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 | Telemedicine



By now most people have at least heard the term 5G floating around. But many are still left with more questions than answers: What is 5G? How does it work? What makes it different than 4G? When will we see it? How will it impact the healthcare industry? Have no fear, we are here to provide some clarity!

How did we get to 5G?

Before we dive into what 5G is and what it means for the health care industry, let’s explore how we got here. "G" stands for generation, so 5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. The graphic below does a good job of explaining the evolution of wireless.

 

Source: System One


 

When not connected to WiFi, a 4G LTE connection is what most of us currently use for anything that requires an internet connection on our mobile devices - calls, texts, email, etc.

What is 5G?

5G is a new software-defined wireless network that operates largely in the cloud. The result is more than 100x more capacity that 4G networks. In a nutshell, it means much faster speeds with far lower latency. 

For example, if you want to download a 2-hour movie on 3G it would take a whopping 26 hours. With 4G, you are down to 6 minutes. But with 5G, you are only looking at just 3.6 seconds.

For a world that has become reliant on the internet to function, the reduction in time delay is critical. While 4G network sees command responses in just under 50 milliseconds, that jumps down to only 1 millisecond with 5G, which is 400x faster than the blink of an eye! This reduction in latency will challenge what we consider possible and is expected to be the catalyst that brings data-intensive applications, like autonomous vehicles, into the mainstream.

When will 5G be here?

The first two 5G-compatible mobile phones, the Moto Z3 and Samsung Galaxy S10, were released earlier this year. Meanwhile, AT&T and other carriers have been quietly running trials of 5G hotspots with businesses in various cities across the country, preparing for broader commercial availability. Realistically, expect the big 5G applications to crop up around 2021 or 2022, but analysts predict that by 2025 nearly half of mobile connections in the U.S. will be via 5G.

What will 5G mean for health care?

Now on to the million-dollar question. Just as it promises to increase speeds and reduce latency for consumers, 5G technology also has the potential to transform how health care is delivered. Especially as the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies continue to grow, the amount of data on networks is also expected to continue to skyrocket.

Expanding Telemedicine

Telemedicine requires a network that can support real-time high-quality video, which today is limited to wired networks. Video lag is not only frustrating for those using it but the poor quality can delay patient care, hurting outcomes in the long run.

With faster service also comes the ability to provide new value-add to the conversation. Take real-time language translation, for example. This could mean a doctor in Indiana can take care of patients in foriegn countries, regardless of language barriers.

With 5G, health care systems can enable mobile networks to handle telemedicine appointments, which can greatly increase the reach of these programs. Patients can often be treated sooner and gain access to specialists otherwise not available. It also enables doctors and other staff members to collaborate more efficiently and effectively.

Reliable, Real-Time Remote Monitoring

By using IoT devices, health care providers can monitor patients and gather data that can be used to improve personalized and preventive care. Slow network speeds and unreliable connections could mean doctors are unable to get the real-time data they need to make quick health care decisions. 

5G networks will enable the transfer of more complicated and robust patient data from remote locations. The extremely low latency can facilitate reliable home care, such as home ICUs or hospitals-as-a-home settings. In other words, the more reliable remote monitoring becomes, the more patient care can be moved out of the hospital. For example, a doctor can be alerted in real-time if a patient's blood pressure spikes while they are at home. Providers can be confident they will receive the data they need in real-time and are able to intervene before serious complications arise.

Quicker File Transfer

MRI machines and other imaging equipment typically produce very large files that must be shared with various specialists. When the network is low on bandwidth, the transmission can take a long time or not send successfully. This means the patient waits even longer for treatment and providers can see fewer patients in the same amount of time. With 5G, files could become instantly available via mobile devices. This opens up opportunities for providers to easily share large imaging files without taxing their network, furthering the ability to collaborate about patients in order to provide better and quicker care. 

