serious. Health care organizations are being warned of nation-state hackers and other cybercriminals who are targeting web-based applications designed to help organizations manage finances, HR issues, and other business activities. These systems are a treasure trove of personal data. How to thwart future attacks? Better patch management!  Read More

•  When you think about a rocket launcher, the last thing you'd associate it with is a concussion. But many Marines who fired powerful, shoulder-launched weapons during training have reported experiencing the symptoms of a concussion, like short-term memory problems, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. The long-term effects directly correlated to firing rocket launchers are still up for debate but for many Marines, signs of brain damage are very evident.  Read More

•  Google is teaming up with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create a biomedical database, aiming to give researchers more accessible, high-value biomedical data sets. Funding for this project is expected to reach $16 million, however NIH declined to confirm specific financials surrounding their partnership with Google.  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.