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.


Image: iStock

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making it their top priority to modernize the agency. The Anywhere to Anywhere initiative aims to allow VA medical providers to practice telehealth across state lines, expanding access to care for veterans who have historically encountered unreasonably long wait times at VA facilities.  Read More

•  Before-school exercise programs that allow children to run around and play for an hour before the start of school may improve children's physical and mental well-being, according to a recent study. While more research is still being conducted, we know most parents wouldn't be opposed to a program that aligns with their morning work schedules!  Read More

•  While research suggests that fewer and fewer people are religious, interest in spiritual care still remains high for patients in the hospital. Many hospitals offer spiritual services such as prayer rooms and support from chaplains. To prepare for the rigors of hospital jobs, chaplains often undergo training, which sometimes includes an interfaith approach.  Read More

•  A patient goes in for a urine test and comes out with a $17,850 bill. Sounds ridiculous, right? While this bill was wildly excessive, prices for urine tests, especially those for patients with chronic pain at high risk of opioid abuse, can vary widely depending on the complexity and technology used. Bills can continue to climb as labs check for levels of multiple drugs and bill for each one.  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 software.

Image: Irina Marwan/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Experts in health care IT rank device cybersecurity as number one on a list of top 10 challenges facing health care in 2018.  Some tips on how to enhance medical device security? Buying medical devices equipped with the proper security tools and conducting an inventory of medical devices and related software as part of the purchasing process are just some of the measures health care facilities can take to protect themselves from future cyber attacks.  Read More

•  Gelato is more than just a delicious, cold treat on a hot summer day. The math behind the ratio of ingredients is what makes gelato a desired dessert and skimping on sugar, which is considered critical in creating that smooth consistency, could be disastrous. However, new technology aims to remove sugar from gelato without taking away from the flavor.  Read More

•  A new spending measure, passed by the House of Representatives this Tuesday, includes funding for several health care programs for two years. However, the House bill is likely to undergo significant rewrites in the Senate to pave the way for long-term spending.  Read More

•  In a recent study published on Tuesday in the journal JAMA, researchers found that fetal alcohol syndrome and other alcohol-related disorders among children in the U.S. are as common as autism. This statistic is more that previously thought. These children suffer from neurological damage caused by mothers drinking alcohol during pregnancy.  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 software.

Image: Eye of Science/Science Source

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  A recent and dangerous trend that picked up in December is now responsible for an uptick of poisonings and ceases to slow in the new year. The Tide Pod Challenge, as it is known, has become a bizarre phenomenon, mostly involving teenagers who challenge each other to intentionally ingest the candy-like laundry pods. Potential side-effects include seizures, coma, and even death. Will this prompt Tide to redesign their product?  Read More

•  Patients with chronic illness often times have more to deal with than just managing their illness itself. They're also having to be their own medical record manager because electronic health systems across several different medical facilities never talk to each other. Patients are finding there isn't one, simplified, and centralized record keeping system. This can lead to inaccuracies and miscommunications surrounding patient care.  Read More

•  On Tuesday, Amazon announced it is partnering with JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Berkshire Hathaway to launch into the health care space. The focus will be on simplified, high-quality, and transparent technology solutions in health care at a reasonable cost.  Read More

•  A recent study found that two types of bacteria commonly found in the gut work together in fueling the growth of colon tumors. Bacteroides fragilis and a strain of E. coli may be the hidden cause of colon cancer, the third most common cancer in the U.S.  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 software.

As our customers track increasingly sophisticated amounts of data about their patients in pMD, we’ve begun to receive requests to add more powerful reporting tools to the platform, in order to give those customers more insight into their practice.  They’ve asked us to give them additional power to spot trends and problem areas, and the ability to easily define and monitor key metrics about the health of their patients, and their business.  In response to this, we set out on a journey to build a modern, easy-to-use business intelligence (BI) tool within pMD.

A major challenge that software companies face when building any feature, but especially something as complex as an analytical reporting tool, is to create powerful functionality that is simultaneously extremely intuitive for the user.  In my experience as an engineer, often the instinct when approaching a large problem space is to try to model every aspect of it in software, and expose these various pieces directly to the end user.  However, if not done with care, simply handing the user the controls to a vast number of “bells and whistles” can lead to features that are difficult to understand and generally unintuitive.

