Faxing has traditionally played a prominent role in the healthcare industry. One private survey suggests that faxing accounts for up to 75% of medical communications. Many insurance companies require claim submission by fax, even though this technology is outdated and often frustrating for healthcare providers to work with because of its inefficiencies and security vulnerabilities.
Cloud faxing offers an appealing technological solution. It enhances the efficient and secure exchange of data to help different healthcare partners communicate more reliably.
One of cloud faxing’s main benefits is the interoperability it allows. Because of their centralized nature and broad compatibility, cloud fax services allow different healthcare providers to exchange information seamlessly across various digital platforms and software.
8 Ways Cloud Fax Boosts Interoperability in Healthcare
Cloud fax and interoperability in healthcare go hand in hand. Migrating to a cloud service helps boost interoperability over different technological platforms in several critical ways:
1. Facilitating Communication Between EHRs
In the last couple of decades, healthcare facilities have increasingly adopted the use of electronic health records (EHRs) as secure, private ways of recording and storing sensitive patient information. The design of cloud faxing services makes them compatible with a range of different EHR systems and allows for effective electronic communication and a seamless exchange of vital patient data.
Ideally, EHRs would function as examples of beneficial interoperability technologies, enhancing communications between providers. But despite the widespread adoption of individual EHRs in healthcare, interoperability challenges remain. According to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, as of 2017, only 41% of U.S. hospitals could send, receive, find and integrate patient information electronically to and from outside providers.
This low figure persists even though 96% of all hospitals have adopted a certified EHR. However, the use of easy-to-integrate cloud faxing technology is a promising step toward convenient, widespread interfacility communication.
2. Enabling Direct Embedding Into EHRs
One of the reasons cloud faxing works so well to provide interoperability between different EHR systems is that it enables healthcare providers to embed the cloud faxing system directly into their EHRs. Specific application programming interfaces (APIs) exist to integrate data from faxes automatically into the EHR.
When multiple healthcare facilities have cloud faxing embedded in their EHRs, they gain the ability to send, receive and store faxes easily within their systems and send data to others while keeping files secure. They can deliver documents like clinical summaries and lab results without requiring providers to print paper documents or send them over unsecured lines. They can even add bar codes to their transmissions for more convenient and secure routing.
3. Centralizing Data Storage
Cloud fax technology enables providers to view user healthcare documentation in a single centralized repository. This centralization allows for the timely use of data and streamlines access for users as long as they have the correct authorization. Especially in smaller or more rural practices that may not yet have implemented EHRs, using a centralized cloud faxing system can allow some of the same access and data-sharing capabilities. The additional benefit is that cloud fax services are generally much easier to implement and learn than EHR platforms.
4. Enabling Multi-Device Access
Because cloud fax systems store their data in the secure cloud, this information is accessible from various authorized devices, from desktops to laptops to tablets. This flexibility increases interoperability by allowing healthcare providers to work with the service regardless of the type of technology they use in their practices.
5. Providing Structured Data
One of the shortcomings of traditional communications is their lack of consistent structure. Incompatible pieces of infrastructure, whether physical or digital, can impede effective information transmission. One facility may not have the necessary hardware to communicate with the next, or paper and digital communication and storage systems may not integrate. Cloud faxing systems’ consistently compatible structures ensure a range of facilities can access and use the same information.
6. Increasing Efficiency
When multiple healthcare systems need to work together, maximizing efficiency is essential for streamlining processes and keeping one system from holding up information exchange. Cloud fax systems are highly efficient. They minimize the need for physical recordkeeping, scanning, filing and waiting, as well as manual data integration and the destruction of sensitive hard-copy records. Their integration capabilities also help reduce the inefficiencies that occur when facilities must expend extensive time and effort figuring out how to get one system to work with another.
7. Ensuring Security of Sensitive Information
A healthcare facility that prides itself on full Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance may be reluctant to transmit data to a less compliant system. The second facility may have some privacy protections in place, for instance, but be unable to ensure complete end-to-end encryption of sensitive data because it uses traditional faxing. Communication delays between the two may occur as the facilities attempt to provide an acceptable level of patient data security in their transmissions.
Cloud faxing systems are fully HIPAA-compliant and ensure end-to-end encryption of sensitive data. They can restrict access to authorized users and provide audit access only to official IT departments. Providers that work within a network of these systems gain the peace of mind of knowing they’re doing their part to protect patient privacy by promoting secure data exchange in healthcare.
8. Archiving Information for Future Use
Cloud fax systems archive all data that passes through them. Authorized users can search for the information at any time using keywords, tags, dates or other identifying information. In the past, having to call or fax another facility might have represented a barrier to information access. Providers might have let these tasks slip through the cracks because of time pressures, making cooperation between healthcare partners more difficult. Centralized cloud fax services make access to old data much easier and promote information sharing.
Make Softlinx Your Trusted Source for Healthcare Cloud Faxing
To see the benefits of secure, reliable cloud fax solutions in your healthcare practice, contact Softlinx.
Our fully HIPAA-compliant healthcare cloud faxing services provide secure communication options to help you make your information management more efficient. We can help you meet your security compliance requirements while increasing interoperability between your practice and other facilities you communicate with. You can focus less of your energy on transmitting data and more on the critical work of patient care.
Our responsive, knowledgeable service teams offer customer service and support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We offer a free 30-day trial service so you can try our cloud faxing platform before you buy it. We can also provide a free consultation for your business — we’ll help develop a cost-benefit analysis of migrating to a cloud service so you can weigh the pros and cons before committing.