The pMD Blog

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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 | Patient App


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.






I greatly appreciated Dr. Daniela Lamas’ perspective in her New York Times article, You’ve Detailed Your Last Wishes, but Doctors May Not See Them. Much ink has already been spilled about the failures of the electronic health record to solve the biggest problems facing patients and health care providers today. This article described a particularly tragic failure: a small piece of absolutely critical information was present in the patient’s record, but it was buried in an ocean of text. Nobody saw it during the chaos of an Emergency Department (ED) admission.

Since then, Dr. Lamas has heard about many other “situations in which last minute ‘saves’ through extreme diligence or chance, such as the one I experienced, had led to a good outcome.” This problem is indeed widespread. A 2016 study in the Journal of Patient Safety estimated that medical errors caused between 210,000 to 440,000 deaths per year in the United States, and that total Preventable Adverse Events due to medical errors occur between 2 to 4 million times per year. It’s a staggering number, accounting for up to one sixth of all deaths in our country last year!

In her article, Dr. Lamas proposed some ideas for fixing this buried information issue. The ideas included:

1. “standards for sharing [...] across all electronic records”
2. “all health systems could require identification of a health care proxy for all patients”
3. “patients should be able to access their health records through a patient-facing interface, send in their own directives, or even update related notes”
4. “all related advance care planning documentation should be in one place in the medical record and accessible with one simple click of the mouse”

Interestingly, three of these wouldn’t help with a situation like this where the information was already present in the record, yet buried out of sight. And the fourth - putting advance care planning documentation in a single place - had already been done at Dr. Lamas’ hospital. The physicians just didn’t use that screen because “habits are hard to break, and without a clear set of incentives, training, and ongoing education, doctors (myself included) continue to record information about end-of-life conversations in progress notes, where they are not readily available”. When the EHR documentation burden is already so heinously high, it’s easy to see how caregivers wouldn’t rush to embrace yet another screen added into the mix. After all, it’s not reasonable to expect the Electronic Health Record to transcend or change its nature, which is, in Dr. Lamas’ words, “a clunky online version of a paper chart”.

She did reference another approach to solve this problem, “clever patient apps that work outside the electronic record”. For an app to help in such a situation, it must not live only with a single person. The patient may be unconscious or may not have their phone with them when they’re admitted. Their health care proxy may not be reachable right away, or perhaps the patient didn’t designate one. So to make absolutely sure that any health care provider who sees the patient can access this information, the app must live with everyone possible who is involved with the patient’s care. The patient, their family members, their health care proxy, each of their physicians, and perhaps most critically of all, their care navigator.

Many of the very sick patients such as the one in Dr. Lamas’ story already have a care navigator assigned to help them navigate through our fragmented health care system and to quarterback the communication among different care teams at different institutions. This person is like the patient’s health care guardian angel. In most cases, they know the patient better than any one physician.

As long as the care navigator finds out immediately when the patient hits the ED and which doctor is seeing them, they can spring into action and make sure the really important information gets to the right person in a timely way. With pMD® Care Navigation™, care navigators can find out instantaneously when the patient is admitted to the ED and have easy access to a concise summary of the truly critical information about the patient’s care plan and decisions.

If care navigators have critical information at their fingertips, are empowered to intervene with exceptional communication software, and find out automatically when patients have their moment of crisis, then we can let the Electronic Health Record go back to doing what it was always designed to do: being the digital filing cabinet. It’s time to move forward to the next generation of software for patients, families, physicians, and especially care navigators.

Find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, care navigation, and clinically integrated network software and services, please contact pMD.