pMD has been making health care teams happy for over 20 years! It’s hard to believe, but it’s true that this company has been in business since the dawn of the Palm Pilot, Netscape Navigator, and Pocket PC.
20 years in the tech industry can be seen as an eternity when you consider most companies don’t last that long. You can’t make it without being able to adapt and evolve to serve your customers. pMD will continue to be known as the gold standard in mobile charge capture but our position in the market is slowly starting to expand into new territories. We’ve recognized that with our well-rounded product suite, we’re now able to serve both clinical and non-clinical professionals, connecting them with care teams as well as patients, ultimately linking them to the resources they need.
One area that we’re laser-focused on is that of care navigation. For those of you who may not be familiar, care navigation is “the deliberate organization of patient care activities between two or more participants in a patients’ care to facilitate the appropriate delivery of health services”. Care navigation is an essential component in contemporary models of interdisciplinary primary care and is of increasing importance in the transition to Value-Based Care.
Years ago, when pMD started research into care navigation, the question of ‘who performs this task?’ was of critical importance. In order to design the best care coordination platform on the market, we needed to know who our users were. This proved to be an interesting question as the answers varied greatly! Initially, our familiarity with the idea of a ‘patient navigator’ came from our work in the oncology setting. In this setting, having a resource like a patient navigator removed barriers to facilitating timely diagnosis and addressed inequalities that exist in cancer care. Our experience was that patient navigators were usually nurses with oncology nursing backgrounds, and our work with them led to the creation of pMD as a premiere care navigation platform for Oncology Care Model (OCM) participants.
While we’ve continued to work with Oncology practices and their nurse navigators, we’ve also been fortunate enough to expand the scope of our offering to support practices and health systems that work with other high-risk patient populations. More specifically, this includes populations that may be dealing with complex needs, multiple chronic diseases, immunodeficiency diseases, and behavioral health issues.
What we’ve learned by working within these population domains, is that there are three distinct models when it comes to care navigation:
- Complex Needs
- Multiple Chronic Diseases
- Immunodeficiency Diseases
- Generally comprised of a patient navigator and other professionals (social workers, psychologist)
- Common in behavioral health
- Non-Professional: usually employed by a health system, provides general support to access services within a system, focus on reducing health disparity among specific or marginalized populations
The one thing that all care navigation models have in common is the fact that they are all working toward patient-centered care. Patients receive timely and appropriate guidance which empowers them to make better decisions and navigate through the services they need while improving their health literacy. Obviously, enabling patients is important but so is shared decision-making with a patient’s primary care provider. 80% of PCP’s in the U.S. are not confident in providing for the social needs of their patients such as transportation, housing, and access to nutritious food. When you realize that PCP’s are the central point of access to care coordination services for complex patients, you can start to see how a care navigation platform that is integrated across health settings can help the underserved.
Care navigation is obviously essential, and we’re looking forward to learning more about the differences between these models but most importantly, how they engage with the informal participants in a patient’s care. These informal participants are the ones who already provide significant care and support (family, friends, volunteers).
With the recent release of messaging with patients and upcoming enhancements to our secure messaging suite, we’re on the cusp of being able to support everyone who is contributing to the care navigation process - helping them communicate with one another, sharing care plans, and facilitating access to the resources they and their patients need most.