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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 | mobile



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.


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.


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.


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. A 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.

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. 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.

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.