The pMD Blog

Welcome to the
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 | telehealth


Being more than just a public health issue, the pandemic has drastically changed our way of life - the way we work, learn, socially interact, and especially how health care is practiced and delivered. For most health care organizations, this event has been a shock, not to mention an unexpected spike in demand for virtual care.  With the massive response to the pandemic, of the groups who weren't already utilizing this technology, many had to rush to incorporate services to keep up with the growing demand of patients needing care from afar.  It has forced telehealth to the forefront, now proven to provide quality care virtually. Whether it’s a phone call, video, or messaging, telehealth can come in many forms that can cover a variety of mediums.

In a new survey conducted in October of 2020, the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition Telehealth Workgroup found that more than 75% of the almost 1600 physicians polled said that “ telehealth has allowed them to provide quality care for a variety of specialties, from COVID-19-related care to behavioral health.”

Unsurprisingly, telehealth has become a lifeline for both patients and providers alike. But with any new service or technology, it’s extremely important to measure both effectiveness and satisfaction, all the while making it accessible, time and cost-efficient, and compliant under federal regulations relating to patient care during COVID-19. A practice also needs to evaluate the impact telehealth might have. They need to understand the nature of these services, assess the needs of patients, and collect and analyze measures relevant to accurately measure the success of telehealth medicine. 

If a practice can optimize their systems to expand both the use of telehealth and their ability to measure, track, and report on the quality of telehealth, it could change the outcome of care for many patients. So how would a patient or a provider make sure they are using telehealth correctly and efficiently? These questions can be sought through a framework of measurable data identifying the level of accessibility, financial impacts, user experience, and effectiveness of a system. 

A great way to collect metrics is through the use of pre- and post-telehealth visit surveys for both patient and provider, and also Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQM).  eCQMs are measures specified in a standard electronic format that use data exported from electronic health records (EHR) and/or health (IT) systems to measure the quality of health care provided. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) use eCQMs in a variety of quality reporting and value-based purchasing programs. Each eCQM is documented in a special way defining its intent, populations included, logic, data elements, and value set identifiers. 

CMS, required by federal law,  provides a quality incentive program, rewarding providers one of two ways, one being a merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) and another through Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs).

In light of this year’s unparalleled events, telehealth is being pushed more now than ever, but with so many variables and deterrents, how does one solve problems and address barriers relating to virtual care? The pMD platform offers a great solution to meet CMS MIPS requirements with our point-of-care data capture which provides a robust dashboard to monitor performance metrics and offers real-time data for reporting purposes. Having the ability to enter these eCQMs at the point of care can help providers focus more on patients. Rather than spending hours on paperwork, providers can save time, improve on and assess the quality of treatment, and foster a goal of access-driven real-time data to help decrease medical errors.  When a provider seeks out a telehealth solution, it’s a no-brainer that pMD is a perfect solution, not just for now but for the future of patient care.

 

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.

Proof of vaccination

Amid this pandemic, vaccines are a topic that is at the forefront of health conversations and news. Everyone is looking forward to the day that a COVID-19 vaccine is available to help us start returning to “normal”. However, there’s another aspect that perhaps only some have considered: proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccination.

2021 May Be the Year More People Need Proof of Vaccination

Typically, the only situations requiring vaccination records are grade school and summer camp attendance, being a member of a sports team, military enlistment/deployment, and employment in the health and safety industries. However, 2021 could be the first year where average people need a way of presenting proof of vaccination in situations ranging from attending a game at a sports venue to boarding an airplane. There is even historical precedent of the U.S. government mandating vaccinations. Even employers have the legal right to enforce vaccination requirements for their employees. It’s not farfetched to imagine a future where employers make proof of COVID-19 vaccination a condition of new or even continued employment.

Empowering Patients with Easily Accessible Vaccination Records

This possibility fits neatly into the health care industry’s trend of encouraging patients to take a more active role in their own health care. One way patients can take a step towards that goal is to know if they are up-to-date on their vaccines and maintain an easily accessible vaccination record. The CDC’s vaccination schedule for adults is more involved than most would think, e.g. specifying repeated doses of vaccines like TDAP every 10 years. Personally, I would like to know I’m up-to-date on my vaccines without having to sift through old paper records or contact multiple health care providers such as pharmacies and general practitioners. 

