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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 | Telemedicine

Vendors that are strategic partners

 

In this day and age, so much of what traditionally needed to be done in person can not only be done virtually but has become the standard in many cases. Whether it’s school, work, or even just catching up with family and friends, it seems like almost everything we can think of can be done remotely.

A generation made for telehealth


Although, as a society we’ve been slowly moving towards having more regular virtual interactions for a while, this phenomenon has been greatly accelerated by the recent pandemic, leading to an increase in the usage of telemedicine specifically. While this represented a monumental shift in how care is delivered, especially for older generations, it was far less of a foreign concept for Generation Z (Gen Z), who were essentially born with a smartphone in hand and have never known life without the internet. Gen Z, which are those born between 1995 and 2012, is expected to account for an estimated 61 million new employees in the global workforce in the next decade, and for them, Telehealth isn’t something they are hoping will just pass with the pandemic. 

Is the office visit dead?


Hold on, let’s not go that far! There are certainly plenty of instances where a telehealth visit with a doctor just won’t cut it. But, ask your average 18-25-year-old if they have a choice to physically go into a doctor's office or connect with them virtually, which would they choose? Chances are they won’t be so hesitant to take the virtual option. In fact, according to a recent study,  41% of Gen Z would actually prefer receiving their health care consultations digitally rather than in person, by far the most of any generation. At the end of the day, telemedicine provides both patients and providers increased flexibility and efficiency, both of which are coveted highly by Gen Z. 

What about privacy?


Since they’re already so used to having so many of their daily interactions online, Gen Z tends to hold a much different view about digital data privacy compared to older generations. When it comes to where they find and consume their information, a majority of Gen Z rely on a variety of different sources such as their cell phones, social media, and YouTube channels to stay informed on the subjects of interest to them. Most of these platforms require their users to share their personal information online, which is one of the main reasons why Gen Z feels more comfortable providing their data over the Internet. Because of this, many of the individuals from the younger generation seem to be much more willing to share their personal health information online compared to older generations if there is a clear benefit to them. With the increase in social distancing measures due to the pandemic and the ability to fit their consultation within their busy school schedules, the younger generation feels much more comfortable using telemedicine because it suits their personal lifestyles better.

Why should we continue to embrace telehealth?


At the end of the day, Gen Z value having access to everything they need right at their fingertips. By making it easier for them to seek medical advice through telemedicine, we can encourage more Gen-Zers to feel comfortable speaking up whenever they’re dealing with any health-related issues and encourage them to meet with medical professionals regularly. Even though more serious procedures may still require them to visit a doctor in person, there’s still a benefit in giving them the option to have their initial conversations virtually. Ultimately, it’ll be able to make their lives easier and make it more convenient for them to seek medical attention when needed.

If you are interested in learning more about pMD’s telehealth tools and services, please contact us here or give us a call at 800-587-4989 x2. We’d love to hear from you!

Related Articles:

The Case for Mobile Based Telehealth
Long-Term Telehealth Workflow Best Practices
Measuring the Impact of Telehealth: What to Measure, Why & How


To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registry, billing services, telehealth, secure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.

 


Doctors spend so much of their time on the go, moving from place to place caring for patients. They see twenty patients per day on average, spending most of their extra time doing paperwork. We’ve talked a lot about efficiency as it relates to using technology to reduce administrative burden and complexity, to make time for what really matters most — your patients. But how can you make sure that the time spent with patients is being used to its full advantage? This is where effective communication is essential.



The Very Different Impressions of Doctor-Patient Communication


Studies have shown that medical professionals often overestimate their abilities to convey information clearly. The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery surveyed orthopedic surgeons after they met with patients, and while 75% of them believed they had communicated satisfactorily, when their patients were asked how they’d done, only 21% reported that their doctors had communicated well with them. That’s quite a significant delta and shows that two people can very often leave a conversation with completely different impressions of how it went.


