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:


•  The Food and Drug Administration and Department of Homeland Security are teaming up to improve coordination surrounding  medical device security. This week, both entities signed a memorandum of agreement, formalizing their collaboration to improve medical cybersecurity and vulnerability disclosures.  Read More

•  Scientists at the University of Oregon studied the effects of sunlight, UV light, and darkness on bacteria found in dust inside homes around Portland. They found that rooms exposed to daylight had fewer germs because UV light is known to be a good disinfectant. Florence Nightingale was ahead of her time when she advised that hospitals be designed to let daylight in.  Read More

•  Researchers at Duke piloted a virtual reality program for physical therapy and saw a significant reduction in post-surgical costs. The virtual therapist guides patients through exercises prescribed by a real physical therapist and monitors patients' performances during the exercises. Clinicians can then tailor the recovery plan to their needs.  Read More

•  Think you're all caught up on the latest health care news? Take this quiz to find out!  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.





At pMD, we love to promote our culture of teaching and learning, rather than singly focusing on getting the job done. It may seem obvious once discussed, but what I found lacking in past companies I've worked for is this emphasis of helping each individual build his or her own skills. From top down, pMD promotes a company culture of sharing knowledge, open communication, and career growth. We ask all our individual contributors to embrace this philosophy we call "Mentoring".

Mentoring

Mentoring is pMD's mission statement for success - both for the company as well as for each and every individual contributor. It is a fundamental driver of career growth for the entire team. Successful mentoring frees up time for the mentor to take on new and more high level items. Mentees, in turn, learn new skills and earn new ownership. This transition to having higher level responsibilities aims to allow each party to step up into another position, which will then open up space for a new hire. This process allows mentees to naturally progress as the next generation of mentors.

It Begins With Trust

Trust is a two-way street. At pMD, mentees earn trust by completing assigned tasks. Mentors earn trust by providing the necessary training and guidance for the mentee to succeed at these tasks. Tasks must start small, to minimize risk of failure, and as more trust is earned over time, additional responsibilities can be designated.

It Continues With Communication

Here at pMD, it is the responsibility of both parties to keep a line of communication open. Mentors provide clear expectations and share feedback on performance consistently, while mentees should always feel open to asking for this feedback. When something is not understood well, mentees have the responsibility to ask for more clarification. Once a mentee is ready for more challenges, they can and should feel open about communicating that. At pMD, the expectation is that both parties are proactive with communication in order for the relationship to succeed.

Our Priority

Mentoring is a mindset at pMD. It isn't a single task. It isn't a single action. With this always at the forefront of our minds, we will succeed as a company. Every single one of us here at pMD treats this as a priority and most importantly, we tackle mentoring with a positive attitude!

The idea of mentorship sounds obvious, doesn't it? It certainly does when I read it. But the fundamental difference that sets pMD apart from other companies is making it a priority. I joke with new recruits that a pMD hour is a day at another company, a pMD week is a month somewhere else, and a pMD month is like a year. I call this the "pMD rate of learning" that dwarfs all other companies. As I reflect on my own career, I'm grateful to see how much I've learned, struggled, and grew in my first two years at pMD as compared to everything I learned in almost a decade at my previous company. Want to become a part of pMD’s amazing team? Contact us at careers@pmd.com to find out more.

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 increasing rate of C-sections (or cesarean sections) is alarming to doctors and scientists across the globe. Such high rates can be attributed to an increase in elective C-sections where the procedure is done unnecessarily. The chance of death rises to at least 60 percent for moms who elect to have a C-section and in some circumstances as much as 700 percent.  Read More

•  Average Affordable Care Act plan premiums have begun to decline, according to data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Thursday. Some say the decrease is a result of actions by the current administration while policy experts point to a market correction. However, there's one thing everyone is clear on: change must happen.  Read More

•  The U.S. is currently facing the largest drug epidemic in history, with opioid overdoses quadrupling over the past 20 years. Electronic Health Record (EHR) customizations are now proving to be a valuable weapon in the fight against the opioid crisis.   Read More

•  For women under 45, the risk for colorectal cancer is increased with obesity. Studies have shown that the higher a women's body mass index, the greater her risk for early onset colorectal cancer. Weight gain of 44 to 88 pounds had a 65 percent increased risk over those who gained 10 pounds of less.  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.





