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 Care


Everyone who has received medical care in the U.S. has experienced the complex system built around paying for the care you receive. From complicated insurance types to delayed and unforeseen bills, many agree that the financial burdens that come from U.S. health care are the toughest to swallow. The system, in all its complexity, is difficult for a reason. The negotiations that take place between insurance carriers and medical billing teams determine the amount that each patient has to pay on a case-by-case basis. The limited forms of payment exist for the security of the patient and the protection of their private health information. But is there a way to improve the patient experience when it comes to paying for medical care?

In 2018, in a survey conducted by HIMSS Analytics, researchers found that 68% of patients would be more likely to return to a practice for future care if a cost estimate was available to them at the time of service. It was also found that 75% of patients wished they could keep a credit card on file for any balances that come up during their care. Simple fixes go a long way towards improving patient retention and driving practice growth. The easier you make it for your patients to pay for their care, the more money you are likely to receive.

Cost estimates of patient care are one of the largest things a practice can do to make patients feel more financially comfortable while navigating their episode of care. An unforeseen bill, or one that is larger than expected, can unsettle a patient and may lead to higher rates of uncollected revenue. Upfront estimates provide peace of mind and allow patients to make informed decisions about the care they are receiving. The HIMSS Analytics survey found that 46% of patients also said they would be more likely to pay a significant portion of their bill upfront if an estimate were available. This simple step can create massive benefits for both practice and patient by keeping all parties informed and engaged throughout all aspects of care.

The growth of consumer culture in health care also means patients want to be able to pay for their visits using modern solutions. Scheduling apps and HIPAA-compliant payment portals are growing in popularity and patients are responding positively. By allowing patients to pay online, not only is the patient experience improved, but the providers will receive reimbursement for their work faster than paper billing alternatives. A 2016 survey by Aite Group shows that 56% of all bills that year were paid online, while 77% of health care practices specifically use paper billing systems. This comparison shows that the needs of the 50% of patients that state they would prefer online or paperless medical billing are not being properly addressed by their health care providers.

Tools like pMD® Charge Capture™ allow providers to capture their charges in real-time and reduce billing lag. These workflow improvements are the first step to providing patients with quick and accurate estimates of the money they owe and create more actionable opportunities for providers to maximize their revenue while driving patient growth. It all stems from the patient experience.


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.


 

Telehealth, or telemedicine, has existed for years, but with the emergence of COVID-19, the relationship between telehealth and the health care industry was transformed practically overnight. For most practices, COVID-19 catapulted telehealth from a long-term possibility to a complete and immediate necessity. According to AARP, demand for telehealth surged 1,000% by mid-April when compared to the time period before the emergence of the COVID-19 disease. This change came with a need for providers to train staff, evaluate software vendors, and devise new workflows to support telehealth. The patient side of the health care industry was equally disrupted, with individuals no longer able to continue their care in person. While some patients had experience with video conferencing through their employers or through FaceTiming family and friends, many were thrown into a new world of installing software, attaching webcams, creating accounts, and setting passwords.

Supporting patient adoption


At pMD, we have always been dedicated to easing the burden of learning or implementing new technology for both practices and patients. We have decades of experience working closely with practices to customize our software to meet their needs. The pMD team trains practice staff, provides 24/7 technical support, and implements our software in a way that best fits each practice’s existing workflow. The same approach is taken with patients using our software. We give them direct access to our knowledgeable employees who can help them work through even the hardest technical issues, we train them to use the software when needed, and we allow them to accomplish their telehealth encounter using the device and process that makes the most sense for them.

While pMD approaches helping practices and patients in a similar way, patients' needs differ in many ways. Individuals have a wide range of experience and comfort with technology. They use different software and hardware from many practices, sometimes using phones or computers that can be up to 15 years old, and they may be running software equally as out-of-date. If an individual encounters issues with software compatibility, they don’t have an IT department to contact in the same way many practices do. At pMD, we do our best to support every possible software and hardware configuration on laptops, desktops, phones, and tablets. We also integrate all options in a seamless manner, allowing for use of a web browser or a native app. 

The seamless patient experience


On the software engineering end, this involves addressing a complicated mix of all possible configurations with special attention paid to potential issues and workarounds. But, on the patient’s end, it simply looks like a functioning telehealth encounter that is as easy to use as clicking or tapping on a link or on a push-notification. The goal is to have the patient able to interact with telehealth in a manner that fits smoothly into their daily life. Patients can move easily from texting their children one moment to tapping on the text-message link telehealth visit the next. Users can pause their twitter use to tap a push-notification alerting them that their telehealth appointment is about to begin. Or, they can switch from emailing colleagues to starting their telehealth encounter by following a link sent to their inbox. And it all just works!  Nonetheless, if there are questions, as always, a friendly pMD employee is always ready and waiting to help with any issues that may arise. Want to learn more about pMD telehealth? Contact us! 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.


