Faxing is so old school. With new technologies, can medical practices eliminate the fax machine?
If you’re still renting a paper fax machine and feeding it paper, toner along with paying the phone line, you indeed are old school. You’re also wasting a lot of money (and paper).
Before we examine a better and cheaper way to fax, let’s examine fax usage in a typical medical practice and whether or not the fax can be replaced with better technology.
What’s coming through your fax today?
Typical inbound faxes include:
- Medication refills from pharmacies
- Lab results
- Other diagnostic results
- Referrals, consult results and medical records from other providers
Typical outbound faxes include:
- Consult results to other providers
- Referral requests to other providers
- Medication and Procedure Prior Authorization Requests
- Diagnostic and other orders
- Insurance companies/payers
- Prescriptions (yes, some people are that old school!)
- Lunch order – you know who you are ☺
What are the issues with faxing for a medical office?
- HIPAA Compliant
- Lost faxes
- Unreadable faxes
- Technical issues with receiving and sending
- Extra work
Is there a single solution to replace all faxing?
Not really. As the lists above indicate, there are many varied reasons faxes are received and sent. True replacement technology requires the sender, and the recipient to BOTH have that technology – unlikely when the senders and receivers are so varied.
But life can be easier and less expensive as there is new technology that replaces MUCH of your faxing. Here are some suggestions based on the entity you’re communicating with:
- Do all your prescribing from your EHR
- Do all refill approvals through your EHR (submitted by the patient or the pharmacy)
- Tell the pharmacy to stop faxing you, or you will recommend another pharmacy
Labs and Diagnostic Facilities:
- Request an interface from your EHR vendor. Often labs will pay for all or part of the interface.
Referrals, Consults, and ALL Communications with other Providers:
- Ask if they participate in DIRECT Secure Messaging, which is required for MIPS. (If you’re a Sevocity customer this is free – Provider-Patient Data Exchange) If so, enter their secure email into your EHR or DIRECT system and use it to send and receive all communication with these providers.
You’re now likely left with insurance companies, lab and diagnostic facilities that won’t interface or fees are too high for you, and other providers that don’t use DIRECT. So you likely can’t kill faxing entirely, but you should be able to reduce it dramatically. Then move what’s left to HIPAA compliant electronic faxing (if you have not already) and start saving money and trees!
For more information on Sevocity’s integrated HIPAA compliant electronic faxing contact Sales@Sevocity.com