There are a few reasons this can happen. Aside from potentially being in a hurry, dealing with as many patients as they do, physician burnout can lead to an increased detachment, which may cause doctors to misinterpret cues. It can be easy to stop treating patients as individuals with different needs and styles of communication.



Views on the Importance of Honest Communication Have Changed


While for much of the 20th century it was a common belief that giving patients hope and keeping them happy was more important than honesty, the modern schools of thought disagree completely. Patients who trust their doctors are more likely to follow their instructions, as well as provide them with the information they need to make an accurate diagnosis or treatment plan. Likewise, it is now understood that having a sense of understanding and control of your circumstances is much more beneficial to a patient than simply being comforted. 


Patients are more educated than ever before, and due to the ease and convenience of the Internet, they have resources at their disposal to form opinions and questions about their own health care. To get the most out of the time spent with patients, it’s imperative to treat the interaction as a mutually beneficial relationship.



Solutions for Improving Communication with Patients


Some proposed solutions include AIDET® Five Fundamentals of Patient Communication and The RESPECT Model. While slightly different approaches, they both have the same goal: ensuring that physicians are using the best communication skills they have at their disposal and fostering a sense of trust with their patients. It’s important to remember that each patient is an individual with their own set of needs that must be acknowledged and addressed.


If you are interested in learning more about pMD’s HIPAA-compliant secure communication and telehealth tools, please contact us here or give us a call at 800-587-4989 x2. We’d love to hear from you!


 

To find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our charge capture and MIPS registry, billing services, telehealthsecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.

Related Articles:

Patient Communication Tools for Better Patient Care
Healthcare Communication Solutions - pMD Much More Than Secure Messaging
Physician Burnout & How pMD Can Help

Can you recall the glorious feeling of getting immersed in the groove of an extra productive working session, or reading the best book that you just can’t put down, only to glance up for a quick second to check the clock and realize you're 20 minutes late for your next meeting, or dinner, or an appointment?

Generally, outside of the unpleasant initial shock of realizing how much time has passed in your trance, the effects of being late are usually minimal and easily remedied. 

But this isn’t always the case with certain commitments. Take doctor’s appointments, for example. Missing an appointment can not only mean that you have to wait another week or two to see your health care provider, but it can also result in dreaded no-show fees. With many in-person appointments being moved to telehealth visits, it can be even more difficult to make sure you’re on-time for your medical appointments when you’re not physically having to go into a doctor's office.

In my personal experience, my health care providers have used telemedicine systems that require me to log into a website or keep track of a link sent days in advance that I would have to click on at the time of my visit. There have been plenty of times I’ve looked up at the clock and realized I’m 15 minutes late to a telehealth visit and have to scramble quickly to find my login or video link, all while keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t get a no-show fee or have to reschedule. Even if I do make it to my appointment on time, I find that my internet connection might not be the best at my house, or the camera on my computer doesn’t always have the quality I’d like. 

With pMD’s telehealth solution, our team designed our product a little differently with patients and ease-of-use as top of mind. There’s no need to log into a website or search emails for a link that may have been sent days in advance. Our mobile app is easy to download on the patient’s phone, just like any other app, except that it’s encrypted, secure, and HIPAA-compliant. At the time of the appointment, the provider initiates a call to the patient through the secure app and the call rings directly to the patient's mobile phone - allowing the patient to use either wifi or cellular data for the best connection and video quality. So regardless of what patients are up to at the time, they’ll be notified right away of their appointment. pMD does all this while continuing to protect providers' privacy by not displaying their personal information. 

After the video appointment is complete, pMD also provides patients and providers a way to securely communicate via our chat feature, keeping the provider in control of how long the line of communication stays open. So say a patient has received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and you want to make sure they don’t forget to receive the second dose. The practice can message them directly via the pMD mobile app, or better yet, set up an automated reminder, to remind the patient when it’s time to receive the second dose. By downloading a mobile app on their phone, patients not only have a secure and virtual way to carry out their appointment but they also have a more direct way of receiving important information from their providers about their health or updates from the practice. 

