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.


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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


For the first time, CMS is proposing to make temporary telehealth provisions under COVID-19 permanent. CMS has issued a proposed rule to make permanent regulatory changes to telecommunications technologies in providing care under the Medicare home health benefit beyond the expiration of the public health emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. The rule is proposed to go into effect beginning January 1, 2021.  Read More

Hospitals lost an estimated $60 billion per month between March and June of 2020, and experts anticipate losses to continue well into the future. But some hospital systems are already seeing an incremental bounceback in operations. As health care systems reopen following the peak of COVID-19, leaders are leaning on technology and strategies that improve efficiency to ensure financial stability during the recession.  Read More

While Congress passed legislation that provided a combined $175 billion in funding for hospitals and other health care providers to help offset lost revenue and expenses linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, many have yet to see a payment. According to a report released by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, HHS has yet to distribute $72 billion, or 41 percent, of the approved funds.  Read More

As states begin to reopen after the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, many physician practices are attempting to get back to normal. With this in mind, the American Medical Association (AMA) has produced a series of 12 recommendations to ensure that medical practices can reopen safely.  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.

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak many health care practices were forced to implement telehealth as quickly as possible, and often didn’t have enough runway to deeply consider an ideal long-term workflow. If your practices’ initial reaction was to put something in place that was good enough for now but could be phased out in a few months when everything went back to “normal,” you are certainly not alone. 

The writing is on the wall; the use of telemedicine will not only be critical for managing this pandemic but will fundamentally change how care is delivered moving forward. In fact, some experts predict 20-30 percent of routine visits will continue to be virtual ones moving forward.  

Take an Integrated Approach


You’ve already invested time, effort, and money into your current systems and clinical workflows. Your telehealth solution should plug right in and work directly with those systems already in place, not outside of them. A virtual visit should be just as efficient, if not more than an in-person office visit. The more systems that integrate together, the less effort required of the practice and/or providers to onboard and manage. For example, why not interface your practice management system with your telehealth solution? Send automated appointment reminders based on the clinic schedule, conduct the virtual visit, and bill for the encounter, all from one place.

At pMD we strongly believe all systems should work in harmony together, which is why we interface with all major electronic medical records, hospital systems, and medical billing systems free of charge.

Have A Plan for Pre- and Post-Visit Communication


Just like a face-to-face visit, virtual encounters start well before the patient connects with their doctor and extends past when they hang up. Build a workflow that utilizes the office staff to frontload the onboarding of your patients to make sure they are ready to go when it comes time for their visit, and reduces the administrative burden on the providers. Reducing the burden on office staff is also a key consideration. For example, staff can enroll patients at the time an appointment is scheduled and set an automated appointment reminder to send 48 hours prior to cut down on manual follow-up. On the day of the appointment, a medical assistant (M.A.) can handle the check-in process and record any self-taken vitals, queuing up the patient for the provider. Once the visit is complete, staff can schedule a follow-up appointment or touch base regarding any outstanding items like labs or prescriptions via secure text messaging. Integrating key team members and all of the pre- and post-visit communication into your overall telehealth workflow will ensure virtual visits run as smoothly as your office visits.

Don’t Become Customer Support


You are not technical support, nor should you have to be. You have enough going on in your practice without having to troubleshoot technical issues with a telehealth platform for your patients. To reduce the risk of no-shows and rescheduled visits due to technical difficulties, it's important for patients to have easy access to fast, reliable customer service.

Our 24/7 live phone, email, and secure chat customer support extend to your patients too. We know how frustrating it is to not be able to get help when you need it. Let us reduce the burden of onboarding patients and providing technical support so you can focus on providing care.

Standardize Your Telehealth Workflow


There are numerous telehealth solutions available ranging in quality, security, functionality, and price, but when you find a solution that fits your needs, it is important for everyone to use the same system. Complexity and room for error increase when each provider is using a different platform, forcing the office staff to search within multiple systems for needed information. Not to mention managing multiple workflows and fielding questions for each disparate system - what a headache! When telehealth visits are all done on the same platform and tied to a patient record, you can ensure providers and staff are on the same page.

Don’t Bother with Single-Use Solutions


There is more to telehealth than just video communication. Why have multiple communication systems when you can use one that allows you to communicate internally, with referring physicians and colleagues, and also with patients? Care gaps happen when health care teams are forced to manage a complicated web of disparate solutions. You should be able to manage every step of the virtual visit process, from sending appointment reminders to patients, documenting and billing for encounters, and conducting post-visit follow-up, all from the same place.

