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In this day and age, so much of what traditionally needed to be done in person can not only be done virtually but has become the standard in many cases. Whether it’s school, work, or even just catching up with family and friends, it seems like almost everything we can think of can be done remotely.

A generation made for telehealth


Although, as a society we’ve been slowly moving towards having more regular virtual interactions for a while, this phenomenon has been greatly accelerated by the recent pandemic, leading to an increase in the usage of telemedicine specifically. While this represented a monumental shift in how care is delivered, especially for older generations, it was far less of a foreign concept for Generation Z (Gen Z), who were essentially born with a smartphone in hand and have never known life without the internet. Gen Z, which are those born between 1995 and 2012, is expected to account for an estimated 61 million new employees in the global workforce in the next decade, and for them, Telehealth isn’t something they are hoping will just pass with the pandemic. 

Is the office visit dead?


Hold on, let’s not go that far! There are certainly plenty of instances where a telehealth visit with a doctor just won’t cut it. But, ask your average 18-25-year-old if they have a choice to physically go into a doctor's office or connect with them virtually, which would they choose? Chances are they won’t be so hesitant to take the virtual option. In fact, according to a recent study,  41% of Gen Z would actually prefer receiving their health care consultations digitally rather than in person, by far the most of any generation. At the end of the day, telemedicine provides both patients and providers increased flexibility and efficiency, both of which are coveted highly by Gen Z. 

What about privacy?


Since they’re already so used to having so many of their daily interactions online, Gen Z tends to hold a much different view about digital data privacy compared to older generations. When it comes to where they find and consume their information, a majority of Gen Z rely on a variety of different sources such as their cell phones, social media, and YouTube channels to stay informed on the subjects of interest to them. Most of these platforms require their users to share their personal information online, which is one of the main reasons why Gen Z feels more comfortable providing their data over the Internet. Because of this, many of the individuals from the younger generation seem to be much more willing to share their personal health information online compared to older generations if there is a clear benefit to them. With the increase in social distancing measures due to the pandemic and the ability to fit their consultation within their busy school schedules, the younger generation feels much more comfortable using telemedicine because it suits their personal lifestyles better.

Why should we continue to embrace telehealth?


At the end of the day, Gen Z value having access to everything they need right at their fingertips. By making it easier for them to seek medical advice through telemedicine, we can encourage more Gen-Zers to feel comfortable speaking up whenever they’re dealing with any health-related issues and encourage them to meet with medical professionals regularly. Even though more serious procedures may still require them to visit a doctor in person, there’s still a benefit in giving them the option to have their initial conversations virtually. Ultimately, it’ll be able to make their lives easier and make it more convenient for them to seek medical attention when needed.

If you are interested in learning more about pMD’s telehealth tools and services, please contact us here or give us a call at 800-587-4989 x2. We’d love to hear from you!

Related Articles:

The Case for Mobile Based Telehealth
Long-Term Telehealth Workflow Best Practices
Measuring the Impact of Telehealth: What to Measure, Why & How


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

 


In part one of this series, we talked about the health care technology landscape that has contributed to a state where rarely does one system hold a patient’s entire, or current, health record. Rather, in many cases, pieces of information are scattered across a variety of different systems operated by the various providers involved in a patient’s care. Fortunately, health care providers are required by law to give patients access to their health data. We previously walked through the process one might follow to obtain copies of their health records, now it’s time to determine how and where to store that information.



Storing Health Records in Secure App, the Best Way to Manage the Data


Why go through the trouble of compiling all of your health care records? The short answer is so that you can have them easily accessible when you need them most. In today’s world, the vast majority of people own a smartphone, which they take with them wherever they go. Because of that, we’d argue that organizing and storing your health records in a secure app, on your phone, is by far the best way to manage your health care data.  As of Q4 of 2020, there were 51,476 iOS apps listed under the “medical” category in the Apple App Store, and 49,890 Android apps in the Google Play Store.



What to Look for When Choosing an App to Store Your Medical Records


So what should you look for when choosing an app with which to entrust your sensitive information?  First and foremost - it should be HIPAA-compliant. But what does that mean from a technical perspective?  Look for references to encryption, emergency access, secure backup, and biometric, or “two-factor” authentication. It’s important that if you leave your smartphone sitting out, someone can’t just pick it up and look at your lab results, or a recent communication with your doctor without first scanning their face, or finger, or entering a password.


Similarly, if you were to lose the phone, you’d want to make sure anyone trying to pull data off of it would be prevented from accessing the health care app’s database due to the use of strong encryption. On the other hand, when you got a replacement phone, you wouldn’t want to rebuild your centralized health record database from scratch. Look for an app that makes reference to securely backing up your data and try to understand upfront what the process of recovering your information involves.


Finally, and arguably the most important item to consider is data transmission and control. A driving factor behind curating your own health records is the ability to grant access to relevant parts of it to providers involved in your health care. Consider choosing an app that has convenient tools for sending and receiving health information between you and your doctor easily and securely. The app should let you choose the means by which you transmit your data and should provide an avenue that’s encrypted end-to-end.


And finally, do some homework on who built the app. Pick a company that is oriented around improving patient health outcomes by providing better continuity in health care data, not one that’s out to make a quick buck by monetizing your health records. At pMD, we care deeply about empowering both patients and providers to have a higher quality, delightful health care experience.