At pMD, we love providing a robust and seamless telemedicine solution that provides patients and practices with intuitive tools to better communicate about patient care. Submit your information here if you’d like to learn more about how pMD’s telehealth solution could benefit your practice.

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

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.


 

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.


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.

Accessible health care has been a challenge for individuals living in rural and underserved communities for decades -- barriers like transportation, social determinants of health, and the lack of insurance coverage have been major roadblocks in providing rural communities with the access to health care that they need to live longer, healthier lives. While these underserved communities often fly under the radar, it’s important to recognize just how many individuals are at risk because of their lack of available health care resources. In fact, individuals in rural areas have a 23 percent higher mortality rate than urban residents and a much higher rate of readmissions to both inpatient facilities and emergency room visits. The lack of access to specialty care also accounts for a dramatic percentage in what could be preventable hospital visits.

So, how does telehealth play a part in improving patient outcomes for rural populations? In the wake of COVID-19, telehealth has stepped up to the plate, stood its ground, and proven its worth to providers and patients across the country. While COVID-19 continues to be one large hurdle to overcome, it also presents rural communities with a silver lining: surges in telehealth deployment. As efforts and funding for the implementation of telehealth grow in rural areas, it’s presenting health care providers with the opportunity to bring specialized services and accessible health care to these areas in a more affordable manner and that is something we can all get on board with. 

Who Can Telehealth Help?


The Navajo reservations throughout the southwest region of the United States, an area that frequently goes unnoticed, is a notoriously underserved population. Home to roughly 20 percent of the nation’s Native American population, the Navajo population consistently scores poorly in overall health. In fact, Tribal communities are amongst the poorest and most vulnerable in the United States. On some reservations, life expectancy is lower than in some third world countries because of the lack of resources to access health care.

Not only is the life expectancy of Native Americans much shorter than other Americans, but they are also known to have a significantly higher mortality rate. This alarming statistic also includes higher rates of death from chronic illness, such as diabetes, chronic liver disease, depression, and more. And just to bring to light how bad the general health throughout these communities truly is: Indigenous peoples are likely to die of heart disease at a rate 1.3 times higher than all other races, and diabetes at a rate of 3.2 times higher.

What do these have in common? Both illnesses are reliant on constant monitoring and upkeep, but without access to affordable resources, many of these issues go unseen and untreated. Can telehealth alleviate some of these pains? Does telehealth truly have the opportunity to improve the outcomes for the patients by making health care more accessible?

Barriers to Entry


Now that telehealth is becoming more prominent in rural areas, providers will have the ability to tailor their telemedicine programs to best fit the needs of their patients, while eliminating many of the barriers that make it difficult for these individuals to receive care in the first place. 

Though the availability of telehealth services continues to grow, it is not without a few speed bumps along the way. Broadband access has been a constant concern for telehealth implementation. However, 63 percent of rural areas now have access to high-speed internet, and we can anticipate that number to continue to rise. Now more than ever is the time to consider a value proposition for these communities and how telehealth can serve these patients and ultimately lead to longer, healthier lives. 

pMD Solutions


pMD is constantly striving to improve the lives of both patients and providers to make an everlasting impact on health care. Now that telehealth deployments are surging, pMD’s clinical communication and care navigation platforms are creating an environment that allows providers to track the progress of their at-risk patients within these rural communities while ensuring that the communication between themselves and the patient will be seamless.

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.

"Love without conversation is impossible." This quote by American philosopher, Mortimer Adler, embodies a fundamental pillar of pMD design - something we'll call "love injection." Ever since the beginning, building software that is as intuitive as it is useful has been a core component of pMD product development. My previous post highlights empathy as the first and most important step of our design process and this post will focus on the upsides of a love injection and how it plays a part in our empathic design process. Love injection is our design team's internal call-to-action whenever our users encounter a scenario that leaves them feeling lost and unloved. Learning how we used it to overcome our missteps in product design will hopefully encourage your health care design team to leverage even more conversations with customers in the future.

