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: 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.

Image: PhotoAttractive/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is under scrutiny after investigators found that the FDA did not always evaluate food-borne hazards in a timely manner. The organization is not moving quickly enough to remove contaminated foods from store shelves, leaving consumers at risk.  Read More

•  In 2017, the interoperability discussion centered around private sector innovations more so than federal government policy. While policy guidance from the government is well-meaning, interoperability will truly gain traction when driven from the private sector i.e. vendors, health systems, patients, VC investors, and more.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) clarified its stance on texting patient information on non-secure versus secure platforms. Texting patient orders is prohibited regardless of the platform, however, members of the health care team are allowed to text patient information through a secure, encrypted platform.  Read More

•  Going into labor can be an exciting and often times scary experience. For some minors across the U.S., it can be even more of a challenging experience when they're denied requests for treatments such as epidurals. This is due to laws requiring permission from parents or legal guardians before receiving medical treatment that's not considered emergency care. Doctors and nurses are advocating for a change in policy.  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: Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The number of women enrolling in U.S. medical schools has increased in the last few years. In 2017, more women enrolled in med school than men for the first time and made up more than half of the enrollees list this year. This could potentially mean that more women become involved in hospital leadership roles that interact with hospital IT departments as well as digital health innovation positions.  Read More

•  Coconuts or olives? Experts reveal that compared to olive oil, coconut oil contains about six times the amount of saturated fat. Of course, there are still many health benefits to coconut oil but when thinking about cooking with either of these oils, olive oil is the better choice for overall health.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the federal government found 751 hospitals to have the highest rates of patient injuries. These hospitals were penalized with lowered Medicare payments. The penalty has been controversial since its start four years ago by the Affordable Care Act. The program is designed to financially incentivize hospitals to avoid infections and other mishaps.  Read More

•  Scientists have used gene editing  inside mice to prevent a form of inherited deafness. More research is still needed but this gene editing technique could potentially restore hearing, at the very least, to people who have lost it from non-inherent situations, such as a loud noise or infection.  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.


I’m no big data expert, but I don’t have to be one to see that big data and health care are a perfect match for each other. Big data has been a buzzword in the tech industry for quite some time now. With the widespread adoption of electronic health/medical records (EHR/EMR) systems, big data analysts are looking toward health care as a new industry to target. Before diving into how health care can benefit from big data, we should discuss what “big data” means and why it’s taken so long for big data analysts to focus on health care data.

What is big data?

My favorite definition that I found that was an accurate description of big data in 2017 is simply, “collecting large amounts of data and doing something with it.” You can also think of big data as a set of methodologies to consume large amounts of data and doing calculations on that data to make predictions or gain insight. An example of big data in use is Walmart’s extraordinary success in correlating Pop-Tarts sales with natural disasters.

Walmart’s great big data success!

In 2004, Walmart decided to analyze their sales data during Hurricane Charley to see if they can gain insights on customer buying habits to prepare for Hurricane Frances. What they found was that in an attempt to prepare for Hurricane Charley, customers bought tons of dry food, which included Pop-Tarts. Using this insight, Walmart increased their stock of Pop-Tarts and sold seven times more Pop-Tarts than normal during Hurricane Frances.

Why now for big data in health care?

Countless industries have seen benefits from big data for many years now, but unfortunately health care has only started its big data journey. The biggest reason is because health care was dominated by paper processes. It wasn’t until the approval of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act in 2009 that health care organizations started to adopt electronic health care records. Now that the health care industry has matured into the world of technology, researchers finally have a set of data points to work with.

Uses of big data in health care

The benefits of big data in health care are clear. By using health care data, researchers can start analyzing data for trends and patterns that may help in predicting general patient health, readmissions, patient deterioration, or best treatments for specific diseases. As a direct result of gaining insights, patients will receive better care. Using big data, the health care industry can transform from reactive care to proactive care.

