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.

POSTS BY TAG | Integration

Interfacing health care IT systems


Information technology is supposed to make work-life more efficient, accurate, and effective. The promise to eliminate duplication of effort and minimize fat-finger typographic errors is the core reason for adopting much of the IT used in the modern medical office. Nothing delivers on these promises more directly than establishing interfaces among the various computer systems in the health care delivery universe.

SHOULD YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR AN INTERFACE?


At pMD, our stated raison d'être is to save patient lives by reducing the risk of medical errors stemming from miscommunication and non-communication resulting in care gaps.  pMD was created to improve efficiency, accuracy, and information exchange among caregivers and patients.  Since interfacing is so integral and critical to achieving this goal, pMD has never charged our clients for an interface.  

When dining at a restaurant, you are paying for the food, but you are not charged extra for utensils or a plate.  When investing in a system to improve business efficiency and accuracy, getting quality data into and out of it should not cost extra.  This principle is at the core of the pMD approach to interfacing with other systems, including hospitals, practice management, answering services, and billing and revenue cycle management (RCM) services.  

Unfortunately, most other participants in the industry have a different view on the subject.  While pMD does not charge for interfaces, the reality is that most Practice Management (PM) System vendors do charge thousands of dollars for them.  Some hospitals and health systems also charge for data feeds to private practices as well, although can vary with the practice’s relationship with the hospital.

INTEROPERABILITY IS IN OUR DNA


Our commitment to core principles drove the way we designed our interfacing technology and continues to drive our methodology.  While many players in the industry are unwilling or unable to modify the format of the data they send or expect to receive, pMD has developed a system that allows us to be very flexible within the HL7 standard for interfacing.  Not only do we not charge providers, but we will flex to suit the needs of the systems we are exchanging data with.  

We have a huge existing and growing library of interfaces to a large number of systems that allow us to implement many interfaces with off-the-shelf modules quickly.  Our approach allows us to easily make adjustments to those existing interfaces for practices with unique requirements and workflows.  We’re also not limited to the systems we’re currently interfaced, we can adapt existing packages to quickly develop new interfaces with systems we have not previously encountered.  

pMD can process data for new and existing office and hospital patients, appointments scheduled in a practice management system, and can of course send charges in pMD back to the PM or RCM systems, customized to their unique requirements. The best part of it all, it is all included in the complete service that pMD prides itself on.

If you are interested in learning more about our interfacing capabilities, please contact us here or give us a call at 800-587-4989 x2. We’d love to hear from you!

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


Related Articles:
* Healthcare Interface Implementation: 2 to Tango, 3 to Interface
* Interoperability in Health Care IT: The New Norm… Eventually
* Investing in Partnerships Pays Dividends

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak many health care practices were forced to implement telehealth as quickly as possible, and often didn’t have enough runway to deeply consider an ideal long-term workflow. If your practices’ initial reaction was to put something in place that was good enough for now but could be phased out in a few months when everything went back to “normal,” you are certainly not alone. 

The writing is on the wall; the use of telemedicine will not only be critical for managing this pandemic but will fundamentally change how care is delivered moving forward. In fact, some experts predict 20-30 percent of routine visits will continue to be virtual ones moving forward.  

Take an Integrated Approach


You’ve already invested time, effort, and money into your current systems and clinical workflows. Your telehealth solution should plug right in and work directly with those systems already in place, not outside of them. A virtual visit should be just as efficient, if not more than an in-person office visit. The more systems that integrate together, the less effort required of the practice and/or providers to onboard and manage. For example, why not interface your practice management system with your telehealth solution? Send automated appointment reminders based on the clinic schedule, conduct the virtual visit, and bill for the encounter, all from one place.

At pMD we strongly believe all systems should work in harmony together, which is why we interface with all major electronic medical records, hospital systems, and medical billing systems free of charge.

