OK, hear us out. Yes, we realize it’s 2022 and we’re encouraging fax as a means to freedom. “But the ginormous machine! The toner…so much toner. Paper jams haunting my dreams…” We get it. Faxing in healthcare is one of those things that continues to be shockingly ubiquitous, but one of the reasons we’re going to stand behind this well-established technology is that…well, it’s well established. Providers using fax to exchange patient information has been around for decades, with workflows so well-ingrained that the idea of pulling a “rip and replace” – the often implied means suggested by heavy-handed mandates – is incredibly disruptive to already-burdened care teams. We are big believers that caregivers (and their teams) should not have to worry about interoperability, so let’s consider how leveraging fax technology can actually move the needle toward communication freedom and efficient exchange of patient information!
Giving Fax a Facelift for Better Healthcare Communication
Instead of grabbing the reams of paper and ink from the hands of busy office staff and demanding new, different workflows for the sake of progress, we advocate understanding existing workflows and giving them a facelift. (This isn’t hard to do with something like fax machines.) Change that is calculated, considerate, and unrushed lays the groundwork for embracing future changes in a way that demands do not.
Encouraging providers to shift from the traditional paper-and-ink faxing of medical records to electronic cloud faxing is a great way to capitalize on a similar workflow while still demonstrating the value of digitizing documentation.
Not only does this save a ton of manual work and supplies/maintenance, but it starts to illuminate additional metrics regarding volume and exchange patterns that can actually impact the business. Strategic opportunities are unlocked when administrators can identify where the majority of referrals are coming from, where exchanging X document at Y time is improving intake and appointment scheduling, and closing the gap on missing records that impact care delivery and/or reimbursement.
Cloud Fax Begets Freedom and Improved Communication Between All Providers
One of the coolest results of implementing cloud fax for healthcare providers already using traditional fax is the way that providers in the post-acute sector, for example, are brought into the fold. No one has to be on an island within the care continuum simply due to lack of fancy technology or robust EHRs. The freedom to communicate with all the various providers participating in a patient’s care via cloud faxing is a huge step forward in establishing a unified front to improve care outcomes.
This also sets the stage for leveraging other technologies like Direct Secure Messaging when staff and physicians have reaped the benefits of electronic exchange and are ready to ditch the extra landline and supply closet needed to keep the fax machine humming (or groaning, if we’re honest).
Win-Win: Freedom for Healthcare Staff and Better Outcomes for Patients
The most important gains here are true connectivity, easily and more efficiently than ever, and minimizing disruption for the staff. Patients benefit when their providers have all the information needed at hand to make the best decisions and guide their care, while physicians and their teams need to be able to move information nimbly, securely without shutting down the entire office to re-learn a new solution or unlearn years of muscle memory from fax workflows. There are baby steps that move the needle toward adoption of freeing technology (from this millennium) while also honoring the realities of change management for healthcare.