Ding ding ding *rising tone*, ding ding dong *descending tone*. Anyone that has been to a conference knows and appreciates the rhythmic chime that cues conference attendees to stop indulging on extravagant conference nibbles and move onto their next sessions, where they’ll learn from speakers about the latest health care trends or newest regulations. At pMD, we joke that conference food spreads are almost like being on vacation. Whether you’re tempted by creamy queso, hummus spreads, mounds of cheese, or decadent desserts, there is always something that piques someone’s interest.

Surprisingly, pMD doesn’t exhibit at conferences just for the food (although, it is quite the added perk). Instead, we go for the exposure to new potential customers, as well as a chance to connect with our current customers. As a member of pMD’s sales team, I’ve been to several large national conferences, like the annual Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) conference, as well as many smaller specialty-specific conferences.

Specialty conferences vary from the large national conferences in quite a few ways. Because pMD works with over 30 different specialties, we do very specific preparations before a specialty conference to make sure we’re knowledgeable about how to approach those conversations. I head into the day with a much better idea of the conversations I could potentially be having with the different providers or administrators in attendance because I have a good sense of which products will be a good fit for a cardiology practice, for example. With so many specialties to work with, we have something to offer almost everyone, but it’s always helpful going into a conference being able to anticipate trending needs. We can then sort out what customizations could be helpful for a group of their type.

Earlier this year, I was at the GI Roundtable conference in Washington, D.C., which is a gastrointestinal-specific conference. From a sales perspective, I was able to prepare for this conference by honing in on which gastro groups are currently using pMD and how our current groups utilize our products. I knew that there was a good chance that each administrator or provider who came up to our booth may have similar overlapping needs. Because of this, I was able to use this information to focus on asking questions to find out if the potential lead could be a good fit for using one of pMD’s products. If there were an attendee for which I couldn’t identify a need to use pMD, I could always revert to conversing about the impressive pile of cheese nearby.

Whether it’s a large or a small specialty-specific conference, my favorite part of any conference is recognizing a familiar face or name when someone comes by the booth to say hello! I love being able to meet pMD customers that I may have previously emailed or spoken with on the phone. Meeting face-to-face is always special and also allows us to discuss how everything is going with pMD. It’s also a great opportunity to see if there are any new pMD features the group could benefit from. If you’re a current pMD customer, there’s a good chance we could be exhibiting at a conference which you’ll be attending, so stop by and say hi.

Conferences present a great opportunity for pMD to meet new groups as well as a chance to connect with our current customers and eat some great food. We’ll be exhibiting next at the CV Transforum Conference in Austin, TX on October 11th. If you’re headed to CV Transforum this week, make sure to stop by our booth, say hello, and learn more about pMD® Charge Capture™, pMD® MIPS Registry™, pMD® Free Secure Messaging™, pMD® Clinical Communication™, or pMD® Care Navigation!

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:


•  In April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested documents relating to research and marketing data from e-cigarette maker, Juul Labs. Last Friday, FDA officials conducted a surprise inspection of the headquarters in San Francisco. The FDA is particularly interested in whether Juul deliberately targeted minors as a consumer.  Read More

•  In a recent case study surrounding Hardin Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, the hospital saw an improvement in speed of care and overall efficiencies after implementing new mobile, hands-free clinical communication technology. While there are many clinical communication technology systems on the market today, one thing's for certain: communication in health care is frustrating and being able to communicate in an effortless manner can drastically impact both work environment and patient care.  Read More

•  The FDA is recommending an update to premarket guidance for medical devices in which companies would need to submit a "cybersecurity bill of materials". This would require manufacturers to provide a list of internal hardware and software for medical devices in order to help providers respond to cyberattacks.  Read More

•  With so many misconceptions floating around about flu shots, here are 5 reasons why you should definitely consider getting yours: 1) You are vulnerable. While people 65 and older are the most vulnerable, the flu can also knock out young, healthy individuals as well. 2) It's your civic duty. Nobody wants to be the "spreader". 3) You can still get the flu, but you won't be as sick. The vaccine seems to cushion the blow. 4) Pregnant women who get the flu shot protect their babies from the flu and 5) You cannot get flu from the flu vaccine.  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.





At pMD, our goal is to always push the envelope to help make providers’ lives easier and ultimately improve the quality of patient care. We are constantly updating our application to be as robust as possible and releasing new features that increase provider productivity. Recently, the pMD engineering team has been focusing on polishing our secure messaging features and among those items is encrypted push notifications. While “encrypted push notifications” may sound a bit boring, it is actually a very exciting feature that will greatly improve our users’ experience while using pMD® Secure Messaging™. But before talking about that, I want to briefly discuss the term ‘encryption’.

