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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.

POSTS BY TAG | Communication



As a member of pMD’s sales team, I have the distinct pleasure of speaking to a large number of individuals in the health care industry that are seeking better, more intuitive methods of communication amongst their internal team and with their patients. Most of the time, this outreach on behalf of the prospective client is done with this sole purpose in mind. However, these individuals are mostly surprised at the level of functionality and the communications risks that they can mitigate with a more robust product, like pMD,  that actually serves multiple purposes other than securely texting.

Today's world is a busy place and a premium is placed on our time. Efficiency is at the forefront of the majority of people's minds and any step we can take to make better use of our time is a must. Health care providers are often at the extreme end of this lifestyle. There is a lot to do, a lot of people depending on you and often there is not enough time in the day. 

Having a consolidated means of communicating with your team and managing your day can be a great time saver and allow for accurate and transparent communication amongst a care team. This is a reality for most of us in our personal lives. At this point in America, most of us have a smartphone that keeps us connected with the ones we love and a calendar to keep us focused on our day. However, in our professional lives, we are relegated to a team calendar in one location, printing our rounding or patient list from another, and sending vague, often cryptic text messages to our colleagues or office staff to communicate any number of items dealing with a patient's care. We have all done it and are equally guilty. It's the world we live in.

pMD recognized this need to have patient, schedule, and communication management in one location and made it a reality in our pMD® Pro solution. Now, providers and their support staff have the ability to manage their rounding list, view their appointment schedule, and communicate contextually with their colleagues. Taking one step further, providers now have the ability to enter a shared clinical note for a patient on their rounding list. Since this is a shared note, all providers in the practice are able to view this note as well as make additional entries in the event of weekend on-call or cross-coverage. 

All of this is very helpful and efficient being in one location, however, in today's world, the need to communicate securely goes outside the confines of our practices and colleagues. Due to the rise of COVID-19, the world has seen a drastic shift in many industries and health care businesses have been uniquely challenged because, pandemic or not, people still get sick and need to see their provider.  This has pushed telehealth from a minimally utilized novelty to an imperative must-have in providing care to our population. This brings to mind several questions: How do I do this securely? How do I keep my personal contact information private? What is the learning curve and success rate for my elderly population going to be?

All of these questions are valid and deserve to be addressed. Using pMD’s solution, the ability to communicate securely through chat, voice calls, and video calls is not limited to only members of your business. All of these methods of communication can be utilized with patients in a controlled fashion that does not expose your personal information as a provider. pMD’s solution from a patient's perspective is intuitive and simple. This is why it has been so effective for our current customers who have already deployed pMD telehealth to their patient population. If your patient has ever sent a text or received a FaceTime call from a friend or loved one, then they will be immediately successful in completing their virtual appointment with you.

To bring the communication loop full circle, automated appointment reminders have been developed and put into place to confirm with patients in advance and drive adherence to appointment times. These reminders, once put into place, are automated and allow patients to confirm or cancel their appointment well in advance of the scheduled date. Having a confirmed cancellation gives the practice more time to either fill that open time slot or give the provider time back into their day, reducing wasted time. After all, efficiency with our time and diverting that newfound time towards more important tasks (like providing the best possible patient care) is the goal, right?


To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.



Healthcare communication


Coordinating a patient’s care is complex. Professionals from a variety of disciplines deliver care to a single patient at various times throughout the day. Specialists may be traveling from several different locations from across a city to where this one patient is receiving care. And all of this complexity limits the chance for care teams to reliably connect with each other regarding the current plan for a patient’s care.  This is when inefficiencies and medical errors arise.

Ineffective Healthcare Communication Causes Medical Errors

The growing body of research on medical error prevention reveals that ineffective or insufficient healthcare communication among care team members is a significant contributing factor to adverse events. Ineffective communication is at the root of nearly three of every four medical errors. Industry studies have classified communication errors that led to inefficiencies and medical error into a few buckets:

1) Communication that was simply too late to be helpful for the patient.
2) Failure to include the whole care team in communication about a patient.
3) Communications that proposed an action where that action was not completed.

Thus, access to a common healthcare communication platform that can link up multiple providers and support clarity in communication during the critical seconds of need must be implemented to help stop avoidable medical errors.

