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.






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.






Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Cats and dogs can serve a bigger purpose than simply being a house pet. More and more, animals are being used for therapeutic purposes, also helping to heal and provide joy to the sick. Animal-assisted therapy can include quality time with not just dogs and cats but also miniature horses, cats, rabbits, and even llamas, oh my!  Read More

•  Civica Rx, a nonprofit generic drug company established and launched by some of the country's largest health systems, aims to lower the cost of medications. The company, which has drawn interest from over 120 health organizations, is first focusing on 14 drugs that are being administered in hospitals.  Read More

•  The National Institutes of Health's All of Us program aims to enroll 100K participants to share their data for research purposes. This program bears similarities to the UK's National Health Service's October roll-out of services that will allow equitable access to genetic and genomic testing.  Read More

•  The Affordable Care Act is yet again the center of a health care saga. A recent lawsuit by Republicans aiming to strike down the federal health law has Democrats and Republicans facing each other in court. The lawsuit comes after Congress eliminated the penalty for not having health insurance, which was part of last year's tax bill. Republicans say this action renders the entire health law unconstitutional, while Democrats are arguing against this.  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:


•  Over a third of calories that Americans consume these days come from foods purchased or eaten in restaurants, and most of these restaurant-goers are completely clueless about how many calories they're consuming. Every restaurant has their extreme calorie contenders, like Cheesecake Factory's Breakfast Burrito or Chili’s Honey-Chipotle Crispers & Waffles. The obesity crisis, which has reached epidemic proportions is showing no signs of slowing down for Americans over 5 years old.  Read More

•  A group of insurers filed a petition in July 2016 requesting two clarifications to the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) 2015 Omnibus TCPA Order, which allows HIPAA-covered entities to communicate with patients that give their phone number to a health care provider. The changes to the current language would allow a patient's phone number given to any HIPAA-covered entity to constitute prior consent to make non-marketing calls.  Read More

•  Federal health officials have reported a sharp increase in STDs in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis in 2017, a record high and 20,000 cases more than the previous year.  Read More

•  In a recent study from Pew Charitable Trusts, highly customizable EHRs that vary in design and use have been found to lead to inefficiencies that can fail to prevent patient harm or ultimately contribute to it. Organizations are encouraged to test EHR usability to evaluate system safety and identify challenges to prevent future harm.  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.





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.