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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 | Patient Communication






Telehealth is not a new concept, but amid the recent public health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, it has catapulted to the top of most practices’ priority list. During this pandemic, it is essential to stay informed and know what free resources are available to your practice to help slow the spread of the virus while continuing to provide patients with a high level of care and reassurance. “The use of telemedicine is going to be critical for management of this pandemic,” said Dr. Stephen Parodi, an infectious disease specialist and executive with The Permanente Medical Group, the doctors’ group associated with Kaiser Permanente. 

Telemedicine a Good, Safe Option for COVID-19 Screening & Patient Care

When possible, using virtual visits provides a safe option for care, while helping contain the spread of the infection at hospitals, clinics, and medical offices. Implementing or expanding an existing telehealth strategy will enable health care organizations to safely screen and treat patients for coronavirus. If patients can receive virtual guidance to help know when they need to be seen or tested, we can limit the number of people who show up unannounced at the emergency room or doctor’s office as well as avoid crowded waiting rooms and potential infection. Good communication with patients is key to keeping the worried as calm as possible and away from clinical care so that practices can steer the most at risk to the proper treatment.

Updates To Telehealth Billing for Services During Pandemic

As part of an $8.3 billion emergency funding measure, the government has granted the Department of Human Health and Services (HHS) the ability to loosen restrictions on the use of telemedicine by broadening the originating requirements and providing a nationwide waiver during this emergency. CMS, state Medicaid agencies, and commercial insurers are taking steps to expand telehealth coverage and reimbursement. To improve access to care, CMS announced that during this crisis, Medicare will pay for telehealth services (conducted via video) regardless of the originating site. Private health insurers, including Aetna, Cigna, Humana, and United Healthcare, have also agreed to cover telehealth visits for the next 90 days in some states. Reimbursement policies vary from state to state, so practices are encouraged to confirm local guidelines. 

For more information, please see CMS’s frequently asked questions for health care providers and fact sheet for telehealth services. You can also find additional information regarding new telehealth rules and procedure codes for testing on the American Academy of Family Physicians website. 

pMD’s Free Telehealth Tools

pMD® Secure Messaging™ provides a secure, HIPAA compliant free telemedicine platform solution that allows practices to connect, triage, and follow up with patients through secure, HIPAA-compliant text, video, and voice calling. You can easily invite patients to download the application at no cost to facilitate timely communication when it matters most:

          * provide health safety guidelines and recommendations
          * share important practice updates and announcements
          * outreach to your most vulnerable patient population
          * perform telehealth visits with patients advised not to leave their homes

For help setting up patient communication or to contact pMD customer support, please give us a call at 800-587-4989 x1 or email support@pmd.com. 

Stay safe, everyone!


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.




Each word we speak drips with additional data beyond the dictionary definitions of what we say. In fact, how we say something is often more important than what was communicated. Tone, inflection, pitch, and pronunciation work together to deliver a message that makes up our distinct voices. To convey this same information in writing takes time - something health care providers are often short of. 

Secure Calling with pMD App is Quick & Compliant


In many cases, a provider needs to send a colleague a quick message, but the act of typing out the message itself via text can take longer, especially with complex medical jargon, so providers may resort to voice-based communication. This motivation inspired us to add voice calling to the pMD application. Now, you can immediately get hold of your colleagues via HIPAA-compliant, secure voice calling, eliminating many of the barriers we see in strictly text-based communication. Even if you don’t have a colleague’s cell phone number, pMD community members can be contacted via a secure VoIP call.

But what if you know your colleague is in surgery or in front of a patient? That’s why we added voice memos to the pMD communication suite.

Add the Convenience of Sending Voice Memos


I like to think of voice memos as “guaranteed voicemail.” You save even more time by taking the perks of asynchronous communication found in text messaging and adding the benefits above of voice. When you’re on the go, you can shoot over a voice clip to any of your colleagues and when they are available to respond, they can send either voice or text - whichever is more convenient - back to you!