To achieve our goal of building an intuitive, yet powerful Custom Reports platform, we’ve been following the words of Leonardo da Vinci: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”  Rather than bombarding the user with a number of choices and configuration options all at once, we instead try to require the fewest number of decisions possible in order to move forward at each step in the construction of the report.  Anything that can be pushed off until later should be.  

It’s certainly still important to give users the ability to refine and change a number of fine-grained parameters of their reports after their initial construction, but we want this to be an iterative process. Seeing information, and then acting on it is far more intuitive than having to make all of your choices before the first report is ever constructed.  We’re very excited to begin rolling out our new Custom Reports tool later this month in order to give our customers better insights into their valuable business data!

 If you'd like to find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, and care coordination software and services, please contact pMD.

Image: Vahram Muradyan for NPR

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Apple just announced the launch of a new personal health record (PHR) feature with iOS 11.3. Twelve hospitals across the U.S. are participating in the launch. Patients at these hospitals will be able to use Apple's Health Records, as the feature is called, to view their patient information easily and securely. This information is aggregated from both patient-generated data and their electronic medical record from participating hospitals.  Read More

•  With climate change comes a plethora of consequences. A growing fear about one possible consequence is the return of deadly bacteria and viruses that have been preserved for centuries in the frozen ground. As the Arctic's permafrost begins to thaw, is this fear becoming a reality?  Read More

•  To arm or not to arm? Many hospitals across the country have tightened security by bringing in armed guards but many opponents argue that armed guards in hospitals encourages violence rather than prevents it. In addition, uniformed guards carrying weapons can make patients uncomfortable in an environment where patients should be feeling safe.  Read More

•  The Food and Drug Administration rejected a claim on Thursday made by Philip Morris International that their electronic tobacco stick device is safer than traditional cigarettes. Philip Morris International also submitted studies claiming that the electronic tobacco stick reduces the risk of tobacco-related diseases, would reduce exposure to dangerous chemicals, and would be less harmful than conventional smoking.  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 software.

Happy new year, everyone! Like every start to the new year, here at pMD we like to reflect on how amazing our past year has been and what we did to accomplish our goals. Looking back at our 2017, we as a company saw a lot of changes, including two office moves and adding new core team members to our already amazing team. But the one consistent that has never changed is our team’s commitment to getting things done when it matters and in this case, it was our last month’s push to our year end goal. While we were still settling into the confines of our beautiful new office and before we could even catch our breath and enjoy our new surroundings, it was already December 1st.

At pMD, we are always striving to be better. If we set and surpass a goal, we immediately set a new one. With our year-end quickly coming to a close and our goals just short of reach, we took an all hands on deck approach and strategized on how each individual team member can contribute to hit our end of year goal and finish strong in 2017.

As with any major holiday, and especially during the month of December, many folks took the time to be with their families and loved ones but that surely didn’t slow anyone on the team from contributing in a major way. One of those ways was part of a big end-of-year initiative in which each team member was required to reach out to respective networks and invite them to utilize and share feedback on our messaging platform. In this way, we can continue to improve and evolve the product.

Additionally, many of our customers had a go-live date of 1/1 to hit the ground running with pMD in the new year. This meant that these on-site implementations would have had to occur in the week between Christmas and the new year. Circling back to the theme of this post, all hands were on deck to implement these folks before the anticipated go-live date. With two teams of pMDers gladly accepting that challenge by flying to Southern California and New York, this ensured that our new customers were up and running by 1/1.

This approach and willingness to do what it takes makes up the character of this great team. We understand that at any given moment, you’ll be asked to push a little harder and go a little further to achieve a goal. December was no different and we ended 2017 at our strongest month ever, reaching that year-end goal as a team!

 If you'd like to find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, and care coordination software and services, please contact pMD.

Image: CSA-Printstock/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is teaming up with 4 health systems to create a non-profit generic drug company. The goal of the four companies, Intermountain Healthcare, Ascension Health, SSM Health, and Trinity Health along with the VA, is to address the issue of high costs and shortages of medications in the U.S. They plan to make more affordable and more available generic medications. Read More

•  While stifling a sneeze may seem like one good method to stop the spread of germs, one rare case of sneeze stifling ended in a ruptured throat for an unsuspecting man in Britain. The force of the sneeze he attempted to stifle when obstructing both his nose and mouth was so strong that the blast of air forcefully made its way through the soft tissue in his throat as tiny bubbles. This caused his neck to swell and a change of voice along with unsettling crackling sensations. Don't worry, after a week, the man was well on his way back to the norm.  Read More