Electronic Records a Better Solution than Paper-Based

Even in this day and age of technology, one of the CDC’s official recommendations for recording your vaccinations is to use this PDF. You’re instructed to print it out, take it with you every time you are vaccinated and have your provider fill it out. This inherently comes with all the downsides of a paper-based solution, ranging from the potential for human error when recording the information to damage or loss of the entire record itself. The vast majority of health care providers have incorporated some form of electronic health system for storing patient data, often with a patient portal. This gives patients the means to more easily access or even download copies of their health records. These copies can then be viewed at any time by using cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox or Apple’s iCloud Drive, which allow access to those files from whatever device is on hand. 

pMD Makes Requesting & Receiving Records Easy for Patient & Provider

pMD already has the capability to assist patients with retrieving their vaccination and health records. Patients can securely message their practice from the app and request for their records. Practices can then directly send health records to their patients in a HIPAA-compliant manner using the attachments feature in our patient messaging platform. Even obtaining access to the patient portal of providers’ electronic health record systems can be simplified through pMD via chat communication, allowing login information to be shared securely. With such an easy tool available to get a handle on your vaccination and health records, why not start today?

Related Articles:
Patient Compliance and Empowerment
Patient Communication Tools for Better Patient Care
Supporting Telehealth Patient Adoption & Experience, Any Way They Want It

 

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.

HIPAA-compliant tool

As the world continues to adapt to the changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care industry has ridden waves of changes brought on by “the new normal.” The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services acted quickly to remove barriers to providing the best care possible to patients by announcing that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) would not penalize the use of video conferencing tools that are not HIPAA-compliant during the pandemic. This notification went on to suggest that providers seek out HIPAA-compliant video communication products whenever possible, but the lifted restriction allowed providers to care for their patients utilizing their best judgment without red tape restricting their ability to improve patients’ lives. 

However, now that we are seven months into the pandemic, one of the questions I have been hearing more and more often is: “What makes pMD’s telehealth video platform HIPAA-compliant?”

Let’s get technical: HIPAA compliant video conferencing rules

While the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA) policy has several goals, the one that applies to video conferencing is to respect individuals' rights to privacy by requiring secure handling of individuals’ health data. Covered entities, such as health care providers, insurance providers, and clearinghouses, in addition to business associates, or another company that conducts business with a covered entity and comes into contact with patient information, are subject to the HIPAA legislation. 

Two major sections of the HIPAA legislation are The Privacy Rule and The Security Rule. The Privacy Rule covers the patients’ rights to privacy and appropriate processes for using and sharing PHI, or Protected Health Information, no matter the medium used. The Security Rule sets standards for electronic storage and transfer of PHI. These standards within The Security Rule include administrative actions, physical safeguards, and technical standards.

How pMD video chat meets HIPAA-compliance requirements

pMD’s telehealth video chat functionality (as well as all our other software products) meets the requirements set forth by the HIPAA legislation. We execute Business Associate Agreements (BAA) with our customers in order to provide the assurance that we will handle our clients’ PHI with the utmost care, to disclose how we manage and process PHI, to outline how we will safeguard the data, and to determine how we will help our clients comply with the Privacy Rule.

In addition, pMD utilizes the highest encryption standards across the industry in order to protect our customers. While other vendors shy away from storing clinical information and, in some cases, even advertise that they will not store any information on your behalf, pMD understands the clinical importance of having a fully integrated solution for telemedicine and instead builds robust technical systems to manage your patients’ health information.

pMD also understands that HIPAA-compliance is not necessarily enough to protect PHI, so we consistently go above and beyond the security measures required by legislation to ensure we serve as a trustworthy and reliable partner for our customers. Each year, pMD undergoes rigorous voluntary security audits to confirm that we meet the industry’s best practices.