Sources
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/14/business/yourmoney/what-walmart-knows-about-customers-habits.html?mcubz=1
https://web.stanford.edu/class/cs102/notes/CS102DayOne.pdf

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: iStock

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Consumers who are hunting for health insurance during the open enrollment period are either finding prices to be more expensive or are finding cheap deals, depending on subsidy eligibility for 2018. For those who are eligible for subsidies, insurance brokers and analysts are cautioning clients against the temptation to get the inexpensive plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act's minimum standards. Some states have extended their open enrollment period past December 15.  Read More

•  The office of the National Coordination for Health IT (ONC) recently published best practices for data management processes, enabling hospitals to more accurately and effectively match patient records.  There are 5 categories published in the Patient Demographic Data Quality Framework across which hospitals can begin to evaluate their own organizations: Data governance, data quality, data operations, platforms and standards, and supporting processes.  Read More

•  In a new study released by the Journal of the American Medical Association, intense treadmill exercise has been found to be safe for those recently diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and may even slow the progression of their condition in the early stages of the disease. Current methods of treatment involve various drugs, most of which lose their effectiveness over time. While more studies have yet to be done, the findings are encouraging.  Read More

•  On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted in favor to repeal net neutrality regulations. How does this impact telehealth? The new regulatory environment could break telehealth and remote monitoring functionality for providers, patients and vendors, especially those in rural areas of the country. Connectivity is an essential element of telehealth and without it, it doesn't work. Higher prices for connectivity might force providers in rural areas to abandon telehealth programs all together.  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.


Throughout pMD’s nearly 20 years of existence, we have always been extremely proud of our unparalleled customer service. Our commitment to providing great service is one of the first things potential new clients come to learn about pMD, either from reading the hundreds of testimonials housed on our public website, word-of-mouth, or in initial conversations with a member of our sales team.

We all know it’s easy to say our customer support is “unparalleled,” but what does that actually mean? As part of the customer success team here at pMD, I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is on this one! Below, are just a few of the things that make the support we provide so excellent.

1. Easy to Reach: Users can get in touch with us extremely easily. They can call or message support directly from pMD’s mobile application or from our website. There are no hoops they have to jump through to discourage them from reaching out, and they always speak directly with a live pMD employee. Plus, because the medical world doesn’t close up at 5pm, neither do we - pMD support is available 24/7/365.

2. Timeliness: Our goal is never to miss a phone call and to reply to all written correspondence within the same business day, at the latest. Our software is designed to be used in real time, and we want our support model to be responsive to users who need help as they’re using our products throughout the day.

3. Product Knowledge: Learning how to provide a high level of service to our customers starts on day one of new employee training, and throughout an employee’s career at pMD, they maintain responsibility for helping with customer support. All of our support comes from in-house and is never outsourced to a third party or contractor.

4. Good Judgement: More often than not, questions or issues that come to us via customer support truly are support items, such as a user who forgot their username or a new employee who needs access. However, sometimes an inquiry that initially is posed as a support item is really part of a larger project or requires training or workflow updates affecting many users. If that’s the case, that client’s account manager is notified and included in the conversation so that they can assist with resolution for longer-term or more complex undertakings.

Our vision is that getting in touch with pMD’s customer service is just as easy as using our charge capture, secure messaging, care communities, and quality reporting software. A quick and easy resolution means that medical providers and their staff can get right back to doing what’s most important - treating their patients and saving lives!

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: Joy Ho for NPR

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  On Monday, Google announced an open source version of their artificial intelligence (AI) tool, DeepVariant. This tool improves the accuracy of genomic sequencing, which addresses one of precision medicine's outstanding challenges. Big tech rivals, such as IBM, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are already speculated to be making moves into the health care AI space.  Read More

•  A recent study revealed that women who use hormonal birth control pills or contraceptive devices such as intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) face a small yet significant risk for breast cancer. This is the first study to examine risks associated with current, modern forms of birth control in a large population, however, not the first to establish a link to cancer.  Read More

•  Health care spending in 2016 saw a slow in growth, likely due to an increase in insurance enrollment during the first few years of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, per capita spending topped $10,000 in 2016 and spending per person was $10,348. Experts expect a continuation of growth in health care spending due to an aging population and growing health care costs.  Read More

•  Common ceramic household cookware, such as crockpots, may contain traces of lead, which can leak into food and cause lead poisoning. Where does the lead come from? Ceramic ware is glazed before entering a kiln to bake. Often, these glazes contain lead, which gives ceramic ware their attractive shine. Be sure to refer to the FDA's list of products that have been tested for lead contamination!  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.


