With the rapid advancement in technology, why does the medical industry still rely on fax to share patient information?
This article will explore why the medical world still uses fax, the problems of using traditional fax machines in light of HIPAA compliance, and the benefits online faxing affords all companies in the healthcare industry.
Table of Contents
- Why the medical industry still uses fax in 2020
- The problem of using traditional fax machines in 2020 for medical industry
- 9 benefits of online faxing for medical industry 2020
Why the medical industry still uses fax in 2020
Healthcare providers in the US aren’t always securely connected. Meaning sending and receiving private medical information pertaining to patients, could be an issue. Which is why the medical industry still relies on fax.
Fax is an approved method of sharing confidential patient information, and complies with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).
So where’s the problem?
The problem of using traditional fax machines in 2020 for medical industry
The medical industry is still infatuated with fax machines, but the problems (and there are more than one) of using fax machines in 2020 to transfer medical records and other confidential medical data include:
- Analog lines in Europe are being withdrawn. As of 2025, in the UK, for example, British Telecom will not be supplying customers with new analog phone lines. So if you need to connect with healthcare partners in the UK, you won’t be able to send them an analog fax. In fact, in a lot of countries across Europe, telecom providers are removing analog phone lines and designing new smart buildings without any analog lines whatsoever.
- Fax machines aren’t reliable. How many times have you sent or received a fax only to find that the message is truncated, cut off before the vital information is transferred?
- Sending an entire medical record via fax is a timely effort. It’s a slow process to send a large file via fax. Not to mention a huge drain on resources both in terms of time and money. And if you make a mistake or a page fails to send, you have to start over.
- Not cost effective. Sending large files over fax simply isn’t cost effective.
- It costs to maintain an analog phone line.
- It costs to ensure the fax machine is maintained regularly.
- It costs to keep buying replacement ink and toner and paper.
- Not to mention the cost to the environment of requiring these resources.
- It costs in lost hours to have staff spend their valuable time standing by a machine idly feeding paper into it or waiting for a series of documents to come through.
- It’s insecure. The fax machine wasn’t designed in the modern age of hacking, therefore it doesn’t have any inbuilt security to protect your IT network against cybersecurity attacks. In fact, most fax machines lag too far behind in terms of security to let them even be considered a part of your IT solution 2020. Also, if the received fax files aren’t collected immediately from the print out tray, they risk being viewed by unauthorized eyes, or worse, stolen or mislaid.
- Prone to hacking. The security of patient data is paramount, HIPAA mandates that. And as the National Health Service in the UK has seen all too frequently, they’re not infallible and have suffered a series of hacks and cyber attacks, putting confidential patient information at risk. And physical fax machines play a part in this because they effectively provide an open door to hackers, allowing them to gain access to your IT system through an analog line.
- The fat finger problem. How many times have you misdialed when calling someone on your phone? Now think what would happen if you misdialed when sending a confidential fax, and instead of sending a patient’s private medical record to their insurer, you accidentally sent it to their employer… it doesn’t bear thinking about. But it happens more often than you think. Not only is this a serious breach of data protection, it can also leave you exposed to negligence claims and a serious hammering of your reputation.
So for an industry that remains steadfastly reliant on the humble fax, what can the medical industry do to bring their loyalty into the 21st century?
9 benefits of online faxing for medical industry 2022
For enterprises that are reliant on faxing, such as the medical industry, the benefits of online faxing in 2020 are numerous:
A. It’s an evolution of a preferred method of communicating.
B. Files are transferred via a secure cloud server, rather than over phone lines.
C. Cloud faxing technology can be compatible with a fax machine, if you want it to.
D. You can remotely fax from anywhere, perfect if you’re WFH.
E. Transmissions are secure thanks to end to end encryption.
F. You can use electronic signatures rather than scrabble around to get a wet ink signature.
G. Large files can easily be uploaded and sent quickly and securely.
H. Online faxing is a paperless solution – better for your bottom line and better for the environment.
I. Centralized fax storage means you can store and easily locate sent and received faxes without having to wade through reams of paperwork.
Plus, online cloud faxing affords you all of the functionality of traditional faxing, just without the need for the physical fax machine.
How can the medical industry hop onboard with online faxing? Easy.