Budgets are tight right now. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual visits may have represented the vast majority, if not all office visits, justifying the investment in telehealth as a standalone solution. As offices begin to re-open, telehealth will undoubtedly continue to play a vital role in care moving forward, but the percentage of virtual visits is expected to decrease. If virtual visits only represent a quarter of your total visit volume, it will become essential for telehealth solutions to drive value and revenue in other areas of your practice as well, such as secure communication, charge capture, or care coordination.

In addition to secure video, voice calling, and chat, pMD includes enough features to replace several standalone products, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.

Enable Transparent Reporting & Documentation of Telehealth Visits


The last thing you want to worry about is being able to provide adequate proof of your telehealth encounters, especially when payors start to implement restrictions. Accurate, detailed reporting and documentation features will be key to ensure you receive the maximum reimbursements. All calls should be time-stamped and associated with a specific patient profile, making it easy to provide proof of all encounters.

pMD provides the transparent reporting tools you need to run your medical practice effectively, including patient-based call logs and chat history. In addition, all patient chat transcripts are available practice-wide, further reducing the risk of miscommunications or care gaps.

Maintain High Levels of Security when Using Telehealth


Yes, it’s true, enforcement of HIPAA compliance has been temporarily relaxed under these extraordinary circumstances. But experts don’t expect that to last. Plus, why gamble with the security of your patient’s personal health information (PHI) information when there are other options? As the health care industry works to establish a new normal, practices know that any long-term solution needs to be secure in order to reduce the potential disruption and financial risk as policies continue to evolve.

With pMD you can rest easy knowing you have a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) and that all video, voice, and chat communication is always secure, encrypted, and HIPAA-compliant.

Get a Free, In-Depth Workflow Analysis & Consultation


We know COVID-19 has placed extreme burdens on health care providers and practices. Our team of experts is ready to provide you with free in-depth workflow analysis and consultation to determine the specific needs of your practice and patients. You can find additional information and resources about our telehealth product at the links below: 

Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 800-587-4989 x1 or email sales@pmd.com if you have any questions or to set up telehealth for your practice today. We’d love to hear from you!

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The coronavirus pandemic has shown the health care industry that it needs to decide whether it’s playing basketball or soccer, says journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell. The two sports exemplify the differences in thinking when one tackles problems using a “strong link” approach versus a “weak link” approach; either the team is as strong as its strongest, most high-profile players, or by contrast, the team is only as strong as its weakest players. For healthcare organizations, that means making investments in the weakest links.  Read More

The COVID-19 crisis has been a financial fiasco for physician practices, including decreased patient volume and canceled elective surgeries. While 97 percent of physician practices experienced a negative financial impact from the coronavirus, there are four key strategies practices can pursue to weather the financial storm. These include holding on to cash, not paying off debt right away, using government assistance, and applying for private loans.  Read More

While some health care merger and acquisition plans have fallen apart because of COVID-19, some providers are rethinking potential partnerships to survive the economic fallout of the pandemic. The crisis is putting pressure on health care mergers and acquisitions regardless of if the deals were planned prior to the pandemic or not. The pandemic is also prompting hospitals to shift their priorities to clinical and operational effectiveness to maintain stability. Read More

Hospital and physician spending has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic – so hard, in fact, that in April it reached its lowest point in more than a decade. A recent analysis shows a nearly 25 percent decline in spending, hitting a low of $2.88 trillion in April. With gradual reopening of the U.S. economy, experts anticipate a modest reversal of these spending declines due to more than half of patients reporting feeling at least somewhat safe about returning to the hospital for elective procedures.  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.
Helping practices and patients navigate telehealth



When we speak about pMD’s history in the medical industry, we always note that we’ve been around since the late 90’s and have focused on helping providers capture their charges. Despite our longevity in the industry, pMD is always looking towards the future. With the more recent events in health care, we continue to learn how best to support our customers.

pMD Quickly Deploys Telehealth Using Clinical Communication Tool


Beyond mobile charge capture, we have developed a comprehensive clinical communication tool. As our customers scrambled to change their delivery model for care, we were able to quickly deploy telehealth and improve clinical communication for many of our clients. 

Our customers needed a way to continue to provide care to their patients in a time of uncertainty. Our customers rely on us to help them communicate seamlessly with their patients. Our relationship-based approach allowed pMD to provide collaborative and consultative support to our customers and swiftly implement telehealth into their workflows.

The need for telehealth not only strengthened our connection to our practices but also provided pMD an opportunity to support our customers and their patients in a new way and help them navigate a challenging time. We pride ourselves in providing our customers with full 24/7 in-house support that extends directly to their patients. 