Ultimately, 5G is a catalyst that will support a decentralized health care ecosystem by making operations more reliable and accessible, further accelerating the industry trend toward providing care outside of the hospital.

 

Find out more about pMD's suite of products, which includes our, charge capturesecure messagingclinical communication, and care navigation software and services, please contact pMD.


Recipe for Success


pMD recently implemented a big performance boost that brings enhanced video chat performance to its iOS and Android apps, facilitating lower latency and higher resolution video calls. What does that mean for you? Clearer, faster video communication!

Video chatting is becoming a more common type of communication between providers and their patients. It’s a convenient way for physicians to consult with patients about non-urgent issues and an effective way to connect specialists with dispersed patient populations and rural communities. Not to mention, certain types of telemedicine video consultations are billable services. 

With more and more of the Millennial generation requesting telehealth over office visits, the demand will only increase with this growing demographic. But even in older patient populations, reducing the amount of travel from home to the doctor’s office can make a world of difference. A HIPAA-compliant video conferencing platform like pMD’s allows care teams to collaborate more efficiently to provide the best patient experience possible with little-to-no operating costs.

Gone are the days of choppy or unflattering frozen stills of your face. Say hello to telehealth from your local corner cafe, on your morning walk with the dog, while finishing up paperwork in the office, or from the comfort of your living room couch. Whether you’re the provider or the patient, pMD’s free video chat allows you the freedom to connect face-to-face at your convenience. Communication in health care should never be a hurdle to providing or receiving the best possible care.

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.


Healthcare communication


Coordinating a patient’s care is complex. Professionals from a variety of disciplines deliver care to a single patient at various times throughout the day. Specialists may be traveling from several different locations from across a city to where this one patient is receiving care. And all of this complexity limits the chance for care teams to reliably connect with each other regarding the current plan for a patient’s care.  This is when inefficiencies and medical errors arise.

Ineffective Healthcare Communication Causes Medical Errors

The growing body of research on medical error prevention reveals that ineffective or insufficient healthcare communication among care team members is a significant contributing factor to adverse events. Ineffective communication is at the root of nearly three of every four medical errors. Industry studies have classified communication errors that led to inefficiencies and medical error into a few buckets:

1) Communication that was simply too late to be helpful for the patient.
2) Failure to include the whole care team in communication about a patient.
3) Communications that proposed an action where that action was not completed.

Thus, access to a common healthcare communication platform that can link up multiple providers and support clarity in communication during the critical seconds of need must be implemented to help stop avoidable medical errors.

Reduce Medical Errors with pMD’s Healthcare Communication Platform

At pMD, we’re passionate about reducing those avoidable medical errors and saving lives. pMD’s HIPAA-compliant clinical communication and free secure messaging platforms are one key way we’re doing just that.

1) We know that texting is a quick, easy method to connect a team and convey information that can save lives. So, we’re proud to provide a proven, secure communication platform to support healthcare teams - for free.  

2) Sending images securely, including labs, diagnostic images, skin conditions, or wounds post-surgery, can link internists to specialists, residents to attendings, and patients directly to triage nurses.

3) We know that with text alone, a message can lose the inflection, emotion, or intensity intended by the sender.  So, we’ll be adding the ability to send and receive voice memos, giving messages back the volume, pitch, rhythm, and speed that can help convey a clear message.

4) And we know that verbal and non-verbal aspects of communication can be vital in ensuring clarity. Therefore, we’ll also be adding HIPAA-compliant video communication capabilities, even to our free secure messaging platform, to execute care team huddles from anywhere, to facilitate the integration of specialists, and to even host telemedicine encounters directly with patients or medical decision-makers.

At pMD, we know a text, picture, voice memo, or video encounter can vastly improve the clarity of communication. By utilizing a common secure healthcare communication platform which includes the right individuals at the right time, we can reduce medical errors and save thousands of lives.  For more information, or to easily sign up for free pMD® Secure Messaging™, please visit us here!

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.