Ready for an incredible statistic? A 2019 study reported in Health IT Security found that 90% of healthcare organizations still rely on fax machines to transmit patient records and other ePHI. Clearly, the industry was not able to meet the challenge, set out several years ago by CMS Administrator Seema Verma, to make doctors’ offices a “fax free” zone by 2020.
What does this mean for you? If 90% of organizations across the healthcare ecosystem still depend on faxing to send and receive patient data, then you’ll need to maintain some sort of technology that can speak and understand fax’s language—although you certainly don’t need an actual fax machine.
There are several ways your organization can maintain fax capability—two you probably know about, and a newer one that you probably don’t.
Your options for maintaining healthcare fax capability
On-prem fax hardware (BAD OPTION)
This is the analog faxing infrastructure we’re all familiar with: desktop fax machines, paper, toner, in-house fax servers, dedicated fax phone lines… and lots of troubleshooting issues. This is also the faxing process that creates the most manual work for employees, leaves a healthcare organization the most vulnerable to HIPAA violations, and costs the most to maintain.
Standalone electronic faxing (MUCH BETTER OPTION)
With this setup, your organization can outsource all fax infrastructure to the cloud and enable your staff to send and receive electronic faxes securely by email, through a website, or via an app. Additionally, with the right API integrations, users can fax electronically without having to leave their EHR.
Consensus: embedding electronic faxing right into your workflows (BEST OPTION)
You can make your staff’s digital fax processes even more efficient, and save your organization even more time and money, with an electronic fax capability integrated seamlessly into your staff’s daily workflows. Here are just a few ways this integrated cloud fax solution can vastly improve your operations and your staff’s ability to deliver outstanding patient care.
3 ways you can improve your electronic faxing efficiency using Consensus
1. Faster, easier process for sending fax requests to other providers
Imagine that while searching your Consensus interoperability platform for a patient’s records, your employee finds a provider with vital data about your patient. But to receive those records, your employee has to send that provider a request via fax.
Because Consensus integrates so many healthcare workflows, including electronic fax, into a single platform, your employee will be able to generate that fax request in seconds—create the cover sheet, attach any relevant files, and even electronically sign the fax—without having to leave the app.
2. Streamlined intake and processing of clinical faxes
Now imagine your office receives a single ePHI fax transmission containing health data for three patients. That means three unique cover sheets, different types of medical charts, and other records. Perhaps some of these pages are even transmitted out of order.
With the advanced quality-control features built into your Consensus platform, electronically processing and distributing even difficult faxes like this will be quick and easy. The system lets you digitally select and remove cover sheets if necessary, separate and reorder documents according to patient, and attach each record to the right patient’s files.
3. Seamless integration between electronic faxing and Direct secure messaging
Finally, imagine your staff is engaged in an online discussion about a mutual patient with another provider, and they are having this discussion over Direct secure messaging. Now imagine that at some point during that message thread, the other provider asks your employee to send a relevant patient record via fax.
If your organization has a standalone digital-fax solution, you can avoid the manual steps required with traditional hardcopy faxing, so the process will be considerably quicker. But your employee will still have to leave the Direct message app, transmit the fax digitally, and then return to the app to let the other party know the patient’s record is on the way.
Here’s why electronic faxing in Consensus is better…
Now, if you had signed up for the Consensus interoperability platform, your employee would be having that Direct message discussion within the Consensus app. Consensus is truly a 360-degree platform for healthcare data exchange. It integrates many of your employees’ everyday workflow activities—patient query, Direct secure messaging, access to data exchange networks, and digital cloud faxing—into a single dashboard, where all of these services work seamlessly together.
So, if that provider asked your employee in a Direct message to send a patient’s record via fax, your employee could do that in seconds as well—again, without ever leaving the Consensus interface.
Yet another benefit: Now let’s say the provider you’re communicating with isn’t already signed up for Direct messaging. When they ask for a patient record, you’re not sure what technology they have to receive the document —so you use your Consensus platform to electronically fax it. If you’d prefer to communicate with this provider via Direct messages, you can even use your Consensus platform to sign them up for Direct Messaging—and in the future they’ll be set up to receive your records via DM instead of fax. And those are just a few of the reasons that healthcare organizations enjoy more efficient electronic faxing from Consensus. Learn more about how Consensus means Better Faxing for Healthcare.Jeff Solis