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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 Information






The vision and realization of interoperability in health care IT has been evolving and manifesting - slowly - over many years. Significant progress has been made in technology, health care policy, and the mindsets of the people and parties involved. In 2019, we are witnessing an invigoration around the topic, and here at pMD, we are excited to be a part of it.

New Rules Surrounding Interoperability in Health Care IT

In February of this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed new rules surrounding interoperability, which aim to improve electronic access to health information. The rules will require the industry to implement standardized application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable electronic health records (EHRs) and other health care technologies to integrate and transfer electronic health information (EHI) between them by 2020. The rules also require that patient electronic access to this EHI be made available at no cost. These rules are not only directed at providers, but also payers, who must make their data available to patients and Health Information Exchanges.

This is great news! But before we drink the newest flavor of interoperability Kool-Aid, let us be aware that the call for patients’ access to their medical record has been sounding for many years. Back in the early 1970s, the legendary Dr. Larry Weed - the “father” of the EMR - said prophetically, “The patient must have a copy of his own record. He must be involved with organizing and recording the variables so that the course of his own data on disease and treatment will slowly reveal to him what the best care for him should be.” — Dr. Lawrence Weed, “Your Health Care and How to Manage It.” Dr. Weed was a tremendous force in evolving health care technology to where it is today. However, his work took decades to get to a point that, unfortunately, feels like a starting line today.

Speaking of decades, it has been 10 years since President Obama introduced the Health Information Trust Alliance (HITRUST) Act of 2009, which, along with “meaningful use” incentives of Obama Care, propelled the industry toward the use of EHRs by laying the framework for widespread, secure use of modern interoperability standards such as HL7, FHIR, and Continua. This often overlooked aspect of the HITRUST Act has been a tremendous catalyst to leverage technology for better patient outcomes.

Barriers to Progress in Interoperability & Data Openness

Although ideas of interoperability and openness have circulated for many years, progress in these areas has been relatively slow and not without obstacles. In his keynote lecture at the 2016 Connected Health Symposium, Dr. Harlan Krumholz, MD, SM (Professor of Medicine and Director for Outcomes Research and Evaluation at Yale), describes one such barrier: the perceived conflict between individual business interests and the interests of the industry at large. In short, some data holders (i.e. hospital systems, payers, pharmaceuticals, software vendors) feel that it is to their competitive advantage to restrict access to the data in their possession and, in doing so, have presented major challenges to using all available resources to provide the best possible patient care.

Modern Technologies Attract Major Tech Players Supporting Data Openness

Luckily, corporate bureaucracy has not completely impeded the advancement of technologies that will enable new ways to deliver health care. The evolution of HL7 FHIR and other internet standards are laying the foundation for fast, secure open APIs and web services, key components to creating a patient-centric system in which providers can focus on what they do best - guide patients to better health outcomes. These modern technologies have drawn the attention of many big time technology players to health care (i.e. Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce, Amazon, Google), further supporting the drive for data openness.

Innovation & Cooperation in a New Era of Health Care Technology - It's Exciting!

This renewed spirit of cooperation is certainly needed as we continue to push for a health care world that is both patient-centric and provider-friendly. It is sweet music to our ears at pMD, where we have many years of experience integrating with different health systems and software vendors across the country. We’ve encountered our fair share of roadblocks along the way, but those obstacles pale in comparison to the many successes we've had in supporting doctors to improve patient care while streamlining business operations.

2019 may indeed be a milestone year due to a perfect storm of policy change, technology maturation, and the expectations of both patients and providers in regards to technology. The demand and opportunity for change at this scale is much bigger than any one company, and I'm personally very excited about what we (as a collective industry) can do for both providers and patients as we all continue to innovate and cooperate in this new era of health care technology.

Find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our MIPS registry, charge capture, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.
We released our secure text messaging product last week and our secure messaging video is finally complete! In this video we exemplify the importance of secure messaging and the consequences associated with underestimating its relevance.

It has been a few months since the pMD team and Belljar first started brainstorming ideas for the video. We had many long discussions as to what we wanted it to look like, what we wanted it to sound like, and even what we wanted it to feel like. There was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that went into this messaging video, but good tears, not bad ones.

Throughout our creation process, there were plenty of ideas that led to hours of meetings and edits. At one point in our process, we had a lengthy conversation about our character, Dr. Fast Thumbs’, interaction with his patient.

