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.

So you want to build an app for doctors? Top 5 Lessons
At pMD we’ve been building mobile messaging and charge capture apps for doctors since the Palm Pilot. The app was a bit ahead of its time, but it’s surprising to note that even though the landscape has drastically changed, the fundamentals of what makes a good mobile app for doctors have not.

So before you decide to revolutionize the way doctors interact with their patients and smartphones, here are five lessons we’ve learned:

1. Security

There are very important and profound responsibilities for any application that deals with protected health information. From client side encryption of stored and transmitted data to strict requirements for any cloud based server solutions, these are not challenges that can be addressed “later.” Plan and build for them from day one. More than likely, you’ll need to persuade a hospital’s security team and lawyers that your app won’t lead to unwanted litigation and meets HIPAA/HITECH rules.

2. Robust offline mode

For many consumer apps, this isn’t a high priority. Yet if you’ve spent just a little bit of time walking the halls of a hospital, you’ll understand that there are some very pronounced WiFi and cellular dead spots, so not being able to work offline is a dealbreaker. From cath labs to a doctor’s office, work needs to get done even without internet access. Medical apps, with few exceptions, must have a robust offline mode; essentially allowing the doctor to do all that is physically possible in the app without any reception. Any pending work should be transparently queued and sent when connectivity is reestablished. Native apps have advantages in this area over strictly mobile friendly websites, but if the app still needs data connectivity to load a screen or let the user enter any data, you’re still failing to offer true mobility.

3. Interoperability

A doctor does not work in isolation, but is part of a larger care eco-system. Any medical app dealing with patient data will need to live and integrate with other systems sooner rather than later. This is one of the main value propositions of moving away from paper in health care. Currently, this interoperability is through the industry standard HL7 protocol between Electronic Health Records, Practice Management, hospital registration, and billing systems.

4. Hidden Customizability

Many medical practices have become Galapagos Islands of “individuality.” Across more than a hundred medical specialties and a tumultuous regulatory and financial landscape, different communication and financial workflows have evolved over time. The key in building a usable app for doctors is understanding where you can change a workflow for the better, and when you need to adapt to it. Hiding additional buttons and screens from the end-user until the last possible moment helps preserve the simplicity and elegance of your app. Let the customer grow into any advanced functionality.

5. Easy Access to Support

Human support is always important, especially when you’re dealing with a highly educated and time-pressed clientele. When we train doctors on our charge capture and messaging software, we tell them that the most important thing to remember in the app is how to reach us anytime by simply tapping the built-in button to call or message us. Many won’t need to, but the option and ease to do so is hugely reassuring to a busy doctor.
5G ACA Account Management accurate coding ACI adoption Advancing Care Information Advice AHCA AHRQ AI Alternative Payment Model Amazon S3 Android API Apple appointment reminders Artificial Intelligence arts Audit Award Bay Area BCRA Benefits Best Place to Work Best Practices Big Data Billing Billing & Collections Billing Service Billing Services bootcamp BPCI BPTW Bundled Payment Model Bundled Payments Business relationships Care Communities care coordination Care Navigation Care Team Career Fair CDC Charge Capture Charge Capture App Charge Capture Software Charge Capture Solution Charge Capture Statistics Charge codes Charge Lag Charge Reconciliation CHIP CIO Claims Clinical Communication clinical data Clinical Data Registry Clinically integrated network Cloud CMS cms regulations Coding Collaboration Communication Company Culture Conferences Connected Health Record contact practice Coronavirus COVID COVID-19 COVID19 Cross-functional culture custom reports Customer Interaction customer relations customer service customer success customer support Customers Cyber Security cybersecurity Developer DHHS Diagnosis codes Dialysis discharge instructions Doctor EHR elderly Electronic Charge Capture Eligibility EMR Encryption End-to-End Platform epidemic Expansion FDA FHIR Flu fundamentals gamification Gen Z GI GI Outlook Goals group messaging Health Care Health Care Technology Health Care Web Health Care. Health Care IT health data Health Information Exchange Health Record Healthcare Healthcare Data healthcare interface healthcare interface integration healthcare software HIE HIPAA HIPAA Compliance hipaa compliant communication hipaa compliant communication platform HIPAA-Compliant Hiring HL7 Holidays Home dialysis Home Health Hospital Census Hospital Communication humanity IA ICD-10 ICD-11 Immunizations Implementation Improvement Activities in-app calling inclusive software incorrect billing increase revenue injury rehabilitation innacurate coding Instant capture Integration interface interoperability iOS iOS 8 iOS7 iPad iPhone iPhone 6 IT Lead Generation length of stay LGBTQIA Long Term Care LTC Machine learning MACRA Medaxiom Medical Billers Medical Billing Medical Billing & Collections medical billing denials and solutions Medical claims Medical Coding medical coding accuracy medical coding quality Medical Errors medical practice revenue Medical Record Medical Software Medicare Mental Health Mentorship Messaging Messaging with Patients MGMA MIPS MIPS Registry mobile Mobile App Mobile Charge Capture Mobile EHR Mobile Health Mobile Messaging Mobile Payments Mobile security Mobile Software Mobile Technology Mobile telehealth Modern Healthcare Native App natural language processing Network new feature new features news NIH nlp OCM onboarding Oncology Care Model operations opioid crisis Pandemic Parenting Partnership partnerships Patient Patient access Patient Adherence Patient App Patient Care Patient Chat Patient chat routers Patient Communication patient data Patient Engagement patient experience patient experience cycle Patient Generated Health Data Patient Handoff Software Patient Information Patient Messaging patient outcomes Patient payments patient portal Patient Record Patient Safety Patient satisfaction Patient Simulators patient support Patient Visits Patient-Centric PCP Performance bonus PHI Phishing Scams Physician Physician burnout pmd pMD Pro pMD Team population health Population Health Management Post-COVID PQRS Practice Management Pregnancy Press Release Product Development Productivity products Promoting Interoperability Protected Health Information QCDR QPP Quality Data quality reporting Quality Scoring Ransomware RCM Recruiting Recruitment Reimbursement remote jobs Remote Work Reporting reports Residents Responsibility revenue cycle management ROI Rural communities Ryuk Sales Secure Communication Secure Data Secure Messaging Secure Messaging Video Secure Text Messaging Secure Video Secure Video Chat Security Audit self care seniors sexual orientation and gender identity SF Biz Times SMB SNF SNOMED-CT SOC 2 software vendor SOGI Spear Phishing Specialty Care success support TCM TDM Team Team culture Teamwork technology telehealth telehealth reporting Telemedicine telemedicine in long term care Telemedicine skilled nursing facilities Teletherapy Text Messaging texting Thanksgiving Therapeutic Drug Monitoring time-based billing training transgender Travel Upgrades UX Design VA vaccination records vaccinations Vaccine Value-based care Video Calling Video chat video communication video conferencing Virtual Care Virtual Visit voice calling voice memos WannaCry Wearable Device wearing many hats Web App wellness wfh Wireless Work From Home Work Life Balance Workflow optimization Workplace Culture