Have A Plan for Pre- and Post-Visit Communication


Just like a face-to-face visit, virtual encounters start well before the patient connects with their doctor and extends past when they hang up. Build a workflow that utilizes the office staff to frontload the onboarding of your patients to make sure they are ready to go when it comes time for their visit, and reduces the administrative burden on the providers. Reducing the burden on office staff is also a key consideration. For example, staff can enroll patients at the time an appointment is scheduled and set an automated appointment reminder to send 48 hours prior to cut down on manual follow-up. On the day of the appointment, a medical assistant (M.A.) can handle the check-in process and record any self-taken vitals, queuing up the patient for the provider. Once the visit is complete, staff can schedule a follow-up appointment or touch base regarding any outstanding items like labs or prescriptions via secure text messaging. Integrating key team members and all of the pre- and post-visit communication into your overall telehealth workflow will ensure virtual visits run as smoothly as your office visits.

Don’t Become Customer Support


You are not technical support, nor should you have to be. You have enough going on in your practice without having to troubleshoot technical issues with a telehealth platform for your patients. To reduce the risk of no-shows and rescheduled visits due to technical difficulties, it's important for patients to have easy access to fast, reliable customer service.

Our 24/7 live phone, email, and secure chat customer support extend to your patients too. We know how frustrating it is to not be able to get help when you need it. Let us reduce the burden of onboarding patients and providing technical support so you can focus on providing care.

Standardize Your Telehealth Workflow


There are numerous telehealth solutions available ranging in quality, security, functionality, and price, but when you find a solution that fits your needs, it is important for everyone to use the same system. Complexity and room for error increase when each provider is using a different platform, forcing the office staff to search within multiple systems for needed information. Not to mention managing multiple workflows and fielding questions for each disparate system - what a headache! When telehealth visits are all done on the same platform and tied to a patient record, you can ensure providers and staff are on the same page.

Don’t Bother with Single-Use Solutions


There is more to telehealth than just video communication. Why have multiple communication systems when you can use one that allows you to communicate internally, with referring physicians and colleagues, and also with patients? Care gaps happen when health care teams are forced to manage a complicated web of disparate solutions. You should be able to manage every step of the virtual visit process, from sending appointment reminders to patients, documenting and billing for encounters, and conducting post-visit follow-up, all from the same place.

Budgets are tight right now. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual visits may have represented the vast majority, if not all office visits, justifying the investment in telehealth as a standalone solution. As offices begin to re-open, telehealth will undoubtedly continue to play a vital role in care moving forward, but the percentage of virtual visits is expected to decrease. If virtual visits only represent a quarter of your total visit volume, it will become essential for telehealth solutions to drive value and revenue in other areas of your practice as well, such as secure communication, charge capture, or care coordination.

In addition to secure video, voice calling, and chat, pMD includes enough features to replace several standalone products, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.

Enable Transparent Reporting & Documentation of Telehealth Visits


The last thing you want to worry about is being able to provide adequate proof of your telehealth encounters, especially when payors start to implement restrictions. Accurate, detailed reporting and documentation features will be key to ensure you receive the maximum reimbursements. All calls should be time-stamped and associated with a specific patient profile, making it easy to provide proof of all encounters.

pMD provides the transparent reporting tools you need to run your medical practice effectively, including patient-based call logs and chat history. In addition, all patient chat transcripts are available practice-wide, further reducing the risk of miscommunications or care gaps.

Maintain High Levels of Security when Using Telehealth


Yes, it’s true, enforcement of HIPAA compliance has been temporarily relaxed under these extraordinary circumstances. But experts don’t expect that to last. Plus, why gamble with the security of your patient’s personal health information (PHI) information when there are other options? As the health care industry works to establish a new normal, practices know that any long-term solution needs to be secure in order to reduce the potential disruption and financial risk as policies continue to evolve.

With pMD you can rest easy knowing you have a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) and that all video, voice, and chat communication is always secure, encrypted, and HIPAA-compliant.

Get a Free, In-Depth Workflow Analysis & Consultation


We know COVID-19 has placed extreme burdens on health care providers and practices. Our team of experts is ready to provide you with free in-depth workflow analysis and consultation to determine the specific needs of your practice and patients. You can find additional information and resources about our telehealth product at the links below: 

Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 800-587-4989 x1 or email sales@pmd.com if you have any questions or to set up telehealth for your practice today. We’d love to hear from you!

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.