The year 2020 has had no shortage of culture-impacting events—that is for certain.  We’ve had heartbreaking celebrity deaths, devastating natural disasters, polarizing political happenings, monumental social justice movements, and of course—COVID-19.  So impactful the events of the first half of 2020 have been, that one could say that we have entered a whole new era, and in many ways, we definitely have.

The Impact of the COVID-19 Era


The impact of this new era is readily visible in our health care system.  In addition to dealing with the strain of caring for an influx of COVID-19 diagnosed patients, care must be provided for patients battling a plethora of other diagnoses but under severely restrictive safety protocols and operations. More than just adequately treating patients, it’s also ensuring safety for health professionals and also supporting the emotional needs of the patient families. All in all, perhaps more than anything, this era we’ve entered into has challenged the human connections and relationships that are essential to treating patients and saving lives.

When Telehealth Becomes a Necessity


Another impact of the COVID-19 era is that some conveniences became essential necessities.  Take telehealth, for example.  Over the past several years, organizations had been incorporating telehealth to some extent at an increasing but by no means blazing rate. In 2020, telehealth has become an absolute necessity—in some scenarios being the only way to continue seeing patients.  And given the volatility of this pandemic, telehealth will play a significant role in the foreseeable future.  The CMS regulations are changing, insurance reimbursements are adapting, and health care organizations are creating new workflows to provide care in this new era.  But a question worth keeping in mind through it all is how does a telehealth platform impact the human connections and relationships between health care teams, patients, and their loved ones.

Prioritizing the Human Connection


As part of my work here at pMD, almost daily I assist patients in getting oriented on our platform for their telehealth encounters on pMD. Most patients don’t need any assistance and never reach out to us, but often it’s the patients most in need of care who are the least tech-savvy, or who are very apprehensive about having their first video visit.  I have had personal phone calls with hundreds of elderly patients who have never downloaded an app before and just need a patient-caring presence to walk them through the process. I have had more calls than I can remember where I’ve conducted test video sessions with family members who ultimately were just really anxious about their loved one being set up properly to have their scheduled doctor visit.  The joy and appreciation that these people express when their concerns and anxieties about their telehealth software have been put at ease are very rewarding.  It’s also been quite entertaining at times, especially that moment when the video connects and we “celebrate” our success and put faces to our voices.

These moments I’ve shared with patients are because pMD’s commitment to providing the best customer support is not just for the health care organizations we partner with, it also extends to their patients.  The fact is, some people just need more technical support than others, and in this COVID era where telehealth is sometimes the only option, we continue to give our best toward helping every patient have a delightful telehealth experience with their health care providers.

Partnering with pMD


We here at pMD understand that adopting a patient-facing technology, such as a telehealth platform, inherently incorporates supporting those patients who need more technical support than others.  More importantly, we understand that a health organization implementing technology to facilitate patient care does not magically acquire the in-house capability to provide the premium technical support that some of the most in-need patients require. And in many cases, I’ve noticed that patients don’t seem to distinguish their experience with me from their experience with their doctor’s office as a whole. So accordingly, I value the interaction and treat it as such.  The takeaway being that choosing a technology platform is sometimes more than just choosing product features—it is engaging in a partnership that impacts the overall experience of all those involved. This is why we not only provide round-the-clock personal customer support, we continue to evolve our products and release new features with the delight of both providers and patients at the forefront.  

A telehealth platform that offers round-the-clock personal customer support, video/voice/text communication, availability on iOS/Android/Web, and many other features, does indeed check a lot of the boxes on a typical product requirements list.  But in my experience, it’s how all of the parts come together to create the greater whole of fostering human connections, and the partnership between health care organization and technology vendor, that is most invaluable in defining a telehealth platform.  And in an era where telehealth adoption has become an essential necessity, and quality human connections in health care are needed more than ever, I’m proud to be part of a team that prioritizes real partnership and continues to create offerings that put people first.

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.
Balancing parenting and support of health care practices and patients during COVID-19


It’s 8:00 AM, my phone is ringing, and I’m at serious risk of burning my 3-year-old’s pancakes. I’ve always been accustomed to providing phenomenal customer support, but now my most demanding customers are the toddlers sitting in front of me, awaiting their breakfast. I flip the pancake, pick up the phone, and tag in my husband. Another workday in our shelter-in-place world begins.


Business as usual while working from home



I’d like to start off by saying, I feel incredibly lucky that I am able to continue working from home, while others are facing employment difficulties or are putting themselves at a higher risk for exposure while clocking in. At pMD, we have been fortunate to offer services such as telemedicine, secure communication, and the ability for billers to access charges remotely, which has put us in the unique position of maintaining and growing our business. It is an honor to know that so many practices we work with are putting trust in our solutions to maintain exceptional standards of care for their patients, and this is a partnership we take seriously. 