We’ve been able to help our providers complete tens of thousands of video calls and onboarded 108K+ patients since the onset of the pandemic. We at pMD feel honored to continue to support the changes in the health care industry, especially those related to telemedicine and clinical communication. pMD is proud to have a direct and positive impact through this pandemic.


Related Articles:
Balancing the New Normal: Support for Practices & Patients During COVID-19
pMD, the Most Valuable Player in Telehealth Platforms
Supporting Telehealth Patients Amid COVID-19, One Video Call at a Time

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance for re-opening facilities to provide non-emergent, non-COVID-19 health care. First and foremost, facilities should check with their State and local authorities to confirm if gating criteria have been met as well as continue to use telehealth services, when available and appropriate, to minimize the need for in-person services. CMS also released guidance for patients to help identify when and how to return to health care facilities.  Read More

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UPMC saw its telehealth volume skyrocket from around 1,000 telemedicine visits per week to nearly 47,500 virtual visits per week. The value of virtual care has not gone unnoticed by leadership, and the health system has set a lofty goal to maintain at minimum 50 percent of that growth, about 7,500 virtual visits per day. To help sustain that goal UPMC's chief medical information officer Robert Bart, MD, is focused on opportunities in urgent care, post-operative and prenatal care.  Read More

Although health care organizations have endured a global health crisis that has severely taxed their bottom lines, there are areas for growth coming out of the pandemic. One unintended consequence of the crisis that can serve as an opportunity could be for large, well-capitalized health systems to partner or acquire community hospitals—which are already at high risk for closure—as patients continue to out-migrate to care sites beyond the community they live in. Read More

Many providers and patients have apparently not only grown comfortable with the exemptions for telehealth but believe it's the best approach for delivering basic health care services until the coronavirus is completely tamed and beyond. This week two more groups, the American College of Physicians, an influential lobbying group, and Premier, a major group purchasing organization for hospitals and other providers, advocated for extending relaxed restrictions on a more permanent basis.  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.
The not so new normal


It’s been about a million days since our unprecedented lockdown in the Bay Area. As the “shelter-in-place” begins to ease up and new social limitations come into play, eventually we’re going to inevitably transition from calling this the “new normal” to just “normal”.  As the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact the world, we’re all trying our best to continue to live life and move forward. To do so, we’re forced to rethink and redefine how we operate and how we live. 

On that fateful Tuesday afternoon in March, when San Francisco issued the stay at home orders, our San Francisco-based team had to pack up monitors, keyboards, etc. we’d need in order to be away from the office for what was projected to just be a few weeks. We all worked from home from time to time, but none of us were really set up to do this full-time. Thankfully, we had our remote staff who were “veterans” at working from home! Along with our DevOps team, they provided us with tips and tricks to get our home offices set up, along with best practices to balance the blur of working and living in our homes. As my colleague Veronica mentioned in a previous blog post, the blurred lines of home daycare, homeschooling, home working, and just being at home for literally everything is basically an hourly juggling act. The term “work/life balance” has never been more relevant to me. 

New Call Intake System to Meet High Demand for Telehealth Services


Aside from the actual physical set up, we also had to quickly figure out new ways to support our customers. We pride ourselves in supporting our customers directly, which translates to support calls now ringing our cell phones instead of the connected office lines. This challenge was exacerbated by our instantly high demand for our telehealth services. Our Ops team quickly realized the in-office model didn’t align with the current circumstance and shifted focus on new efficiencies to face these challenges head-on. The result was a new call intake system which dramatically turned our lives around and significantly increased customer satisfaction. 

pMD Moves Quickly to Successfully Handle High Telehealth System Use


But what about the platform? Just days into the lockdown, reports of Facebook servers getting overwhelmed hit headlines as millions of Americans had nothing else to do at home. We at pMD were well-equipped to onboard any number of new providers at any given time, but this world-wide lockdown drove demand for our telehealth usage beyond our expectations! Pretty much overnight, all of our customers needed to get their patients onto pMD’s telehealth system to keep their patient population safe while continuing to provide health services. Anticipating our customers would potentially connect with tens of thousands of patients virtually and instantly, our Director of Software immediately directed our developers to access and shore up our scalability. This became a multi-team initiative that executed around the clock on just a moment’s notice. Our Dev team’s ability to adapt and pivot so quickly allowed us to handle the viral demand with huge success.