Keeping Provider Phone Numbers Private & Other Perks


In addition to these general benefits of voice, the voice features in pMD offer additional perks tailored to health care providers and staff. For example, providers can call patients without exposing their cell phone numbers or themselves to additional liability from a 2 am phone call. Patients reaching back out to a provider can be triaged and directed to the appropriate resources via pMD’s Contact Practice feature without disturbing off-duty providers or staff. 

pMD Communication Tools Rapidly Breaks Down Barriers in Health Care


pMD’s suite of communication tools has rapidly broken down barriers in health care to make sure that urgent information can be relayed to those that need to know. With the addition of voice calling and voice memos, that suite now allows users to include all the nuance that hearing something spoken provides as well as the speed of communication that we’re accustomed to. Better communication tools break down barriers to effective care, making doctors, supporting staff, and their patients happy.


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.


PATIENT COMMUNICATION TOOLS FOR BETTER PATIENT CARE


These days, being a patient comes with a slew of responsibilities: staying on top of your medical history, knowing which medications to take and when, calling in to make an appointment and actually remembering said appointment, following post-op or post-discharge instructions, and the list goes on.

Even with the help of supportive medical staff and a patient portal, patients still struggle to navigate through what is often a confusing health care environment. Why is that?

Patient Portals Can Slow Communication


Sometimes patient portals can introduce barriers that often slow the communication process. For instance, a majority aren’t mobile, forcing patients and doctors to log in from a computer. Then, once a message is sent, there’s usually a delay in response because let’s be honest, what medical professional is at their computer 24/7 to receive and subsequently reply to messages?

Advanced Mobile Patient Communication Tools Supplement Portal


Of course, we here at pMD understand the need for patient portals and the robust information they house. With pMD’s updates to its secure messaging platform, we give care teams more advanced messaging functionality that supports a variety of patient communication scenarios while supplementing your practice’s patient portal. These communication tools also empower patients to overcome barriers that prevent them from being involved in their own health care.

Patients can reach out to their practice on their mobile device via pMD® Secure Messaging™, saving them from several failed login attempts in the portal or being forced to listen to smooth jazz on loop while on hold. Let’s say a patient is experiencing headaches and insomnia that may be related to their newly prescribed medication. The patient sends a message to the practice in pMD, the message gets routed to the Medical Assistant (MA), who then promptly discusses with the doctor. The MA responds back immediately in a group message that includes the doctor and the patient letting the patient know they can stop taking the medication. After the patient says thanks and bye, the MA is able to then end the conversation and close the message thread. The patient can still reach back out in the future by starting the process again. This feature gives practices and patients a seamless and efficient way to connect about important and time-sensitive matters such as appointment scheduling, test results, and urgent health-related questions without the hold music or delayed emails.

Group Chat Connects Care Team & Patient in Unified Message Thread


With the ability to send group chats, multiple users in a practice are able to communicate with a patient in a single, secure conversation. Everyone involved in the patient’s care, such as schedulers, nurses, and specialists, including the patient, can connect on one unified message thread for complete transparency. 

Compliant, Real-Time Face-To-Face Video Calling & In-App Voice Calls


In addition to messaging, providers can also securely communicate with patients and colleagues through face-to-face video calling or in-app voice calling. By giving users a mobile option for video calling and also a way to call through the app, health care professionals are able to foster real-time communication with patients, keeping their care coordinated and compliant. 

Physician Says Using pMD Secure Messaging App a "Great Decision"


“We started using pMD® Secure Messaging™ because we needed a HIPAA-compliant way to communicate with our patients,” said Dr. Stacey Marquee. “It’s been a great decision so far! We’re able to message with our patients about clinical information, medications, appointment cancellations, and for general check-in. Adoption across our staff and patients is high because the app is simple to download and very easy to use.”

Let’s face it; life happens. Patients are real people who try to balance busy work schedules and their personal lives while figuring out the health care landscape all at once. With pMD’s communication tools, patients have a convenient way of engaging with their care teams and reducing miscommunication and confusion. For practices, being able to fast-track communication with their patients saves support staff more time and reduces phone volume by 12%.

Patients Prefer Practices using pMD App, a “Real Anxiety Reducer”


“Using the pMD app was a real anxiety reducer,” says one patient. “If you have a question and something’s not right, you can get an answer through the pMD app. It’s immediate. You feel closer to the doctor and staff. It’s more personal. I would prefer practices that use this type of technology!”

Improving patient engagement and continuity of care is the first step in promoting positive patient outcomes. Better communication tools mean patients are more involved in their care, making them happier and, more importantly, healthier.


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.