Make the best telehealth decision for your practice

While pMD has taken strong steps on the security front, this is still only one of the critical factors that should go into evaluating telehealth vendors. pMD’s extraordinary customer service, our collaborative approach to implementing the best telehealth workflow regardless of your organization’s size, and the intense focus we place on the pMD user experience set us apart from the competition. All of this is backed by the organization you know and trust: a 20+ year player in the health care industry with thousands of happy customersIf you’d like to learn more about our telehealth solutions, contact us.

Related articles:
https://www.pmd.com/blog/post/your-future-revealed-telehealth-with-pmd
https://www.pmd.com/blog/post/supporting-patients-one-video-call-at-a-time
https://www.pmd.com/blog/post/pmd-the-most-valuable-player-in-telehealth
https://www.pmd.com/blog/post/pmd-helping-practices-and-patients-navigate-telehealth-when-they-need-it-most


To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registrysecure messagingteam and pro communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


As a member of pMD’s sales team, I have the distinct pleasure of speaking to a large number of individuals in the health care industry that are seeking better, more intuitive methods of communication amongst their internal team and with their patients. Most of the time, this outreach on behalf of the prospective client is done with this sole purpose in mind. However, these individuals are mostly surprised at the level of functionality and the communications risks that they can mitigate with a more robust health care communication solution product, like pMD,  that actually serves multiple purposes other than securely texting.

Today's world is a busy place and a premium is placed on our time. Efficiency is at the forefront of the majority of people's minds and any step we can take to make better use of our time is a must. Health care providers are often at the extreme end of this lifestyle. There is a lot to do, a lot of people depending on you and often there is not enough time in the day. 

Having a consolidated means of communicating with your team and managing your day can be a great time saver and allow for accurate and transparent communication amongst a care team. This is a reality for most of us in our personal lives. At this point in America, most of us have a smartphone that keeps us connected with the ones we love and a calendar to keep us focused on our day. However, in our professional lives, we are relegated to a team calendar in one location, printing our rounding or patient list from another, and sending vague, often cryptic text messages to our colleagues or office staff to communicate any number of items dealing with a patient's care. We have all done it and are equally guilty. It's the world we live in.

pMD Pro the Solution to Managing Healthcare Communication & More

pMD recognized this need to have patient, schedule, and communication management in one location and made it a reality in our pMD® Pro solution. Now, providers and their support staff have the ability to manage their rounding list, view their appointment schedule, and communicate contextually with their colleagues. Taking one step further, providers now have the ability to enter a shared clinical note for a patient on their rounding list. Since this is a shared note, all providers in the practice are able to view this note as well as make additional entries in the event of weekend on-call or cross-coverage. 

Private, Secure Communication Outside of Your Practice

All of this is very helpful and efficient being in one location, however, in today's world, the need to communicate securely goes outside the confines of our practices and colleagues. Due to the rise of COVID-19, the world has seen a drastic shift in many industries and health care businesses have been uniquely challenged because, pandemic or not, people still get sick and need to see their provider.  This has pushed telehealth from a minimally utilized novelty to an imperative must-have in providing care to our population. This brings to mind several questions: How do I do this securely? How do I keep my personal contact information private? What is the learning curve and success rate for my elderly population going to be?

All of these questions are valid and deserve to be addressed. Using pMD’s health care communication solution, the ability to communicate securely through chat, voice calls, and video calls is not limited to only members of your business. All of these methods of communication can be utilized with patients in a controlled fashion that does not expose your personal information as a provider. pMD’s solution from a patient's perspective is intuitive and simple. This is why it has been so effective for our current customers who have already deployed pMD telehealth to their patient population. If your patient has ever sent a text or received a FaceTime call from a friend or loved one, then they will be immediately successful in completing their virtual appointment with you.

Efficient, Automated Appointment Reminders

To bring the communication loop full circle, automated appointment reminders have been developed and put into place to confirm with patients in advance and drive adherence to appointment times. These reminders, once put into place, are automated and allow patients to confirm or cancel their appointment well in advance of the scheduled date. Having a confirmed cancellation gives the practice more time to either fill that open time slot or give the provider time back into their day, reducing wasted time. After all, efficiency with our time and diverting that newfound time towards more important tasks (like providing the best possible patient care) is the goal, right?


