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Online fax for healthcare providers: What are the advantages?

How E-fax is useful to Physicians

As a patient, do you have to send your documents through fax to insurance companies, medical practitioners, and hospitals? YES. But, do you have to use a fax machine or fax modem to do so? NO. You can easily use an online fax service for healthcare purposes and easily and securely send your sensitive data. On the other side of the line, the healthcare providers can either stick with the traditional solution or they can go for the online fax solution.

The good thing about using online fax for healthcare-related stuff, including sending and receiving sensitive information of patients and confidential insurance data, is that you don’t need to have a fax machine to send and receive such documents, and also you don’t need to have a physical copy of the data to be transmitted.

First, we take a look at how online faxing can increase the productivity of people working in the healthcare industry and then we review the advantages of online faxing over the traditional method to send and receive fax via fax machines.

Online fax for healthcare providers: What are the advantages?

Ease of Use

To send a fax online is as easy as email without the headache of inherent HIPAA problems. While it is true online faxing can use email to fax and fax to email, it isn’t the only way. Online faxing often supports printing documents to a secure client that transfers the files via HTTPS, ensuring the documents are encrypted to the point of conversion to fax. These fax clients also have the feel of familiar email clients, allowing you to enter recipient details in the “To” field, attach documents, enter subjects and add more information you wish the fax to contain.

You do not need analog phone lines, secure rooms or physical fax machines. All you need to do is to start using it. Your staff will use the online fax client to send and receive faxes, without having to get up and go to a fax machine, stand in line or check the output tray. And since a fax client can use your email address lists you can create contacts in your Global Address List (GAL) so that everyone can easily fax to common recipients such as labs, insurance providers, or referral partners, without having to update speed dial lists. You can even configure online faxing to work as a network printer so that other applications can “print to fax” without special hardware.

Online fax solutions may also come with APIs so your vendors can integrate EHR, PM, RIS, and many more systems with the online fax solution. This allows fax automation directly from within the health care applications you use every day, improving your workflow, increasing efficiency, and giving you back time to spend on your primary responsibility, care-giving.

Speed

Using online faxing is fast and convenient. You don’t have to leave your desk, enter the secure room where the fax machine lives, punch in a number, wait for the other end to answer, and watch your pages slowly run through the machine. Better yet, there are no paper jams! Receiving faxes is even better since instead of having to go stand by the fax machine waiting for the output, or constantly checking to see if the fax you are waiting for has arrived, it simply shows up in your electronic systems as soon as it is sent.

Less Stuff

With online faxing, you need nothing more than Internet access. There’s no fax machine, no paper, no toner, and no space taken up by that machine. There’s also no need for phone lines. You will save money on supplies, get back storage space, and not have to pay for additional phone lines. With less paper involved, there’s less need for shredding too.

Privacy and security

With the privacy requirements of HIPAA, anything that makes it easier to secure personally identifiable information (PII) is a good thing. Faxes have always been a weak link since they are usually a shared device, which outputs content into a common bin. Online faxing addresses privacy head-on with how it integrates directly with applications and also because you can specify a specific user to be associated with a specific fax number. When you need to send a fax, you can send it directly from your desktop. You don’t need to print it, and you don’t need to sit there with it as it feeds into the machine. Since inbound faxes are routed directly to a location you specify, there’s no chance someone will accidentally pick up fax that was not meant for them because it was left in the output tray. Incoming faxes can also be routed directly into shares on your network so that your Line of Business (LOB) applications can pick them up electronically. The same protections you use to secure users’ email and network shares will keep faxes safe too.

Audit Trails

Online faxing offers great auditing and reporting capabilities too. In addition to delivery confirmations, you have the ability to run queries on sent and received faxes for any user or time period you need, and you can even tie your online faxing into your archiving solution to maintain secure copies of all sent and received faxes if necessary.

Send or receive faxes from anywhere

With traditional faxing, you have to be near the actual fax machine to be able to use it. With online faxing, you can send and receive from anywhere. Users who telecommute or physicians who want to check results remotely can send and receive faxes from anywhere and on any device from which they have access to the internet. And larger practices with multiple or larger offices don’t have to worry about multiple fax machines. One service will scale to as many users and/or locations as you need.

Disaster Recovery

With faxing being such an important part of a medical practice’s daily operations, it’s reassuring to know that online faxing is one less thing to have to worry about in your DR/BCP plans. You will have faxing capabilities up and running at any place with Internet access.

E-faxing is an excellent way for any healthcare practice to bring their faxing solution into the 21st century, enhancing the security and privacy of patient records, making it easier for healthcare professionals to do their jobs, and reducing the overall costs related to faxing.

How does the E-fax facility of the PatientMD platform benefit the physicians?

PatientMD, a physician-led organization is committed to supporting the growth of private practices. The web & mobile platform of PatientMD is enabled with the e-fax facility to provide convenience to physicians so that they can receive the health records, sensitive information of patients, and confidential insurance data remotely from anywhere on their mobile phones, tablets, or laptops, all securely received and stored at one place. 

Every physician will have an exclusive fax number with the specific country code mentioned on their website and PatientMD profile. Patients will fax the required documents containing their health information at the given number. The physician will able to view the documents at their end instantly, by going to their PatientMD profile and clicking on the E-fax option. All the soft copies of confidential health information and necessary documents received through fax will be stored there, guarded with advanced fax security and encryption. 

HIPAA has a number of requirements for those who fax health records to make sure the information is protected. PatientMD’s e-fax facility meets the list of requirements to maintain HIPAA compliance, already solving many of the security levels for you, so that you, your medical practice, and your staff don’t have to worry a thing!