Doing Our Part to Help Save Lives with pMD’s Telehealth Solution


I’m constantly impressed by everyone I work with at pMD. In spite of all the grim news out there, my pMD family continues to stay strong, tackling every new challenge with a smile and a fierce determination. I think this mindset is what has allowed us to successfully help our customers onboard thousands of new patients DAILY onto pMD’s telehealth solution in this new world of social distancing and flattening the curve. I’m proud to be able to say we are doing our part to help the health care community and save patient lives.


Related Articles:
Helping Practices and Patients Navigate Telehealth When They Need It Most
Balancing the New Normal: Support for Practices & Patients During COVID-19
pMD, the Most Valuable Player in Telehealth Platforms

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently sent a letter to CMS advocating for broad access to telehealth to become permanent. The FTC believes strongly that telehealth can reduce roadblocks to care for older adults across both rural and urban settings, including urban areas where underserved populations have provider shortages. Many experts consider reducing restrictions on Medicare reimbursement of telehealth services especially important because Medicare influences the reimbursement policies of state Medicaid programs and private payers as well.  Read More

Providers are still struggling to adapt to consistently and successfully collecting from patients according to the Trends in Healthcare Payments Annual Report. The long-term impacts of COVID-19 are predicted to bring an additional spotlight to eradicating manual, paper-based, human-dependent approaches to payments. Providers are being forced to rethink all the options to connect with consumers as the recent growth telehealth has shown.  Read More

Telehealth claim lines increased more than 4,000% nationally from March 2019 to March 2020, growing from 0.17% of medical claim lines to 7.52% over that time. With fewer elective procedures due to widespread restrictions, the telehealth share of total medical claim lines is expected to continue to increase greatly. Telehealth had already been growing in recent years, but even faster growth is on the horizon as a result of COVID-19. Read More

In an effort to ensure participation in value-based care payment models as providers struggle financially under the pandemic, CMS outlined a series of major changes intended to address problems created by COVID-19. These updates include delaying the start of a new accountable care organization (ACO) model, extending the Next-Gen ACO model, and more.  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.
Your future in telehealth with pMD revealed

 

As the world around us changes, it’s interesting to think about what actions feel more or less accepted. For example, imagine now walking into a meeting, shaking each person’s hand, then immediately grabbing a pastry with that same hand and then eating it. Right now, that feels shocking, repulsive, and risky. But, back in December of last year, I might have done this without even batting an eyelash. 

It’s exciting to think about what changes are happening right now in health care that was once perceived as outlandish. One of the most obvious examples I’ve experienced is the implementation and adoption of rendering remote health care services - or telehealth. 

Thousands of Patients Use pMD Telehealth Platform for Remote Visits


pMD began building our telehealth capabilities into our Free Secure Messaging, Clinical Communication, and Charge Capture products over a year ago. Since March, with the advent of the global pandemic, pMD has now helped thousands of patients complete remote visits over their mobile devices from the safety of their homes. 

If you haven’t given telehealth a try yet, let me give you an idea of what it’s like to be one of the patients who has used pMD’s telehealth platform

After scheduling your first telehealth appointment with your practice, you receive a text message reminder a few days before your appointment with a link to download pMD’s application. Once downloaded, all you need to do now is wait until your appointment - it’s truly that easy! Your provider initiates the video call, which will ring through to your phone just as any other call would except that the video will be conducted through pMD’s encrypted, HIPAA-compliant app, so your patient information remains completely safe. 

After completing your call with your provider, you’ll be able to securely send photos of incisions, wounds, rashes, or even receive lab results via pMD. Any picture you take in pMD is not saved onto your phone's camera roll, keeping your information private! 

Why Use pMD’s Remote Health Care Solutions


So, why use pMD instead of one of the other video solutions that have emerged in response to the need for remote health care? Beyond pMD’s 21 years in the mobile health care space, below are a few additional reasons:

Video Quality

Video quality is really important when completing telehealth visits and pMD is extremely committed to great quality and reliability in our app. Crisp video quality is required in many cases to make sure your provider is able to accurately assess the medical situation. pMD was built to be used on a mobile device which generally has a much better camera than older computers, as well as the ability to choose between wifi or cellular data usage - whichever allows for a better connection. 

Ease of connection

Many other telehealth platforms require both the patient and provider to log into a portal at the same time to complete a remote visit. We know that might not always be the easiest, or the most private option, especially if your computer happens to be in a communal spot in your home. Because pMD communication is conducted within our HIPAA-compliant application, your information is secure and a video call rings right through to your phone via pMD’s app, so you don’t have to be logged into pMD to wait for a call. 