The Backstory


Back in the early days of pMD telehealth we had far fewer patients on the platform. Then COVID-19 spread, and everyone was sent home, told to stay there, and attend medical appointments remotely. In the span of a couple of weeks, we suddenly had over 36,000 new patients using pMD for video calls. The deluge of new patient users - many of whom had never used telehealth services before - increased the customer support volume to unexpected levels. Questions we may have previously seen a few times over the course of a week resurfaced several times an hour: "What do I need enabled on my phone to have a video call?", "When will the doctor call me?", "What do I do now?", "I have a question for my practice...", etc. 

Immediate steps were taken by our customer success team to create more patient-facing documentation, so our new patient users could feel comfortable using pMD. These updates drastically improved our team’s response to patients, but we knew more had to be done to reduce the reliance on documentation alone while maintaining scalability. This became the catalyst for a new round of updates from the design team to make the user experience as intuitive as possible. Prior to COVID-19, we had been focused on telehealth through the health care provider lens and now it was time to revisit telehealth strictly from the patient's perspective. 

A Solution


To design effectively for patients, we revisited our design thinking process and focused again on empathy and designing with love. I'm referring to the three "laws of love”:

1. Love starts with what you know - build familiarity into the design.
2. Love makes complicated choices simple - one choice means no wrong choice.
3. Love is spontaneous! - Make it fun; make it rewarding!

Instead of a traditional user research study, I embraced Adler's quote and joined the support team in fielding phone calls from patients. Effectively, I became tech support for several hours every day. Assisting the customer support team opened my eyes to critical areas for improvement, namely around the onboarding experience for patients. One missing link was to ensure patients enabled all the proper app permissions whilst reassuring those that had properly enabled permissions, that they didn't have to do anything else until the doctor called at the scheduled time. 

As I answered patient questions and took notes, I thought about what I would like one of my own family members to see when setting up pMD. From start to finish, the pMD design team ultimately came up with an onboarding experience that we would feel comfortable having our grandparents use - that’s when we knew we had succeeded in injecting more love into the product experience. A week after the new onboarding update was released, the number of support inquiries related to app setup and onboarding before they started their first appointment decreased significantly despite a steady increase in new patient users!

Improving communication amongst the medical care team has long been a focus for pMD. This experience has shown us that we can never pause for a moment from speaking directly with our customers (both providers and patients alike) and showing them some love! I encourage you to open up more conversations with your customers - even temporarily hop in the trenches with your customer support team - and learn how you can give your product a proper “love injection.”

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.

In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak many health care practices were forced to implement telehealth as quickly as possible, and often didn’t have enough runway to deeply consider an ideal long-term workflow. If your practices’ initial reaction was to put something in place that was good enough for now but could be phased out in a few months when everything went back to “normal,” you are certainly not alone. 

The writing is on the wall; the use of telemedicine will not only be critical for managing this pandemic but will fundamentally change how care is delivered moving forward. In fact, some experts predict 20-30 percent of routine visits will continue to be virtual ones moving forward.  

Take an Integrated Approach


You’ve already invested time, effort, and money into your current systems and clinical workflows. Your telehealth solution should plug right in and work directly with those systems already in place, not outside of them. A virtual visit should be just as efficient, if not more than an in-person office visit. The more systems that integrate together, the less effort required of the practice and/or providers to onboard and manage. For example, why not interface your practice management system with your telehealth solution? Send automated appointment reminders based on the clinic schedule, conduct the virtual visit, and bill for the encounter, all from one place.

At pMD we strongly believe all systems should work in harmony together, which is why we interface with all major electronic medical records, hospital systems, and medical billing systems free of charge.

Have A Plan for Pre- and Post-Visit Communication


Just like a face-to-face visit, virtual encounters start well before the patient connects with their doctor and extends past when they hang up. Build a workflow that utilizes the office staff to frontload the onboarding of your patients to make sure they are ready to go when it comes time for their visit, and reduces the administrative burden on the providers. Reducing the burden on office staff is also a key consideration. For example, staff can enroll patients at the time an appointment is scheduled and set an automated appointment reminder to send 48 hours prior to cut down on manual follow-up. On the day of the appointment, a medical assistant (M.A.) can handle the check-in process and record any self-taken vitals, queuing up the patient for the provider. Once the visit is complete, staff can schedule a follow-up appointment or touch base regarding any outstanding items like labs or prescriptions via secure text messaging. Integrating key team members and all of the pre- and post-visit communication into your overall telehealth workflow will ensure virtual visits run as smoothly as your office visits.