•  With the possibility of a government shutdown looming, health care programs will be threatened with billions of dollars in health care costs, as it did in 2013. The Department of Health and Human Services does have a contingency plan in place in the event of a government shutdown.  Read More

•  Curious about how this year's flu season compares to those of the past? The New York Times' Q&A answers some questions on what to expect of this year's flu season and how it's spreading and well as how historical data compares to the 2016-2017 season.  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 software.

pMD's engineering teams are very different than others in the software industry. In a previous blog post, I wrote about the special responsibilities all software engineers have to their users: establishing and maintaining a culture of empathy with them. This is absolutely critical in keeping the software in line with the users, providing a trustworthy guide for product development. This principle also guides how we manage and hire teams here at pMD.

When I first joined pMD, I had come from a series of typical software shops where I received specifications from another department and had the clear instruction to spend my workday implementing the request. When I started at pMD, I was taken way out of my comfort zone by regularly speaking with customers and visiting them onsite on a monthly basis, and immediately given a large and growing list of responsibilities to derive my own “specifications” out of those interactions. The discomfort soon gave way to an appreciation of how it fed back into the product and guided what we build as a team and as a company.

As a core cultural value, it also guides how we recruit and hire developers. In many ways, this poses a challenge. Sometimes it feels like looking for an orange in a sea of apples. Yet this also creates a competitive advantage for the folks that want something different and desire to have a well-rounded experience in product development. Not every developer wants or needs to spend time regularly speaking with customers, which is ok, and this at times creates a challenge in reducing the pool of applicants who have strong engineering skills. Yet in our experience, it has also been an advantage. By drawing candidates towards the team and providing something different and compelling in an otherwise homogeneous space, this practice has helped us recruit and retain some great engineers who have shaped and will shape pMD’s future.

So, if you're a software engineer looking for something more and value interacting as well as learning from your users, we have some great open positions!

Interested in joining the pMD team? Check out pMD's careers page for more information! To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, and care coordination software and services, please contact pMD.

Image: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  There are approximately 1.7 million children across 20 states in the U.S. who could be at risk of losing their Children's Health Insurance Medicaid (CHIP) coverage in February due to shortage of funding. A few states plan to use state funds to make up for the lack of federal funding and the states that can't afford it may resort to freezing enrollment or terminating coverage when federal money dissipates.  Read More

•  For those of us who don't have a gluten sensitivity, pursuing a gluten-free diet may not yield the health benefits we think it would. Unnecessarily avoiding gluten-containing grains in your diet can lower overall digestive health because fiber intake decreases. We also have to remember that gluten-free substitutes are not always any more healthy.  Read More

•  Less than two months after canceling two mandatory bundled payment programs created under the Obama administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it is launching a new bundled payment program under the Trump administration. The Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) Advanced model gives providers an incentive to deliver high-quality and efficient care to their patients.  Read More

•  The opioid crisis continues to devastate the U.S. and health care leaders are turning to new strategies to fight it. In 2018, the focus will be on efforts to assess patients on their pain levels upon admission, educating staff about safe opioid use, patient education, and exploring alternative pain relief methods.  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 software.

Image: Sophie Sahara Barkham

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Telehealth services and products are on the rise in rural areas. Rural hospitals are especially benefiting from telepharmacy services, which not only offers patients 24/7 pharmacy services but also provides big savings for these rural hospitals. Approximately 95 percent of medications delivered via the telepharmacy program are located in a dispensing machine.  Read More

•  Penalties through the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program are responsible for hospitals losing 1 percent of Medicare payments each year. The program, in its fourth year, is meant to improve the quality of patient care. Hospitals are penalized for having too many infections and patient injuries.  Read More

•  Feeling terribly exposed may be a thing of the past when it comes to hospital gowns. In partnership with students from Parsons School of Design, Care and Wear, which specializes in medical wearables, has created a new gown design inspired by the kimono style. This new design ties in the front, allows for more coverage, and replaces five different types of gowns with one.  Read More

•  Overbilling, or upcoding, Medicare for office services has always been a problem and still remains unchanged. Unfortunately, this kind of fraudulent billing does not get doctors into legal trouble. Physicians have long been warned by the Office of Inspector General that they are responsible for billing Medicare at appropriate levels for office visits.  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 software.