 

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:

Grab Your Healthcare By the Data Part 1:Collecting Your Records
* What Makes pMD Video Chat HIPAA-Compliant?


Most of us see a variety of health care providers for everything from routine primary care, to specialty treatment for chronic conditions, to lab tests and x-rays, to procedures for injuries. In the United States, it’s likely that each individual practice and facility will have their own system(s) for storing the health records associated with the portion of your care that they rendered. However, those databases often don’t communicate or share information with the other providers’ systems. U.S. law requires that each health care provider store your electronic health records securely, but it does not mandate that it all be centralized in any one place.

As a result, as we move through the healthcare system we often leave a trail of comprehensive, but very siloed information behind us.

Why Store Your Healthcare Records in a Centralized Repository?


recent study estimated that a single hospital, on average, has 16 different electronic medical record vendors actively in use across all of its affiliated practices. This makes putting together a complete picture of one’s health history, or even current status, potentially a very daunting challenge. Your lab results, imaging tests, vaccination records, current medications, notes from that recent cardiologist visit, and even data from your fitness tracker device might all live in separate places.

Not only is this inconvenient and inefficient, but it can also be potentially dangerous.  Imagine being treated at an emergency room and not remembering, or not being capable of communicating your blood type or known drug allergies. What if your gastroenterologist unknowingly prescribes a medication that has an adverse interaction with your blood pressure drug? Because these disparate providers don’t necessarily share or have access to all of your health records, the burden is on the patient to build and maintain a centralized repository of their data and self-report this information to all of their various providers.

Collecting Your Healthcare Data is Your Right by Law


The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) gives individuals the right to request copies of their medical records from each of their providers. Health care entities are required to provide this information within a reasonable timeframe and for no or low cost. Unfortunately, most state laws don’t stipulate that patients actually own their data, and the process for requesting and obtaining it can be cumbersome - sometimes requiring a written request. But, the federal law is at least clear about the patient’s right to access the data.  

Furthermore, HIPAA mandates that individuals can request their health information be delivered to them in digital format, which is helpful when approaching building a centralized, patient-controlled repository of one’s healthcare records.

After Collecting Your Records, How & Where Do You Store Them?


Once you’ve got the data in hand, the question becomes how, and where to store it in a way that’s both secure, yet easily accessible for you and any family member or health care provider with whom you choose to share it.

In part two of this series, we’ll look at why it makes sense to carry your health information with you on your smartphone and discuss what to look for in an app to help make it easy and safe.

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:

Grab Your Healthcare By the Data Part 2: Choosing the Right App
* What Makes pMD Video Chat HIPAA-Compliant?
* The Goal of Interoperability in Health Care: Uniting People & Systems

Can you recall the glorious feeling of getting immersed in the groove of an extra productive working session, or reading the best book that you just can’t put down, only to glance up for a quick second to check the clock and realize you're 20 minutes late for your next meeting, or dinner, or an appointment?

Generally, outside of the unpleasant initial shock of realizing how much time has passed in your trance, the effects of being late are usually minimal and easily remedied. 

But this isn’t always the case with certain commitments. Take doctor’s appointments, for example. Missing an appointment can not only mean that you have to wait another week or two to see your health care provider, but it can also result in dreaded no-show fees. With many in-person appointments being moved to telehealth visits, it can be even more difficult to make sure you’re on-time for your medical appointments when you’re not physically having to go into a doctor's office.

In my personal experience, my health care providers have used telemedicine systems that require me to log into a website or keep track of a link sent days in advance that I would have to click on at the time of my visit. There have been plenty of times I’ve looked up at the clock and realized I’m 15 minutes late to a telehealth visit and have to scramble quickly to find my login or video link, all while keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t get a no-show fee or have to reschedule. Even if I do make it to my appointment on time, I find that my internet connection might not be the best at my house, or the camera on my computer doesn’t always have the quality I’d like. 

With pMD’s telehealth solution, our team designed our product a little differently with patients and ease-of-use as top of mind. There’s no need to log into a website or search emails for a link that may have been sent days in advance. Our mobile app is easy to download on the patient’s phone, just like any other app, except that it’s encrypted, secure, and HIPAA-compliant. At the time of the appointment, the provider initiates a call to the patient through the secure app and the call rings directly to the patient's mobile phone - allowing the patient to use either wifi or cellular data for the best connection and video quality. So regardless of what patients are up to at the time, they’ll be notified right away of their appointment. pMD does all this while continuing to protect providers' privacy by not displaying their personal information. 

After the video appointment is complete, pMD also provides patients and providers a way to securely communicate via our chat feature, keeping the provider in control of how long the line of communication stays open. So say a patient has received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and you want to make sure they don’t forget to receive the second dose. The practice can message them directly via the pMD mobile app, or better yet, set up an automated reminder, to remind the patient when it’s time to receive the second dose. By downloading a mobile app on their phone, patients not only have a secure and virtual way to carry out their appointment but they also have a more direct way of receiving important information from their providers about their health or updates from the practice. 

At pMD, we love providing a robust and seamless telemedicine solution that provides patients and practices with intuitive tools to better communicate about patient care. Submit your information here if you’d like to learn more about how pMD’s telehealth solution could benefit your practice.

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.