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.

Improved medical billing and payment system boosts patient satisfaction

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?

Providing Patients Cost Estimates & Easy Way to Pay 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.

Benefits of Providing Patient Care Cost Estimates

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.

Patients Prefer Modern Medical Billing & Payment Solutions

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.

pMD Charge Capture the First Step

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.

Related Articles:
What to Look For When Evaluating Charge Capture: Charge Lag Statistics
Health Care Communication: Electronic Vs. Paper Follow Up for Millennials


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.

Senior using mobile telemedicine

For those under 50 years old, using mobile technology is second nature and often the preferred method of communication and interaction for younger generations. Socializing, viewing content, and even activities such as banking are all regularly done via mobile devices. So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there was little concern that younger patients would struggle using mobile technology for virtual care. But what about seniors? For many, the first instinct is to assume that seniors would struggle to adapt to technology, especially as it relates to telemedicine.

According to a recent survey, 61 percent of Medicare-eligible seniors feel they have embraced technology more during the pandemic, with nearly half of correspondents reporting they have even begun binge-watching shows. In fact, a staggering 89 percent of those seniors reported having a smartphone, with only 11 percent using a smart mobile device only as a result of the pandemic. 

I bet you didn’t expect that! When we think of mobile technology, we have an inherent tendency to discount seniors, but...

How Are Seniors Adapting to Mobile Telemedicine? 

“But will my older patients be able or willing to download an app to see their doctor?” 

This is a great question and one that we’re asked regularly by medical practices. By now, most practices realize there is no putting telemedicine back in the box, but concern still lingers about how to care for their senior patients virtually.

Let’s take a look at the numbers. Of the nearly 130,000 patients over the age of 60 invited by their practice to use pMD, more than 75 percent have successfully downloaded and accessed the app on their phone or tablet. Of course, we have a secure backup option using the web for those patients who do not have access to or feel uncomfortable installing a mobile app, but overall, seniors have proven to have strongly embraced mobile for telemedicine. 

Why Mobile?

With telemedicine, the quality of the audio and visual directly impacts the quality of the care. Mobile devices today are built for just this type of communication with the highest quality, most reliable cameras and speakers. This is especially important for senior patients with poor hearing and/or sight. These devices also work on both wifi and cellular service, doubling the chances of having a clear, effective telehealth visit.

Support for Seniors is Key

There’s no sugar coating it, seniors are at a much higher risk when leaving their homes during the current health crisis.

“My husband has severe heart and lung issues,” says Jan, the wife of a patient using pMD for virtual visits. “If he gets this bug it will be fatal, so we feel much relieved to be able to talk to and see the doctor without the challenges of getting him out of the house and lifting the wheelchair as well as the exposure. What pMD does for us is literally helping to save my husband's life. This service [pMD] is such a blessing for us, ” continues Jan. 

We’re living in a scary time right now, one that is filled with an immense amount of rapid change. If we just throw technology at people, especially seniors, to which mobile is not as intuitive, then of course you will be met with angst, confusion, and resistance. But, if we are able to provide adequate customer support to alleviate those stresses, you’ll find patients are much more open to using new technologies. 

This is why at pMD we place a strong emphasis on providing unparalleled customer support to all of our users.


Sometimes we just need someone to walk us through it!

Related Articles:
Supporting Telehealth Patient Adoption & Experience, Any Way They Want It
Telemedicine Vendors & Human Connections, Navigating the COVID-19 Era


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 arts have been a part of western and eastern medicine since history started being recorded. We see this looking back at prominent Greek philosophers. Hippocrates once said, “Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.” Hippocrates supported the diagnosing and treating of the “whole” person, an approach that implies the interrelationship of soul and body. This is a foundational concept to modern medicine and gets to the true route of health care and healing. My father, a CMO/OBGYN practicing at St. Vincent's in Indianapolis, has always told me, “As providers, we can’t cure everyone but we can help everyone heal.”