What are we doing to support our practices during COVID-19?


Providing unparalleled customer support, to start. pMD offers 24/7/365 customer support. When you call pMD, you are going to talk to an actual pMD employee (and possibly their 3-year-old), someone who can answer your questions in real-time. And yes, that includes nights, weekends, holidays, and everything in between.

Remote Implementation of pMD Software for Health Care


Hands-on remote implementations for all pMD product lines are happening every day. Although COVID-19 has put many businesses on pause, we realize that our health care workers are on the front lines and are more important than ever. We are here to support our practices from the first introductory call to post-implementation and beyond.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition to pMD’s Telehealth Platform


Implementing and evolving our telehealth platform is something that has become increasingly important in the past couple of months. We realize most medical visits are now happening over a screen, and we want to ensure that our providers are still able to provide exceptional care to their patients. We are working with our practices, and their patients, to ensure a smooth transition to telehealth during these trying times and also making changes to our platform based on the feedback we receive.

Helping Practices Focus on Providing the Best Patient Care Possible


Here at pMD, our workspaces may have changed, and my coworkers may oftentimes be more immersed in the world of Sesame Street than telemedicine, but we continue to stay focused on the same things we have always strived for as a company: unparalleled support, innovation, and partnership. In this way, our practices can focus on what matters most to them: providing the best patient care possible.


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.





pMD has been making health care teams happy for over 20 years! It’s hard to believe, but it’s true that this company has been in business since the dawn of the Palm Pilot, Netscape Navigator, and Pocket PC. 

pMD, Gold Standard in Mobile Charge Capture, Evolves


20 years in the tech industry can be seen as an eternity when you consider most companies don’t last that long. You can’t make it without being able to adapt and evolve to serve your customers. pMD will continue to be known as the gold standard in mobile charge capture but our position in the market is slowly starting to expand into new territories. We’ve recognized that with our well-rounded product suite, we’re now able to serve both clinical and non-clinical professionals, connecting them with care teams as well as patients, ultimately linking them to the resources they need.

Care Navigation a Strong Focus


One area that we’re laser-focused on is that of care navigation. For those of you who may not be familiar, care navigation is “the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants in a patients’ care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health services”. Care navigation is an essential component in contemporary models of interdisciplinary primary care and is of increasing importance in the transition to Value-Based Care.

pMD Becomes Premier Care Navigation Platform


 Years ago, when pMD started research into care navigation, the question of ‘who performs this task?’ was of critical importance. In order to design the best care coordination platform on the market, we needed to know who our users were. This proved to be an interesting question as the answers varied greatly! Initially, our familiarity with the idea of a ‘patient navigator’ came from our work in the oncology setting. In this setting, having a resource like a patient navigator removed barriers to facilitating timely diagnosis and addressed inequalities that exist in cancer care. Our experience was that patient navigators were usually nurses with oncology nursing backgrounds, and our work with them led to the creation of pMD as a premiere care navigation platform for Oncology Care Model (OCM) participants.

While we’ve continued to work with Oncology practices and their nurse navigators, we’ve also been fortunate enough to expand the scope of our offering to support practices and health systems that work with other high-risk patient populations. More specifically, this includes populations that may be dealing with complex needs, multiple chronic diseases, immunodeficiency diseases, and behavioral health issues.

Care Navigation Models


What we’ve learned by working within these population domains, is that there are three distinct models when it comes to care navigation:

Nurse-Led:
- Oncology
- Complex Needs
- Multiple Chronic Diseases
- Immunodeficiency Diseases

Team-Based:
- Generally comprised of a patient navigator and other professionals (social workers, psychologist)
- Common in behavioral health
- Non-Professional: usually employed by a health system, provides general support to access services within a system, focus on reducing health disparity among specific or marginalized populations

Care Navigation Platform for All Working Toward Patient-Centered Care


The one thing that all care navigation models have in common is the fact that they are all working toward patient-centered care. Patients receive timely and appropriate guidance which empowers them to make better decisions and navigate through the services they need while improving their health literacy. Obviously, enabling patients is important but so is shared decision-making with a patient’s primary care provider. 80% of PCP’s in the U.S. are not confident in providing for the social needs of their patients such as transportation, housing, and access to nutritious food. When you realize that PCP’s are the central point of access to care coordination services for complex patients, you can start to see how a care navigation platform that is integrated across health settings can help the underserved.

Care navigation is obviously essential, and we’re looking forward to learning more about the differences between these models but most importantly, how they engage with the informal participants in a patient’s care. These informal participants are the ones who already provide significant care and support (family, friends, volunteers).

