Healthcare leaders are promoting technology to transform workflows into efficient, digital processes. As healthcare organizations aim to increase interoperability and improve patient outcomes, they need to adopt digital tools that enable secure information sharing. Technology like cloud faxing solutions allows healthcare providers to streamline workflows and effortlessly comply with privacy laws.
Despite the availability of advanced digital solutions, many healthcare providers continue to transmit protected health information (PHI) using outdated technology. For example, according to a 2019 survey conducted by the American Medical Association, physicians most commonly complete prior authorizations via fax or phone. Some doctors mail paperwork.
Using traditional fax technology to share PHI with other healthcare providers or insurance companies welcomes compliance risks and workflow challenges. Staff must add steps to their workflow and manually send, retrieve or shred documents. Also, PHI might not land in the hands of authorized personnel when it’s faxed, potentially leading to a violation under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Luckily, healthcare providers can eliminate the risks and hassles of traditional faxing methods and instead optimize their workflow with cloud faxing. Let’s look at how a cloud fax service improves healthcare efficiency and patient satisfaction.
Healthcare Workflows That Are Ideal for Cloud Faxing
Optimized workflows simplify communications between providers and enhance patient care. You can streamline administrative tasks and seamlessly gather clinical data by implementing cloud faxing in your facility. Here are healthcare workflows that can benefit most from cloud faxing:
1. Lab Requests
Labs may need a physician’s signature to draw blood or perform other tests so they can get reimbursed by a patient’s insurer. Healthcare providers often do not have labs in-house and have to outsource these services. As part of the process, physicians might print out lab request forms and hand them to patients.
Cloud faxing allows physicians to skip the printing step and digitally sign and send lab test requests. Doctors can also receive lab results securely through their cloud faxing service and not have to worry about the documents getting lost or seen by others.
2. Pharmacy Refills
Pharmacies require a physician’s signature to dispense controlled substances. Some systems may not recognize a digital signature, which can delay medication refills. Advanced cloud faxing technology can remove the barriers associated with outdated systems and improve communication between pharmacies and providers overall.
3. Prior Authorizations
Healthcare providers handle an overwhelming amount of forms and supporting documents to obtain prior authorizations from insurers. Physicians might transmit lab results, imaging reports and patient information to insurance companies every day. According to data released by the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare (CAQH), healthcare providers could save 14 minutes per prior authorization transaction by conducting these tasks electronically. Cloud faxing is the ideal solution for accelerating prior authorization processes.
4. Imaging Reports
Many radiologists still use traditional faxing methods to send diagnostic reports and images to referring doctors. These materials and their timestamps need to be added to patient files. Cloud faxing automatically adds audit trails to each transmission and doesn’t require staff to scan documents into their electronic health record (EHR) system.
Primary care physicians regularly need to send referrals to specialists. Cloud faxing allows physicians to send referrals directly to an ancillary provider’s EHR system. Likewise, specialists can easily transmit patient data to the referring doctor’s cloud fax service. Through cloud faxing, doctors can help their patients get the care they need faster and with fewer headaches.
Benefits of Cloud Faxing for the Healthcare Industry
Cloud faxing offers greater security than traditional methods, so you can feel assured that your practice is compliant with privacy laws. Cloud faxing is also a much more efficient way to send faxes, helping your practice save on labor and supply costs. Overall, cloud faxing benefits include:
1. Eliminate Inefficient Workflows
Cloud faxing is as easy as sending and receiving an email. It can reduce manual paper handling and all the related inefficiencies.
For example, with cloud faxing, staff can integrate faxes into their EHR system, removing the need to scan documents, manually enter data and shred papers. According to the CAQH, healthcare providers could save over a million labor hours per week by completing manual tasks electronically.
2. Reduce Compliance Risks
Healthcare organizations are required to comply with HIPAA and protect their patients’ privacy. Yet, when practices use traditional faxing methods to send and receive PHI, they put patients’ privacy at risk.
Sending faxes the old way means documents can get lost, sent to the wrong location or left out in the open. Cloud faxing eliminates the risk of losing documents as they travel from one provider to the next. Plus, cloud faxing systems feature HIPAA-compliant safeguards to give healthcare providers peace of mind.
3. Decrease Costs
With cloud faxing capabilities, you no longer have to pay for paper, ink, ongoing maintenance or dedicated phone lines. You’ll also save on labor costs because staff can work more efficiently when they send faxes through the cloud.
4. Increase Mobility
Cloud faxing allows physicians and staff to send or receive faxes anywhere they have internet access from any computer or mobile device. Doctors and nurses can respond quickly to transmitted information because they can access it immediately.
5. Support Interoperability
Today’s healthcare providers can benefit from technology that enables seamless data sharing and promotes interoperability, such as cloud faxing. Imagine a doctor needs to send a patient’s records to another provider immediately. Rather than needing to print out paper copies of a patient’s information, they could instead use cloud faxing to transmit data directly from their EHR, saving time and helping the patient get treated faster.
6. Improve Patient Satisfaction
When healthcare providers have efficient workflows, they can respond to patients’ needs quickly, spend more time with them and focus on providing excellent care. Providers can use cloud faxing as a tool to improve operations and boost patient satisfaction overall, even as they welcome more patients into their practice.
Tips for Healthcare Workflow Improvement
An improved workflow has profound benefits for patients and staff. An optimized workflow reduces work-related stress, improves clinical outcomes and increases revenue. Here are tips for refining your practice’s workflow:
- Identify waste: Analyze your workflow and look for steps that aren’t valuable to your patients or practice. For example, if you ask patients questions that a medical assistant just asked, you’re taking wasted steps. After you identify wasted steps, you can work to eliminate them.
- Upgrade communication systems: Outdated communication systems slow staff down and add frustration to daily processes. To improve workflow significantly, focus on implementing modern communication technology in your office. This also includes replacing paper-based processes with digital alternatives. With new technology, you and staff can enjoy greater mobility and flexibility.
- Improve scheduling procedures: You can reduce downtime in your practice by changing the way you handle patient scheduling. For example, allowing patients to manage their appointments through your EHR system or sending text reminders can reduce no-shows and increase patient satisfaction. You can also ask patients to access a patient portal and complete registration forms before their appointment, and decrease employees’ workloads as a result.
Improve Your Healthcare Company With Cloud Faxing
Cloud faxing does more than save your healthcare organization time and money. With cloud faxing, your staff can find relief from compliance risks and inefficiencies, allowing them to prioritize patient care. If you’re ready to implement cloud faxing in your office, we’re eager to help you at Softlinx.
At Softlinx, we offer ReplixFax — a HIPAA-compliant cloud fax service for healthcare. ReplixFax provides easy-to-use features to help you quickly and securely send, receive and file faxes on your computer or mobile device. To learn more about ReplixFax Cloud Fax Service, contact us today or request a quote.