Healing with Integrative Medicine


Today, over half of all medical schools in the U.S. require some form of training in the humanities to become a doctor. Integrative medicine is becoming more and more mainstream across America. “Integrative medicine is the treatment of patients through spiritual, emotional, mental, and environmental in addition to physical means.” Art, music, dance, yoga, and support groups are just some of the ways that the art world is merging into the medical world.

There is an emotional and morale component to all of this. How can the arts and humanities change the quality of life of patients and even doctors? During my junior year of college, I created a documentary called “Art as Medicine” where I featured three doctors and presented them with the question: how do healers heal? I was able to show the power that art gives healers so they can better heal others. The main point of this documentary is that you aren’t able to take care of others to the best of your ability if you can’t take care of yourself. 

Art and Self-Care


This is true for any type of job. You can’t do a job well if you, yourself, are unwell. Having a healthy work-life balance is needed for everyone to operate at their best. Everyone needs an avocation in addition to their vocation. Art is subjective and wide. Art for you could be exercise, cooking, or gardening. The most important aspect is that you have something else to disconnect you from the everyday stress of work. 

Culture of Empathy and Humanism


As a new employee of pMD, I am happy to confirm that pMD understands the importance of taking care of oneself. Giving employees a flexible schedule, having bonding activities, and showing a real interest and respect in each other's hobbies and goals outside of work creates a culture where people want to give 100%. 

At pMD, we believe our team is an essential component of the healing process. Whether that's making sure a provider has all the tools necessary to work seamlessly or helping a patient get ready for a telehealth appointment, our team is dedicated to helping people. My boss always speaks about trying to achieve the impossible, how a tiny little company could drastically change the whole health care industry. The main goal of pMD is to help providers and patients make health care easier and intuitive. At pMD, we not only focus on the technical side, (which we happen to be quite good at) but we also truly care about the empathetic and humanistic aspects of each of our providers and patients. As a newcomer to this company and industry, I believe that this level of care starts internally and is one of our biggest differentiators from other software vendors. 

In short, take time for yourself. It will ultimately make you happier and more productive in all areas of your life.

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.


 

When the pandemic hit this year, my team struggled to become telemedicine software experts. We still struggle with this.” 

I thought downloading a trial version was great. But after hours of attempting to figure it out on my own, I still don’t have a system that meets my needs.”  

We liked the product, but we had to hire employees just to help support it.

All too often, medical technology companies offer software separately from supportive services, like product customization, best practice implementation, systems integration, and product support. This is because unlinking services from a product into discrete offerings makes it easier for that company to account for internal costs. But what’s easier for the vendor adds complexity for the customer to an already complex decision-making process.  

This is the strategy of a vendor. If you look at an invoice or pricing proposal today and see unbundled products and services, that means you’ve likely hired a vendor. And in practical terms, it means that when you have a new problem to solve, you’re either on your own or you’re likely going to pay more money. In financially stressed times like these, you simply can’t afford to invest another cent with a vendor.   

Partnerships are about value creation


Good partners, as opposed to vendors, understand that a successful relationship requires that a combination of services be delivered from a team of experts in order to maximize the value created. pMD's products are backed by some of the highest quality services in the industry. But you won’t see a separate quote for those.  

“pMD acts as an extension of each practice from day one. I’ve seen firsthand their effort to understand the needs of each practice stakeholder and identify workflow improvements down to the individual user level. Each time the result is the same; a finely-tuned set of pMD solutions optimized to deliver value for that team,” says Ibrahim Ali, Associate Director of Product Management for McKesson, The US Oncology Network. 