There were R-rated variations of the interaction showing the patient in a vulnerable position that made any woman and most men who saw it cringe. We decided that we needed to tone it a down and were presented with a new version. But with the new G-rated version, we barely saw the patient, and there wasn’t much context as to the “sensitive patient information” that was being shared by Dr. Fast Thumbs. After another discussion, we finalized the scene somewhere between a PG and PG-13 rating, showing the patient head on, but above the patient's knees.

Whether it was the style of background music or the actions of our characters, we broke down each others’ ideas and created a cohesive and comprehensive story that explains what secure messaging means for health care practices. Not everyone may understand the significance of secure messaging, but to people in the medical field, they either know how serious it is, or they will after watching our segment. By sending unencrypted messages, you open yourself up to the possibilities of fines, lawsuits, and even jail time.

We hope that our secure text messaging video helps the medical world understand why encryption and HIPAA compliance is important. Without further ado, enjoy the video!

One of the best parts about making a video is letting your creativity roam free. We worked with our amazing partners at Belljar to come up with the perfect script and accompanying graphics for our video.

If you have read our previous posts, you already know about secure messaging and why it’s important, so let me tell you about our story. Our video starts with a closeup of Dr. Mustachio. He’s working with a patient, performing an exam, and sending a message to a colleague using pMD Messaging. Shortly after, we cut to Dr. Fast Thumbs. Dr. Fast Thumbs is a physician, just like Dr. Mustachio, except he doesn’t use pMD Messaging. Instead, he uses unencrypted text messaging, and doesn’t realize the consequences associated with it.

Dr. Fast Thumb’s message gets intercepted, leaving his patient’s information in the wrong hands. HIPAA does not approve of his carelessness and he is forced to pay hefty fines and even serve up to 10 years in prison.

I want to highlight a few moments in creating our boards and script in order to give you a glimpse into our creative process. When we started thinking about how our video would work, our friends at Belljar mocked-up a few slides in order to get the look and feel just right. The slides are hand drawn in order to quickly and efficiently get an idea of how we were going to visually tell our story. I have included a few slides and pieces of the script below:


“Dr. Mustachio uses pMD Messaging to send and receive sensitive patient information in real time.”


“This is Dr. Fast Thumbs’ patient. She has a highly personal health matter she would prefer to keep private.”


“Unencrypted texts can have major consequences, Dr. Fast Thumbs.”

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our secure messaging video. In next week’s post, we’ll let you have a listen to our script, read by myself and Adam Kenney.
As a patient, you should be able to assume that your private health information is safe and guarded from the outside world. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. Unknowingly, many physicians are using unsecured, unencrypted methods of messaging that leave your personal matters a little less private. These methods include, but are not limited to, text messaging, and even email.

As Jen mentioned in our last post, apart from your data floating around, your doctor could be fined thousands, or even millions of dollars for sending unsecured information! Imagine you are at the hospital with a broken arm. You have just sat down to look at your x-ray and your doctor decides that he wants to send it to your primary care physician. So, the doctor takes out his phone, takes a picture of the x-ray, and sends it over. That could cost your doctor upwards of $50,000 for one text! There has to be a better way to do this, and there is.

At pMD, we have found a way to solve this problem. We have created pMD Messaging, a secure, encrypted, HIPAA compliant messaging platform that physicians and patients can rely on. Other than its ease of use, one of the many features that makes our secure messaging so special is its integration into our charge capture solution (learn more). Having messaging directly incorporated into the software limits the amount of app switching and allows for quick access to patient records. Instead of two separate applications, you can find the patient and compose your message in the same instance. This is especially important for specialists whose time is very precious when it comes to patients. Specialists need to send and receive information about their patients very quickly, making an app that incorporates both messaging and charge capture the perfect match. Better yet, you can message physicians outside of your practice too!

To explain the importance of secure messaging, we are in the process of creating a video featuring our very own Doctor Mustachio and a new character named Doctor Fast Thumbs. In making this video, we are looking to show a serious situation with a humorous tone. Engaging an audience can be a very difficult task, especially with a topic that can be bland and boring. Over the next few weeks, we'll be posting updates on our progress and giving you a glimpse into the world of animated, video creation, and what it means to use secure messaging.