The facsimile machine when it was invented revolutionized business. It drastically reduced the cost of communication and with its quick and easy transmission of documents, facsimile communication irreversibly changed how businesses operate. 

Known worldwide as the fax machine, this modern piece of technology was embraced by businesses big and small, by organizations, households, even governments. 

But technology waits for no man. 

And this once beloved stalwart of the office is now counting down to retirement.  

While most businesses that still rely on fax technology have quietly switched to online faxing, using a cloud based fax service provider such as iFax app, there are businesses in the health industry in several countries that have doggedly stuck with it. 

But they’re analog faxing is on borrowed time. 

UK health service fax ban

In the UK, for example, the NHS (the UK’s Health Service) has been issued with a fax ban. Health trusts throughout the UK are no longer allowed to purchase analog fax machines. 

2020 was the year that then Health and Social Care Secretary, Matt Hancock, decreed all healthcare organizations that fed the NHS, both at home and abroad, had to make the transition to digital. 

This has meant that pharmacies in the UK, in order to keep meeting patient’s needs, have had to switch to online faxing, and away from their reliance on analog fax, for good. 

Why might you need to know that? 

Because if you deal with pharmacies in the UK, or any aspect of the UK’s health service, and you need to fax information to them, you will need to digitally fax as they might not accept an analog faxed document.

The issue of analog fax

But why the switch to digital? What is the issue of analog faxing and why might all pharmacies need to implement online fax technology? 

Another driver away from analog fax has been UK based British Telecom (BT) declaring that as of 2025, they will no longer be issuing analog phone lines to customers, in line with other telecom providers in Europe, and traditional fax machines use analog phone lines to transmit scanned data. 

Besides continuing to communicate with international medical partners, why else might pharmacies in the US need to implement online fax technology?

1. Traditional faxing is expensive

In any business, even pharmacies, the bottom line is always cash flow. Watch the cents and the dollars take care of themselves, so the saying goes. And traditional faxing is an expensive habit to maintain. 

From having a technician come and service your machine annually, to purchasing special fax paper, ink and toner. Not to mention paying for phone line rental. 

When you switch to an online fax service, these costs reduce drastically. 

– There is no expensive hardware to maintain. 

– There is no need to buy paper and ink. 

– There is no dedicated fax phone line you need to pay for. 

– There is no software you need to keep updating.

– Everything you require is online. The only device you need is a mobile one. 

2. Improved reliability

How many times have you had to deal with a paper jam? How many times have you had to call a fax repair technician to come and sort your fax machine when it goes down, when it crashes or develops a problem? 

Not to mention the random lines and inky streaks that appear on the printed sheet, or the half received message, the remainder being lost somewhere along the line. 

How can you fill a prescription if the vital information is missing? You have to call up the doctor who sent the prescription for confirmation or to ask for the fax to be resent. What a waste of your time and theirs. 

And if you don’t realise the fax is truncated? What are the potential ramifications of not filling an order correctly? A patient’s health is put in jeopardy and you run the risk of losing business.  

With online faxing, your pharmacy will never be unable to receive a fax again. When you implement digital fax solutions your pharmacy will get every piece of data that is sent over. Always.

3. Increased security of data

One of the biggest issues with traditional faxing is the security risk. US pharmacies have to adhere to HIPAA compliance, and when faxing was invented, there was no such thing as a hacker, so there were no built in defences in the technology to prevent someone from getting into your system. 

But now, traditional fax machines provide an open door to anyone wanting to gain access to your entire IT network, putting all of your PHI (protected health information) at risk. 

Can you afford to play fast and loose with patient data? 

– When you’re flat out, receiving faxes 24/7, you can’t have someone monitoring the fax machine for every new fax that comes in. 

– How many times have you received a paper fax through and it’s been left in the tray until you get round to processing it? 

– How many unauthorized personnel have had eyes on it? 

– Or how many times has a fax come in and it’s not been filed properly, and it’s been lost in the process? 

– You need to be able to retain and retrieve faxed documents quickly in the event of an emergency, and having them all online, in one place, stored securely in the cloud, enables this.

Online fax service

When faxed orders are critical for your pharmacy business, you need to know that your fax service provider is reliable, secure and provides a seamless service for both doctors and patients. 

To guarantee your pharmacy remains operational, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, your pharmacy needs to implement online fax technology, through a HIPAA compliant provider, such as iFax app. 

By doing this you are increasing your business’ efficiency, improving your workflow, increasing your productivity, enhancing your reliability and ultimately increasing your revenue. And who doesn’t want that?

Simply do your homework, research the most suitable cloud-based fax provider for your needs. It’s quick and easy to switch, with no downtime. You can remain open, business as usual, throughout the transition.