The pMD Blog
POSTS BY TAG | Mobile App


Sometimes it’s good to go back to your roots. When slinging code and pounding the pavement in the world of private industry, it’s easy to feel distanced from the thoughtfulness, idealism, and teaching of academe. Yet these qualities are essential to success in any industry. And students benefit from the dialogue as well as they prepare for the world beyond the university’s boundaries.

I graduated from Brown University in 2004, which makes me ancient in the eyes of college students. But my visits to Brown on behalf of pMD, a company that makes mobile charge capture software for doctors, have been rejuvenating. Over the past few years I’ve given technical talks, helped students polish their resumes, and reconnected with some of the faculty members whom I admired most.

Each visit, I’ve been inspired by the insights and diverse perspectives of the students. They haven’t shied away from asking tough questions during my talks - or from putting themselves out there. When I asked a large audience to name their favorite mobile apps, one student immediately shouted "Tinder!" Perhaps the movie “The Social Network” was right, and college students only care about one thing. But more to the point, this is an incredibly successful app that came into existence only two years ago. The students have their fingers on the pulse, and they’ve kept me on my toes.

More satisfying still has been the experience of giving back. Through resume review sessions, I’ve met one-on-one with dozens of students to talk about their career goals and help them fine tune their resumes. As a hiring manager at pMD I’ve had the dubious pleasure of reading more than a thousand resumes, so I know what makes a resume scannable and readable, and what’s attractive to an employer. Many students hesitate to trim and focus their resumes, and they’ve told me that it’s helpful to hear my “less is often more” perspective.

Finally, I’ve found the most joy in giving tech talks at the computer science department. Working at pMD, I’ve had the opportunity to sit with hundreds of physicians and their staff as they learn to use our software for the first time. So most recently I spoke about “How to Build Learnable Apps that Users Love at First Sight.” User experience design is rarely taught in the classroom, yet the students showed a remarkable aptitude and passion for creating truly love-worthy apps.

“I'm in the early design stages of an app with a few friends and we've been debating the issue of borrowing UI patterns from common apps vs. coming up with something novel (which might require more investment from users to learn). Your talk certainly helped me think about that.” -Jonathan Schear ‘15

“I found it particularly interesting that large, well-known companies seem to think they can get away with neglecting new users in their UI design. A team of freshmen (myself included) won Hack@Brown with a voice-messaging app called "Squawk," and we tried to simplify the design as much as possible.” -Joe Engelman ‘17

I returned from Brown feeling invigorated and with renewed enthusiasm to move the dial on great software design. Even more importantly, I met and spoke with another generation of computer scientists committed to building great, learnable software that users love. I can imagine nothing more rewarding.

As of last week, we released version 8 of pMD’s iOS charge capture application, which fully supports secure text messaging between providers and staff in and between practices. One of the inherent challenges in mobile development is trying to keep your user base up to date with the newest version of your app. Not only does this ensure that users get the latest features and performance improvements, it also helps keep the organization agile by not having to support and maintain backward compatibility with legacy versions. With fewer strings attached to the past, a small team of developers can deliver above their weight class.

Like many companies that support native applications on mobile devices, we always struggled with getting enough of our users to upgrade to the latest version in a timely manner. Last year, Apple helped alleviate this problem by introducing auto-update to applications. In the first few days after the update, there was an inevitable spike in upgrades, followed by a linear-like rate. A little more than a week after its release, over 58 percent of our user base is now updated to the latest version of the app, which is a much faster adoption rate than we had for previous versions.


There are several reasons, however, why this number isn’t higher: some users have auto-update turned off, haven’t used pMD since the app updated, are prevented from updating the app due to not yet having iOS 7+, or are simply afraid of change. So even though the problem of legacy app support is improving, it is by no means solved. There really won’t be a silver bullet other than customer education and building updates that persuade the most skeptical hold outs that an update is worth while.
What do you think of when you hear the term “health care”?

There are so many facets to this term that each person’s answer could be vastly different given their personal experience and involvement in health care. So much goes into health care that it has evolved to become an extensive web of intricate nuances and complexities, and that web continues to grow every day.

This map, which illustrates the many different elements of health care from a CIO’s perspective, shows just how complex it is. The Mobile Health section in blue lists out much of what we write about, like hospital mobility, mobile apps, electronic visits, and communication, in the charge capture blog. Other sections are just as relevant with Consumer Health (electronic messaging), Interoperability (application integration), and Payment Reforms (ICD-10 and HIPAA).


Source: CitiusTech
Apple's new iOS 7, released in fall of 2013, presented a fantastic opportunity for us to draw upon the operating system's great new features. Our iOS 7 users are now able to enjoy an unprecedented product update, offering a fresh look and enhanced functionality.

We wanted to give you a glimpse into some of the exciting new features of this product update. pMD for iOS 7 includes both fresh design updates and added functionality, as well as more subtle but equally significant product enhancements. Here is a before and after of what’s changed, highlighting some of the elements we feel are integral to the product update:

New Look


The initial, most striking change from previous versions of pMD is the overall redesign of the application. The user interface has been transformed to reveal a cleaner, lighter look and feel to match Apple's new iOS 7 style. We wanted the software to be as beautiful as it is functional!
You may also notice that certain features on the Census, like the search bar and filter, have been relocated to create a more intuitive user experience when navigating the app. The icons along the bottom now read more like a legend and less like a “what does that symbol do?” guessing game.





Drafts


Another exciting feature in this update is in the Drafts. We have reorganized the way patient visits are presented in pMD for improved accessibility to current and past visit information. Doctors will now be able to refer to their Drafts to view a history of the patient visits they have created and can keep track of their visit activity in a chronological manner. What we used to dub the visit “bucket” is now more like an organized virtual visit file cabinet.

Appointments


The Appointments feature, where doctors can track and create visits for their outpatient appointments and scheduled procedures, now has a sophisticated new look and enhanced functionality for easier navigation. The new calendar bar at the top allows you to skip around to different dates so you can arrive at the desired appointment more quickly, reducing repetitive scrolling.





pMD for iOS 7 contains incredible new developments and enhancements, only some of which are presented here. iOS 7 is supported on the iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, and iPad 2 and iPad Mini, as well as more recent versions, so be sure to get the newest versions of the these devices to take advantage of this update.