Don’t Become Customer Support


You are not technical support, nor should you have to be. You have enough going on in your practice without having to troubleshoot technical issues with a telehealth platform for your patients. To reduce the risk of no-shows and rescheduled visits due to technical difficulties, it's important for patients to have easy access to fast, reliable customer service.

Our 24/7 live phone, email, and secure chat customer support extend to your patients too. We know how frustrating it is to not be able to get help when you need it. Let us reduce the burden of onboarding patients and providing technical support so you can focus on providing care.

Standardize Your Telehealth Workflow


There are numerous telehealth solutions available ranging in quality, security, functionality, and price, but when you find a solution that fits your needs, it is important for everyone to use the same system. Complexity and room for error increase when each provider is using a different platform, forcing the office staff to search within multiple systems for needed information. Not to mention managing multiple workflows and fielding questions for each disparate system - what a headache! When telehealth visits are all done on the same platform and tied to a patient record, you can ensure providers and staff are on the same page.

Don’t Bother with Single-Use Solutions


There is more to telehealth than just video communication. Why have multiple communication systems when you can use one that allows you to communicate internally, with referring physicians and colleagues, and also with patients? Care gaps happen when health care teams are forced to manage a complicated web of disparate solutions. You should be able to manage every step of the virtual visit process, from sending appointment reminders to patients, documenting and billing for encounters, and conducting post-visit follow-up, all from the same place.

Budgets are tight right now. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual visits may have represented the vast majority, if not all office visits, justifying the investment in telehealth as a standalone solution. As offices begin to re-open, telehealth will undoubtedly continue to play a vital role in care moving forward, but the percentage of virtual visits is expected to decrease. If virtual visits only represent a quarter of your total visit volume, it will become essential for telehealth solutions to drive value and revenue in other areas of your practice as well, such as secure communication, charge capture, or care coordination.

In addition to secure video, voice calling, and chat, pMD includes enough features to replace several standalone products, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs.

Enable Transparent Reporting & Documentation of Telehealth Visits


The last thing you want to worry about is being able to provide adequate proof of your telehealth encounters, especially when payors start to implement restrictions. Accurate, detailed reporting and documentation features will be key to ensure you receive the maximum reimbursements. All calls should be time-stamped and associated with a specific patient profile, making it easy to provide proof of all encounters.

pMD provides the transparent reporting tools you need to run your medical practice effectively, including patient-based call logs and chat history. In addition, all patient chat transcripts are available practice-wide, further reducing the risk of miscommunications or care gaps.

Maintain High Levels of Security when Using Telehealth


Yes, it’s true, enforcement of HIPAA compliance has been temporarily relaxed under these extraordinary circumstances. But experts don’t expect that to last. Plus, why gamble with the security of your patient’s personal health information (PHI) information when there are other options? As the health care industry works to establish a new normal, practices know that any long-term solution needs to be secure in order to reduce the potential disruption and financial risk as policies continue to evolve.

With pMD you can rest easy knowing you have a signed Business Associate Agreement (BAA) and that all video, voice, and chat communication is always secure, encrypted, and HIPAA-compliant.

Get a Free, In-Depth Workflow Analysis & Consultation


We know COVID-19 has placed extreme burdens on health care providers and practices. Our team of experts is ready to provide you with free in-depth workflow analysis and consultation to determine the specific needs of your practice and patients. You can find additional information and resources about our telehealth product at the links below: 

Please do not hesitate to give us a call at 800-587-4989 x1 or email sales@pmd.com if you have any questions or to set up telehealth for your practice today. 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.