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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 | Virtual Care


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.

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.