The software company creates easy-to-use mobile applications to capture billing charges, manage patient information and facilitate communication between physicians. It released the first-to-market native charge capture app for the iPad last year.
"iPad usage in the hospital is growing exponentially," said Dr. Travis Rutland, a gastroenterologist in Alabama. "It's definitely changing medicine in a good way."
As doctors move between their offices, hospitals and clinics, they still need immediate access to patient information. The iPad, which offers more screen real estate than a smartphone and is more portable and battery efficient than a laptop, puts this information literally at physicians' fingertips.
"It's great for doctors to enter notes and access the hospital system while they're walking down the hall," said Dr. Maria Nguyen, an infectious disease physician in Texas. "They're walking, and they're working."
Dr. Rutland has found that the iPad gives him more leverage. "I'll use it when I'm with patients to draw something on my chalkboard app rather than using paper, and I show videos of procedures," he said. "And when you're on at the hospital and rounding on every patient, it's helpful to have the iPad to access the hospital EMR, pull up labs and use pMD."
"We suspected that the iPad would be a big success, but it was unrealistic to think that it would replace smartphones," Philippe d'Offay, CEO of pMD said. "All doctors are mobile, so they need a charge capture solution that works wherever they are."
After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from doctors using the pMD app on the iPad, the company re-engineered its software to give doctors the option of using their account natively on an iPad and smartphone simultaneously. Information is transferred automatically in the background, so if physicians switch from one device to another, they are able to pick up exactly where they left off in pMD.
The companion device upgrade enhances the capabilities of native applications, which unlike web-based applications, can be used when a device is offline and with minimal battery usage. Physicians can continue using pMD as they come in and out of the notoriously unreliable data service at hospitals and clinics.
"With an app as complex as ours where information is flowing bi-directionally, it seemed almost impossible to run as a native app simultaneously on the iPad and a smartphone," d'Offay said. "Because of our obsession with usability, we knew that we had to develop it even though it would be difficult."
Although the companion device upgrade was ambitious, it gave physicians the flexibility to use their iPad with their smartphone at any time.
"There are times when you're just going into the hospital to do a couple of outpatient procedures and consults," Dr. Rutland said. "You don't want to lug around the iPad, so it's nice to just be able to use a smaller device like the iPhone to use pMD."
Dr. Nguyen agreed that the devices aren't mutually exclusive. "I don't always carry my iPad around with me because it can be cumbersome," she said. "I still like to use my iPhone to enter charges when I'm in the hospital. But when I'm outside of the hospital, I'll use pMD on the iPad."
Dr. Rutland, who is now using pMD on his iPad as a companion device to his iPhone, said that his practice loves the software. "pMD is easy to use, intuitive and fast," he said.