Since pMD’s corporate strategy is not driven by short-term investors looking to maximize profitability and make a quick exit, pMD prefers to invest in helping to solve your complex issues without a new contract wherever possible. We know that a sustainable partnership is based on mutual successes. Mr. Ali went on to add, “pMD’s investment in understanding our practices and their goals has built our trust in this partnership over the past several years. Leveraging this relationship will be key as we navigate the future of community oncology care together.”  

pMD releases of HIPAA-compliant secure messaging, telehealth, and automated patient appointment reminders to the existing pMD® Charge Capture™ platform at no additional cost were huge value additions for care teams. Customers received those new features paired with experienced pMD workflow experts to deliver the most value possible. No new contracts discussed. No new money requested. These are just a few examples of value-added feature additions that pMD partners have enjoyed over the past years.  

Good partners invest to understand industry trends from industry experts


“Partnerships, like the one between pMD and MedAxiom, are critical to advancing innovation and best practices in the cardiovascular industry,” said Joe Sasson, Executive Vice President at MedAxiom, an American College of Cardiology company.

Anticipating the future needs of specialists, patients, or the industry as a whole is crucial given the development and testing of a new feature can take months. Thus consistently investing in strategic industry partnerships means when a need strikes that industry, a partner like pMD is there waiting with a tested solution. This was very much the case in 2019 when pMD built secure video for telemedicine and added it to our platform for free, months before the industry urgently needed it in 2020.

Mr. Sasson went on to say, “Advancing health care takes place through these types of partnerships, and they are essential to our philosophy of creating bi-directional education between industry and CV programs as a means of creating value through innovation.”

The cost of not partnering with pMD is simply too high


In today’s environment, where every team is tasked with doing more with less, you can’t afford to waste resources on a poorly performing vendor relationship. Fire your vendors. And then click here to discover more about all of the value that a pMD partnership delivers.

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.



During this time, where there is so much focus on our physical health, it is essential to not forget about our mental health. With all the changes and challenges that we have to overcome with this pandemic, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed. Social distancing can make this worse and make everyone feel more alone. 


Mental health has been seen as a taboo topic to discuss, but it is time to remove the stigma. An estimated 44 million adults in the U.S. are living with a mental illness and studies have shown that poor mental health negatively affects our physical health. In the past, behavioral health has been an afterthought, however, providers have started to address behavioral health to improve overall health. Health care agencies like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have been working to integrate behavioral and physical health care services by making policies that focus on collaborative care and eliminate the gaps in care. We can also use technology to make behavioral and mental health treatments more accessible and integrated into our health care system. 

Typically, most patients will seek to visit a doctor if they are experiencing a cough or chest pains. Despite interest from patients, there are still barriers limiting patients from accessing mental health treatments. These barriers include a limited number of accessible mental health clinics, logistics of finding a mental health professional who is likely to accept their insurance, and social stigma. Also, patients in rural areas might avoid seeking mental health treatment for fear of being seen by another member of the community. These barriers make it difficult for patients to navigate their health care roadmap in search of the appropriate treatments. But what if telehealth could help? 

TECHNOLOGY AND MENTAL HEALTH 


Four out of five Americans own a smartphone, and there are over 20,000 apps on the market for mental health. Typically, smartphones are associated with creating more mental health issues, but we have the opportunity to turn smartphones into pocket therapists and mental health oases. COVID-19 has pushed telehealth into the limelight, and it looks like it is here to stay. Research has shown that 59% of patients are more likely to use telehealth services now than previously. Why is that?

Patients enjoy being able to visit with their doctor without the hassle of making the trip to the clinic or office. Telehealth has the opportunity to remove barriers for patients receiving treatments for their mental health, like giving patients more options for providers and making treatment more accessible for patients in more rural areas. Telehealth also gives patients access to a wide variety of treatments outside of traditional therapy. Patients who would feel uncomfortable starting therapy in person might be more open to seeing a therapist in the privacy of their own home. Telehealth therapy also reduces patient travel time and other logistical issues. The benefits of telehealth also extend to the providers themselves by reducing their practice's operating costs and overhead expenses.

pMD’S TELEHEALTH SOLUTION


pMD provides unparalleled customer support and strives to improve both patients’ and providers’ lives. pMD’s clinical communication and care navigation platforms can help connect patients to providers and ensure patients are being treated holistically. pMD can help customize a solution for your practice to better serve your patients’ telehealth needs.

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.