The COVID-19 pandemic has overwhelmed our healthcare system, not only in the caring of patients, but also in managing the increased volume of critical data that is needed to expedite testing and contact tracing. How is this data transmitted? In many cases, by fax.
A recent New York Times article put a spotlight on just how ill-equipped traditional, analog fax machines are in transmitting this confidential and time-sensitive information. In Houston, the fax machine at one public health department was inundated by such a large batch of test results, hundreds of pages containing private health information were left scattered on the floor.
Looking at reader comments in the New York Times article, it’s clear many people believe fax is a bottleneck. But what many people don’t realize is today’s modern cloud fax technology overcomes all of the shortcomings of traditional analog fax machines. And, in many cases, cloud faxing provides the most reliable, secure, and intuitive solution for sending confidential and time-sensitive documents.
Let’s take a look at five common misconceptions of fax – and how today’s cloud fax technology overcomes these challenges.
Misconception #1: Fax is not secure.
Traditional fax machines can create potential for privacy and compliance violations with confidential documents inadvertently viewed by unauthorized individuals as they sit on public fax devices.
However, many secure cloud faxing solutions eliminate the public fax device, allowing faxes to be sent and received electronically from applications such as email and electronic health records (EHR) systems and directly to the intended recipients, departments, workflows, and applications. With technology from our friends at etherFAX, leading innovators in cloud faxing, organizations can send and receive protected health information (PHI) and other sensitive documents directly to applications and devices with ultra-fast transmission speeds, guaranteed delivery, and end-to-end encryption.
Misconception #2: Fax is unreliable.
The slowdown caused by fax isn’t limited to healthcare; one state agency in Arizona recently came under fire when residents were unable to submit claims for unemployment. The request forms had to be faxed and the agency’s antiquated fax machines simply couldn’t keep up with the unprecedented volume of inbound faxes. The result was frustrating busy signals and processing delays for residents.
Fortunately, with the help of Instant InfoSystems and etherFAX, the state quickly implemented stratafax™ Production Services (SPS), an enterprise-grade cloud faxing service. stratafax™ delivers just-in-time scalability, eliminating the bottleneck experienced when inbound fax traffic exceeds the number of available fax devices or fax ports – ensuring you will never miss a fax due to a busy signal. Additionally, with SPS, the State of Arizona was able to automatically route inbound faxes to the correct individuals and departments, ensuring requests for services were processed more quickly and efficiently.
Misconception #3: Fax doesn’t integrate.
Despite the ubiquity of fax, traditional analog fax lacks the interoperability with applications that need the data. Cloud faxing solves this problem through direct API integrations with EHR and ERP applications, ensuring the critical information goes directly where it is needed for faster processing.
Today’s modern cloud fax solutions also integrate with many messaging and collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack, providing a seamless flow of information from these critical applications.
Plus, in the healthcare industry, EHR systems don’t integrate with each other, so when critical information needs to be sent from one system to another, fax is the common denominator that all systems can use.
Misconception #4: Faxed documents must be manually processed.
We’ve all seen it… the heaps of inbound faxes sitting unattended on the fax machine waiting to be manually processed. Cloud faxing ensures this never happens.
Today’s sophisticated cloud fax applications integrate directly into enterprise applications and leverage the meta data contained in those faxes for automated routing and processing of critical and time-sensitive information. Coupled with today’s sophisticated Capture technology, organizations can take the unstructured data from a fax document and turn it into structured data – dramatically improving the speed and accuracy of mission critical business processes.
Misconception #5: I’ll have to retrain users and change fax numbers.
Implementing a new technology is always a challenge, particularly when it comes to user training. However, modern cloud fax solutions require little-to-no user training. Faxes are sent and received directly from the application users are already familiar with.
Many organizations fear losing their fax numbers if they replace the fax machines or fax enabled devices. Another myth. Typically, fax numbers can be ported directly from the carrier. If not, existing fax numbers can still be utilized with features such as remote call forwarding.
Or, give us a call. We’d love to show you how today’s cloud fax solutions can be an integral component in your most important business processes and data security strategies.