Digital Fax for Healthcare: 5 Reasons to Ditch Your Old Fax Machine Today
Fax machines are a relic of the past, seldom seen in the office anymore. Yet, faxing remains a mainstay in healthcare, the last remaining bastion of an outdated technology. Innovations in digital fax are quickly changing the landscape in medical communications, offering important benefits to practices everywhere.
Why do healthcare practices still use fax?
There are many reasons why 89% of medical offices still rely on fax, despite the almost ubiquitous adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems, which has replaced paper elsewhere throughout the industry.
One involves EHRs themselves, which were not designed to standards of interoperability. There’s no guarantee that the software of one clinic can “speak” to another. Thus, EHR information silos force healthcare groups to use fax or snail mail—or even rely on patients to hand-carry records from one facility to another.
Then, consider that fax machines don’t get computer viruses. They can’t be hacked or spammed. It’s easy to use. They’re cheap. And they feature end-to-end encryption, ensuring security for essential HIPAA compliance.
What’s wrong with old-school faxing?
Faxing is time-consuming
Often you have to print out or scan documents from the EHR so they can be faxed. Lengthy faxes take time to send, and often don’t go through the first time, taking staff away from other tasks. Sometimes you get a busy signal, and have to return later to complete the transmission.
Data gets lost with faxes
Pages get tangled or go missing. Handwriting may be impossible to read. Pencil marks totally disappear.
Faxing presents privacy issues
When a fax transmission is complete, a document may sit in the fax tray for hours before being filed away, opening the possibility of security breaches and lost or misfiled paper records. Or it might sit in the receiver’s inbox for hours, causing significant delays in the referral or treatment process.
It detracts from the patient experience
Faxes don’t always get the desired result, either:
- About half of all faxed referrals result in a scheduled appointment.
- One in four faxes fails to arrive before the patient’s first visit.
- An astounding 30% of all faxed test orders go missing or are lost.
Embracing digital fax solutions to modernize medical practices
There’s good news, though. New developments in artificial intelligence (“AI”) and electronic fax technology specifically address the needs of healthcare practices, including HIPAA privacy concerns.
Why choose HIPAA-compliant digital faxing?
Modern medical digital fax solutions are built from the ground up with sophisticated encryption features that meet HIPAA’s strict privacy standards. This ensures you avoid HIPAA fines, which can amount to $2.5 million just for sending a fax to the wrong number.
Also, information flows back and forth directly between your EHR and the online fax solution— whether you’re sending or receiving—protecting patients’ privacy better than having paper documents floating around the office.
Digital faxing integrates with your EHR, and theirs
A solution, like Medsender, integrates seamlessly with the industry’s most popular EHRs , including Kareo. Not only can you receive faxes electronically through your EHR, but you can also send them to almost anyone.
Digital faxing is user friendly
Solutions like Medsender make digital faxing intuitive and straightforward. You can keep your existing fax number so you don’t miss a single incoming transfer. With one click, you can fill, edit, and annotate records from within your EHR.
It’s easy to merge files, rotate or reorder pages, add custom cover pages, and split large documents into several smaller transmissions. You can add your signature and make personalized notes without searching for a pen. If you’re using a cloud-based EHR like Kareo, you can also access faxes anywhere, anytime, improving staff productivity.
Digital faxing saves time and money
Being able to fax directly from your EHR helps reduce errors. AI tools let you label faxes and automatically upload them to the patient’s digital file, so nothing gets lost in the shuffle. The system tracks and confirms when each transmission is received, viewed, and signed and lets you view this information in the EHR. In short, everything is at your fingertips, boosting efficiencies throughout the office.
This translates into bottom-line benefits.
Practices using Medsender have reported an average savings of 3 minutes per fax. For a practice with a fax volume of 500 faxes per week, this equates to 25 hours saved each week. That’s the equivalent of one half-time employee.
"Medsender is an excellent choice,” says Tracey Shumate, office manager of Triad Behavioral Resources in Wilmington, NC. “The cost is reasonable. Everything about it is user-friendly. It is one of the best products I have used."
Ready to check out whether electronic faxing can streamline your practice? Click on Medsender today to learn more.