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Messaging Must-Haves: What Features are Essential for a Great Messaging Product?

At pMD, we are constantly working to update and improve the secure text messaging functionality in our mobile and web applications. Our team continues to collect feedback from our users about how pMD Messaging works for them in their medical practices, which helps us prioritize new features and think about what makes a great messaging product. pMD’s HIPAA-compliant text messaging is unique in that we enable users to securely communicate about patient information, but in certain aspects, we take cues from other text messaging programs (of which there are a countless number!) that many people use for everyday communication.

With such a large offering of different messaging platforms available for smartphones, tablets, and the web, what components make a secure messaging product stand out from all the others and become indispensable to its users?

Cross-Platform Functionality Many of my colleagues and friends use iPhones, but I’m an Android user. Often times, medical practices have a “no cell phone” policy for their office-based employees, but those employees still need to communicate information to their physicians in the hospital in real-time. Having a messaging product that works seamlessly across different mobile operating systems as well as the web is essential for uninterrupted communication, especially for time-sensitive information.

Read Receipts Whether I’m waiting for a confirmation from home that the cat was fed his dinner, or a nurse is waiting for acknowledgment that a doctor received her notes about a new consult in the emergency room, knowing whether or not your message was read is an essential feature for any messaging application.

Emoticons? We’ve gotten a surprising amount of requests for Emoji support in our secure messaging software. I guess I understand the appeal of quickly replying with a thumbs-up icon instead of stopping to type out the words “got it,” but I’m not sure if I’d be able to decipher how a string of emoticons translated to patient care instructions.

Custom Ringtones My personal preference is to have my phone on mute whenever possible, but that’s not always an option for busy doctors! Being able to assign custom alert sounds to certain contacts or applications can be essential for a physician on weekend call waiting for messages from the hospital (or, for the rest of us, simply trying to ignore the latest wave of push notifications from Candy Crush). That’s why we’re very excited to be adding custom ringtones to the pMD application soon!

These are the current and future messaging features that have been on our mind lately at pMD. We are always keeping our ears open for customer feedback, and we’re looking forward to hearing about other features they’d like to see added to our software down the line!
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