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It’s Time to Get Rid of Your Fax Machine, Doc

A few years ago, it was anticipated that the fax machine would go the way of the rotary phone and the telegraph. Yes, the clunky distracting machines still clutter up many Colorado healthcare offices. It’s one of the only places left where professionals still rely on such outdated technology.

While some medical facilities have been loath to shift away from physically faxing information, there have been several important legal changes that make electronic document transfers more appealing in the medical realm.

Most medical offices use faxes to share medical records, even though more than 85 percent of doctors use EMRs. The problem is those EMRs cannot connect to other providers’ EMRs.

It’s Time to Get Rid of Your Fax Machine, Doc!

Internal Records are Digital. External Are Not

In other words, a patient’s health records in the office are digital, but communication between offices and practices is manual.

An article published by the Stanford School of Medicine explains.

“One of the biggest shortcomings is the lack of interoperability among different EHR systems. Siloed information prevents hospitals, medical offices, and others from sharing information electronically, creating an overreliance on faxes, snail-mail, and patients who hand-carry their medical information from one provider to another.”

The idea is faxing is outdated but not obsolete, but there are better options beyond relying on physical paper that can be hijacked on a fax machine.

Why Practices Continue to Rely on Fax Machines

For some healthcare workers, faxing may seem more secure, as they think physical access to a fax machine is the only way information could be wrongfully obtained.

In reality, it’s often not that hard to obtain physical access with hundreds of patients, third-party service providers, and sales representatives constantly moving through busy practices. Besides, faxes can be sent to the wrong numbers, exposing personal health information (PHI) to parties who shouldn’t have it.

Another benefit is that fax machines are — of course — analog, so they continue working even in Internet connectivity is down.

Compliance Concerns

Many healthcare workers believe that faxing is HIPAA compliant, but it’s not always. Compliance depends on several factors, including the security of both endpoints.

HIPAA compliance is tricky and ever-changing, but it doesn’t have to be when it comes to your technology. Talking with a HIPAA-compliant medical IT provider is the first step to updating your technology and improving your practice’s efficiencies.

Colorado Computer Service is one of the only IT firms in the state that has earned HIPAA compliance.

Modern Solutions

Many practices are replacing their fax machines with cloud-based electronic fax (eFax) services.  Efax provides all the benefits of fax communication without the machines, paper, and repetitive screechy sounds in the office.

Instead of having records come to an in-house machine, they can be obtained digitally through the web. For example, faxed documents can be automatically forwarded to an employee’s email or accessed remotely through a secure portal.

Companies can control permissions and restrictions to ensure only those who are authorized to see PHI will see it. Working with the right IT firm to implement the right eFax solution will ensure you remain HIPAA compliant.

Other advantages of eFax solutions include:

  • Improved Security of patients’ confidential personal health information.
  • Ensuring EMR and EHR solutions work as designed.
  • Allowing easy access to records and diagnostic software in the exam rooms.
  • Complying with regulations like HIPAA and HITECH and meeting meaningful use standards.
  • Improving communications with patients about their prescriptions and healthcare.

Colorado Computer Support is your strategic technology partner supporting Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Florence, Pueblo, and companies throughout the state of Colorado, including Metro Denver, Littleton, Boulder, and Aurora. We also support business along the I-70 and I-25 corridors.

We make technology simple and easy for you and your staff by tailoring the best IT support solution with a specialty in medical practices. Contact us online or call us at 866-611-5207 to see how we can help implement eFaxing and streamline your office operations.

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