Reduce Medical Errors with pMD’s Healthcare Communication Platform

At pMD, we’re passionate about reducing those avoidable medical errors and saving lives. pMD’s HIPAA-compliant clinical communication and free secure messaging platforms are one key way we’re doing just that.

1) We know that texting is a quick, easy method to connect a team and convey information that can save lives. So, we’re proud to provide a proven, secure communication platform to support healthcare teams - for free.  

2) Sending images securely, including labs, diagnostic images, skin conditions, or wounds post-surgery, can link internists to specialists, residents to attendings, and patients directly to triage nurses.

3) We know that with text alone, a message can lose the inflection, emotion, or intensity intended by the sender.  So, we’ll be adding the ability to send and receive voice memos, giving messages back the volume, pitch, rhythm, and speed that can help convey a clear message.

4) And we know that verbal and non-verbal aspects of communication can be vital in ensuring clarity. Therefore, we’ll also be adding HIPAA-compliant video communication capabilities, even to our free secure messaging platform, to execute care team huddles from anywhere, to facilitate the integration of specialists, and to even host telemedicine encounters directly with patients or medical decision-makers.

At pMD, we know a text, picture, voice memo, or video encounter can vastly improve the clarity of communication. By utilizing a common secure healthcare communication platform which includes the right individuals at the right time, we can reduce medical errors and save thousands of lives.  For more information, or to easily sign up for free pMD® Secure Messaging™, please visit us here!

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.






250,000. That is the number of deaths from medical error calculated in a study by patient safety researchers at Johns Hopkins. That would make medical error the third leading cause of death in the United States, outnumbered only by heart disease and cancer. Medical error is a problem that can affect anyone. Unfortunately, this doesn’t get the same amount of attention as other issues facing health care. Comparing medical error to the current drug epidemic in the United States, the Johns Hopkins report would put the death toll from medical error at 3.5 times the number of individuals killed by drug overdoses in 2016. However, thanks to great work being done by groups like IHI and AHRQ, as well as patient safety researchers, there are steps the health care industry can take to reduce medical error.

It is worth saying that Johns Hopkins’ estimate of 250,000 isn’t without criticism. Health care systems in the United States differ dramatically by location and finding a reliable estimate of the number of patients severely affected by medical error is no easy task. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not register medical errors as a formal cause of death and that the causes of medical error are hard to solve. Studies have found that common causes of medical error include fatigue, inadequate supervision, inadequate experience, and faulty communication. These causes are often institutional failures and can't be addressed by simply flipping a switch. So, what can be done in the face of a problem with such a broad scope and no single solution? And what can an individual practice do to start addressing medical errors in their own backyard?

One example of something hospitals could do to begin addressing this issue is to implement common sense systems to catch errors before they affect a patient. For example, medication errors, a common source for medical error, can be dramatically reduced by implementing systems like Barcode Medication Administration (BCMA), where a doctor or nurse scans the medication before giving it to the patient. This simple step gives the computer a chance to check the provider’s work. But, it isn’t necessary to implement new systems that can cost a practice thousands of dollars a year. For smaller clinics, simply applying “Do not Disturb” rules whereby those administering medication are able to work in a quiet place, free from interruption, was shown to reduce the error rate of those administering medication by roughly the same amount. Another key focus of patient safety research is patient handoff. Because of the complexity and variety of patients’ conditions, patient handoffs must adjust to fit the patient's situation and do have the potential to be a large source of communication errors. However, one study looking at patient handoffs found that implementing a mnemonic device, called I-PASS, to guide physicians through patient handoffs reduced adverse events by almost a third. Simple changes like using the I-PASS method are inexpensive and are designed to ensure that all critical patient information is communicated effectively and in a timely manner. Implementing these changes doesn’t have to come at the cost of reducing the quality of patient care. The same study found that there was no increase in time spent conducting patient handoffs and there was no decrease in time spent with patients.

Humans are prone to making mistakes, and doctors are no exception. One report says that rather than blaming individuals for mistakes, institutions can create a culture of safety in the workplace and design their systems to protect patients, making patients safer while unburdening doctors with the stress of being one simple mistake away from being on the bad end of a tragic statistic. pMD is proud to work with health care teams to promote communication in the hopes of preventing medical error and improving patient care.

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.