With the recent release of messaging with patients and upcoming enhancements to our secure messaging suite, we’re on the cusp of being able to support everyone who is contributing to the care navigation process - helping them communicate with one another, sharing care plans, and facilitating access to the resources they and their patients need most.


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.


Patient Compliance and Empowerment




There are a few universal truths in health care that affect every facility, office, and provider. One such truth is that inevitably patients will not remember or lose instructions that may be issued to them prior to or following a procedure or office visit. These instructions are often vital and have consequences for the well-being of the patient and the financial well-being of the practice. 

To be fair, I am just as guilty of this as anyone else and I have worked in health care for well over a decade! For those unaccustomed to the busy and oftentimes confusing health care universe, having to remember every piece of pre-op or post-visit instruction can be unrealistic and forgetting could lead to complications ranging from minor to severe. Currently, the standard is to provide patients with xerox copies of pre-op instructions a few days to even weeks before a planned procedure and then a post-op packet of a similar nature. Ultimately, these items may be lost or misplaced, leading to the issues of non-compliance and the under-utilization of resources that could be invaluable to the patient. 

With the potential to lose or misplace paper copies, what if there were a way to communicate this information to our patients that would stay with them everywhere they go? What if the patient had the ability to access and refer to this information at a moment's notice? The majority of the population in the United States heavily rely on a mobile device to not just make phone calls but to complete daily tasks ranging from surfing the web to doing their banking. These devices have become ubiquitous in our society and they are with us nearly everywhere we go and at all times.

The major issue that prevents the use of this tool in health care is that these devices are not secure and HIPAA laws prevent us from capitalizing on this opportunity. pMD saw this need and created the opportunity to offer patients a better source of information and access to resources through the HIPAA-compliant, free secure messaging application. 

Imagine the ability to send patients a PDF of all the pertinent instructions they need to know prior to or following a visit or procedure that flows straight to their fingertips! Within just a few seconds, a provider or staff member can invite a patient to communicate via the pMD app and provide information that is readily accessible. 

In addition, the use of patient chat routers in pMD gives the patient a level of empowerment to seek answers to questions that may otherwise go unasked. As technology advances, messaging is becoming more and more the preferred method of communication for a large percentage of our population. The ability to allow a patient to select a topic from a drop-down menu and type a question that is then automatically routed to the most appropriate individual at a practice seems simple on our side but can also be immensely empowering to a patient that might otherwise not seek help with an issue.

For example, giving a new mother the ability to reach out to lactation support or an oncology patient the ability to quickly pose a question to nutritional services! These are questions that often times will go unasked because the patient does not feel it rises to the level of importance for a phone call, but is still an ongoing source of stress and uncertainty for them. 

pMD’s patient chat routers are customizable, secure, and provide answers to the populations we are dedicated to serving in a way that protects health care providers' privacy as well.


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.





pMD’s products put the patient at the center of everything we do. When we pair innovative products with the creative, consultative approach we take for every customer inquiry and then in turn see the value to our patients, it is truly a remarkable feeling. One example below may best illustrate the impact that a pMD solution can have when care teams have a common platform to collaborate around patient care.  

A group of surgical residents caring for patients across various clinical teams needed a way to capture shared rounding notes on patients. In addition, they wanted to be able to communicate between teams using a secure messaging solution to share patient details, update care plans, and send pre- and post-operative photos.

Few technology solutions are available today to support patient care for residents. Many organizations currently use paper rounding notes that can be lost in the rush of the day, shared spreadsheets where only one resident can access the data at a time, or non-secure file-sharing programs. None of these options truly meet the residents’ needs. Since clunky workflows that are currently in place still get the job done, these old methods have continued into 2018.  

Resident groups tell us that better communication can improve patient outcomes. Residents using pMD Clinical Communication™ can send messages about patients and update each other on care plans. They have the ability to securely send images to a chief or attending physician for a second opinion. Additionally, patient data can be recorded at bedside right from their mobile phone and can include updating medications, allergies, code status, and care plans. These are all kept up-to-date, in real-time, and stored on a shared patient list visible to the whole group.

HIPAA-compliant, health care messaging that’s easy to use paired with pMD’s customizable platform for mobile data capture is exactly what these residents and administrators were looking for to bring their workflow into the twenty-first century.  

We know that each practice or group faces a unique set of challenges. That’s why we approach every opportunity as unique, invest time upfront to understand workflows that support patient care, and build solutions that account for those challenges. This is also why we here at pMD work closely with existing customers to implement new products and product features as those challenges evolve.

At pMD, we are customizing solutions to help teams deliver better patient care. To explore these solutions for your group or for more information on how pMD can support your unique practice or patient population, don’t hesitate to contact us.




 If you'd like to 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.