Simply put, encryption is a way to convert information into gobbledygook in order to prevent unauthorized access to that information. Encryption works by using an encryption algorithm, or set of rules, along with an encryption key. When text is processed by an encryption algorithm, it is unreadable until it is translated back to readable text using the same algorithm and the encryption key.

To illustrate this we can observe the Caeser Cipher, one of the oldest encryption methods in the world. The Caeser Cipher works by replacing each letter in a text and shifting the letter over by a certain number of positions in the alphabet. For example, with a shift of 2 the letter ‘A’ becomes the letter ‘C’, the letter ‘D’ becomes the letter ‘F’ and so on. So if we use “hello” as our text and our key (the number of times we move a letter) is 2, “hello” will become “jgnnq”. To convert our text back we simply do the reverse of our algorithm with our key of 2 and voila! The text turns back to “hello”! Now that you know the basics of encryption, let’s return to our topic of encrypted message notifications.

Messaging applications have become so commonplace that certain features are expected to be included in every messaging application. One of these staple features is being able to read the message body from a notification on your device’s locked screen. Though it may sound straightforward, this wasn’t actually possible to do when pMD originally released our secure messaging service, simply because we had no way of encrypting our notification! No encryption, no HIPAA-compliance! It wasn’t until Apple released some code that our developers were able to process an incoming pMD notification before displaying its contents. This means that we can encrypt the notification when sending it to a user’s device and decrypt the contents upon arrival to the user’s device.

What does this mean for the our users? The biggest win for our users is being able to read the pMD message directly from their locked screen! At pMD, we all use pMD® Secure Messaging™ to communicate with each other and understand that sometimes, it’s inconvenient to unlock your phone, tap on pMD, tap on the messages tab, and finally tap on the conversation to read the received message. With this feature, we bring a positive contribution to the overall experience of using pMD.

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.









One of the things I value most about pMD is the ability for software engineers to work directly with our users. At every step of my interaction with a user, I gain a deeper exposure as to how our customers use pMD, as well as to how people use software in general. When a user doesn’t understand a feature, I ask myself, “How could we have designed a more intuitive experience for our users?” When a user asks about functionality that we don’t yet offer, I ask myself, “How can we build an experience that will help solve our users’ problems?”

Getting to speak with our customers allows me to escape the vacuum that software engineers often find themselves in. It’s been one of the best ways to broaden my understanding of user experience, design, and product development. Beyond that, speaking with customers often takes me on a deep dive into our domain -- the medical industry -- and hones my ability to identify how pMD can solve problems that providers and practices struggle with daily.

For example, a practice administrator I work with had lamented to me about the high number of claims from his practice that were being denied as duplicates by insurers. Upon further investigation, I saw that duplicate claim denials presented a more widespread problem than just at this one practice - other practices were seeing claims denied as duplicates, too. This realization led us to build the Duplicate Visit Checker, which helps identify and warn users about potential duplicate claims before they are billed.

As a software engineer, I saw this as a very valuable experience. We were able to identify a gap in the billing process and fill it for our customers. More than that, the experience of designing and building this feature, and of seeing the value it has generated for many of our users, has prepared me to keep looking for new ways that pMD can help practices avoid other types of denials, as well. From one customer interaction, I gained a new way of looking at how pMD can solve problems for our users, a perspective that benefited pMD, our customers, as well as my own personal development as a software engineer.

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:


•  It took officials nearly three months to notice that patient data for almost 17,000 of their members was exposed on a public-facing website after an employee from a Philadelphia-based Independence Blue Cross uploaded a member file online. There are no details provided as to whether the employee intentionally exposed the data or whether it was an accident.  Read More

•  Doctors are calling for a renewed ban on infant walkers. More than 230,000 children under 15 months old have been treated in ERs across the U.S. for injuries sustained while using walkers - injuries as serious as skull fractures and broken bones.  Read More

•  There's a drug shortage and it's no surprise that drug prices have gone up exorbitantly. Some researchers don't always blame drug shortages for rising costs but rather suspect that drug manufacturers may be taking advantage of increased demand, charging higher prices as a result. Researchers suggest that federal payers set price caps on drugs that are in shortage to prevent the high increases.  Read More

•  For many patients, the bland, lackluster food is just one of the drawbacks of being in a hospital. But one Michelin-starred chef is changing the way hospital food is perceived and served. Chef Bruno Tinson teaches hospital chefs how to cook quality, nutritional, and budget-friendly meals that can go so far as even boosting patient morale.  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 The Latest in Health Care:


•  The data of approximately 40,800 past and current patients at the Fetal Diagnostic Institute of the Pacific were impacted by a recent ransomware attack. It is crucial that health care employees are educated properly in ransomware prevention and should be paired with the right security tools and preventative measures.  Read More

•  JAMA Pediatrics recently published that usability standards for pediatric electronic health records (EHRs) should be considered different than those used for adult patients. The pediatric population faces unique safety challenges and these challenges should be addressed when designing EHRs.  Read More

•  The newest Apple watch includes a sensor that allows users to take an electrocardiogram that can be shared with their physician. While such heart data can provide insight on the patient's risk for stroke, there is also an increased chance of false positives.  Read More

•  On Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared an epidemic surrounding teenage use of electronic cigarettes. The FDA gave device makers notice that they have 60 days to prove their ability to keep their devices away from minors.  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.





Apple. When you hear that word, do you think of the fruit that keeps the doctor away…or of the first company worth more than $1 trillion?

With over 700 million iPhones in use globally and 400 phones sold every minute, Apple is a relatable name to almost anyone. In fact, there is a popular YouTube video showing a 1-year old child successfully navigating an iPad, and then trying unsuccessfully to “swipe” a magazine page. How did a company that almost went bankrupt in 1997 become so relevant today?

Application Programming Interfaces

Innovation - Steve Jobs once said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Following the success of the iPod, Apple introduced the world to the touchscreen iPhone, establishing the company’s identity as an innovator. Apple continued to innovate by integrating different industries with its products through applications in the App Store. Most recently, Apple’s focus has been on advancing the health care industry by incorporating new application programming interfaces (APIs) for developers to work with.

For those new to APIs, imagine a fire hydrant. A fire hydrant limits how a fire truck can connect to a city’s water supply by regulating hose connection types. In a similar fashion, an API (hydrant) is a gatekeeper that sets guidelines on how a mobile application (fire truck) can interact with certain information stored on a device (water).

How is this related to health care?

Apple first began dabbling in health care with the introduction of HealthKit in 2014, which enabled users to download personal patient records from the Epic EHR. Then in 2015 and 2016, Apple released ResearchKit and CareKit respectively, improving data collection for researchers and enabling developers to create apps for day-to-day care. All three of these “kits” include APIs that expand a developer’s ability to work with patient information. In a bold move, Apple most recently introduced the new Health Records API.

Why is this new Health Records API a major milestone?

Before highlighting the benefits, it’s important to understand what this API targets. Over the past decade, one of the biggest changes to health care in the U.S. was the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which required all health care providers to adopt and use some form of electronic medical records (EMR) by January 1, 2014. As one can imagine, out of this mandate arose a myriad of competing EMR and EHR (electronic health record) systems - two of the largest and most recognizable being Epic and Cerner. With the countless number of EMR/EHR systems, cross coverage of patient information can be a nightmare. To mitigate some of the compatibility issues, an organization called HL7 was formed to create standards for compatibility across different platforms. The latest standard created by HL7 for transferring health care information between systems is called FHIR. Despite this FHIR standard, the problem of a comprehensive patient record remained.

Apple’s latest Health Records API seeks to alleviate some issues with sharing patient information. The API enables users to download personal patient data onto their phones using the FHIR standard. The impact of this API is significant due to numerous partnerships that Apple established with hospital and health care systems. In January 2018, Apple began a pilot program with 12 hospitals including prominent names such as Johns Hopkins Medicine, Cedars-Sinai, Penn Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, and Cerner Healthe Clinic. To date, Apple has increased that number to over 80 participating hospitals.

As the list grows, so does the ability for patients to download and aggregate patient information on their phones. The benefits of providing a central node of information begin with empowering patients to understand and ask more questions about the care they are receiving. Using the API has other benefits - a patient on vacation is admitted to the ER because she has trouble breathing. Having no way to immediately access the patient record residing within her regular care network, an ER doctor would have to rely on intuition and experience to treat the symptoms. With the new Health Records API providing access to EHR systems, the patient could instead open an app on the phone and show the doctor any record of asthma, allergies, and medication that is pulled from her care network - and that right there could drastically improve her treatment!

Similar to Apple, pMD is focused on building innovative products that improve patient care and save lives. As new ways to manage patient information emerge, pMD will remain dedicated to keeping up-to-date with and leveraging the latest technology.

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.