When you think of traditional sales, you might think of someone dressed in a suit talking at you and trying to persuade you of why you need their product right at this moment. When I joined pMD’s sales team, I thought about all the new tea flavors I would need to check out to prep my voice for all the talking I’d be doing while selling our products. Because I was joining pMD’s sales team with little previous sales experience, all I had to base my expectations off of were the Hollywood stereotypes of sales. I thought I would be informing people of why they needed our products. Unexpected to me, in the first few months of learning and leading my own sales, I found myself doing a lot more listening than talking. It was very different from what I had anticipated, but I quickly learned that if I did all the talking, there was a lot I’d be missing out on when learning about a customer.

pMD isn’t a one-size-fits-all product. If you work with us, you will quickly find out how focused we are on details and understanding processes. This begins in the sales process and goes all the way through to the implementation and account management stages. pMD employees are always open to listen and to hear how we can make our product work for you.

While we do wear business suits, our sales process differs from the Hollywood stereotype I thought it might be. When talking to a new group, I’m not able to tell them about what pMD can do for them until I take the time to learn about what inefficiencies and issues they’re experiencing in their current process - essentially the “why” they reached out to pMD in the first place. For example, during our charge capture sales process we spend a lot of time learning about how a group is currently keeping track of their billing charges and what areas pMD can assist to make the process more streamlined and efficient. You would think this information could be answered by asking a question or two and then answered in no more than three sentences. Oh no. We are not looking to hear the brief answer. We want to hear all the nitty gritty details. What is a provider's current workflow? What is really frustrating about their current system of collecting and submitting charges? In which areas would they like more transparency? What analytics are they hoping to track? We listen so closely and push for details to uncover the best way to improve a group’s workflow and make sure their account is set up so pMD is easy to use, efficient, and successful.

I recently implemented a customer on pMD's Charge Capture product who was solely using a paper process. During each of the many conversations I had with the group during the sales and implementation process, I learned something new every time from the providers or administrative team regarding difficulties in their current workflow that they were experiencing. Because I came to know their current process so well, we were able to customize pMD for them in a way that helped improve many of those kinks. Listening for key phrases like “it is difficult to track…” or “I find it hard to…” are triggers in my mind to get me thinking about customizations that would help make their process easier. There is something rewarding in having the ability to talk to a group and continue learning about them through each conversation along with what customizations could make their pMD experience more useful and easy to use. At the completion of the group’s implementation, these customizations allowed for better organization and reporting for everyone involved. It felt great to uncover some areas they didn’t even know could be improved!

I’ve come to learn and see first-hand the benefits of taking the time to really listen and uncover the needs of our customers. Customization is something pMD prides itself on and something we are always happy to discuss with any current or soon-to-be customer. 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: Paul Rogers

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Health care tech vendors are creating products specifically geared towards use for accountable care organizations, or ACOs. With the industry transitioning to more value-based care and payment reform, ACOs need robust analytics and advanced care management platforms that perform beyond what today's EHRs are capable of doing.  Read More

•  The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, passed in 2008, promised to make mental health and substance abuse treatment easily accessible as the treatments that are available for any other condition. However, a recent national study found that health insurers are skimping out on mental health coverage and patients are still struggling to gain access to affordable treatment.  Read More

•  This morning, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced it has officially canceled mandatory cardiac and hip fracture bundled payment models. While CMS sees this as a way to offer hospitals greater flexibility and choice in how they provide care to their Medicare patients, some health care experts believe this might hurt the value-based care movement.  Read More

•  Do you think you're all caught up with the latest health care news? Take this week's quiz to see how much of that information you've retained!  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.