Ease of use

pMD’s app only requires a one-time download from either the Google Play store or the App store. Once you download the app, you’ll be able to log into pMD with your cell phone number and biometric scanning (think fingerprint scanning or FaceID) or a password. Once you’re logged in, your secure communication abilities are endless! Gone are the days of having to wait for one-use verification links each time you log in or constantly being rerouted in order to connect with your health care provider.

Exceptional workflow features

If you’re a practice using pMD, you can have pMD automatically enroll your patients on pMD® Secure Messaging™, as well as remind them of their upcoming appointment a day or two ahead. After patients are invited, anyone in the practice can initiate a video call via pMD’s secure website or app to complete a telehealth appointment. Once the call is completed, both parties will receive an automated call receipt that includes the call duration. You’ll then be able to continue communicating via chat, voice call, or video call moving forward, if necessary. 

As a patient, once you’ve downloaded the app, you are set to receive voice calls, video calls, file attachments, chats, and voice memos from your practice! Need to reschedule your appointment or send a picture of a medication that needs to be refilled? Don’t dial a number from a menu only to wait on hold for several minutes. Submit your question to the practice via pMD! You also have the ability to refer back to a message instead of trying to remember what the voice on the other line said about your pre-appointment instructions.  

So how do you feel about the future of health care? Is this a change that will stay for the long run? pMD thinks so! We believe there is great value in keeping communication easy, convenient, and secure for practices and their patients. Please let us know if we can help get your practice set up on pMD’s telehealth platform.

Related Articles:

Building a Long-Term Telehealth Workflow

Helping Practices and Patients Navigate Telehealth When They Need It Most

pMD, the Most Valuable Player in Telehealth Platforms

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Can patients be as satisfied with virtual interactions as they are with in-person encounters? According to a new Press Ganey survey of more than 30,000 respondents, that answer is yes. The rapid adoption of telehealth has in fact enabled caregivers to meet the needs of patients with the same levels of attentiveness, expertise, and empathy provided during an in-office visit. Patients have been overwhelmingly positive about their virtual interactions with their care providers, even when technical issues posed challenges. Read More

Psychologists say anxiety and uncertainty prompt irrational decisions — like turning down a transplant when an organ becomes available. In a world seeded with anxiety, fear is gripping not just people who are ill with the coronavirus but those in urgent need of other medical care. Even as the number of COVID-19 cases declines in many places, patients with cancer, heart disease, and strokes, among others, are delaying or forgoing critical procedures that could keep them alive.  Read More

The coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on hospital finances in the last couple of months, with organizations reporting volume declines of up to 99 percent for some revenue-driving procedures. Nearly two-thirds of surveyed hospital executives expect full-year revenues will decline by at least 15 percent due to the outbreak. Given the financial pressures on provider organizations, almost 30 percent of surveyed executives said the outbreak has increased the likelihood that their organization pursues a merger or a new partnership. Read More

As physicians around the country are working to get their practices up and running again many are thinking about measures to keep patients and employees safe. Building upon the CMS phase one guide for reopening healthcare facilities, the AMA developed a comprehensive checklist for providers to follow to ensure medical practices are ready for reopening.  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:


This week CMS releases Medicare payment rates for COVID-19 test CPT Codes. The AMA introduced three new CPT codes, 87635, 86769, and 86328, which can be used by healthcare providers and laboratories to bill payers for testing patients for SARS-CoV2.  Medicare will pay $51.31, $42.13, and $45.23, respectively for the codes.  Read More

Telehealth is more in demand than ever during the coronavirus crisis, and a new report from Frost & Sullivan suggests its uptake will increase by 64.3 percent nationwide this year, given the disruptions of COVID-19. Researchers predict that the pandemic will continue to reshape care delivery – and open big opportunities for virtual care in the near-term future.  Read More

More than 70 percent of consumers have already delayed or plan to put off health procedures due to COVID-19, according to a new survey. The survey underscores the issues providers face in convincing consumers to return for in-person care that has been delayed due to the pandemic. While the majority of consumers may be nervous about seeing a doctor, nearly half of the respondents reported feeling very comfortable picking up a prescription at their local pharmacy.  Read More

When commercial payers and providers come to the negotiating table this year, they will do so during a pandemic. The unprecedented financial and public health challenges payers and providers face will, in turn, affect the types of agreements they strike. Jackie Selby, a member of the national law firm Epstein Becker Green, outlines five trends that may affect payer-provider contract negotiations given the COVID-19 pandemic, including shoring up lost revenue for providers.  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.