Look around any healthcare practice and you’ll find hundreds of 21st century technological marvels. But when it comes to nuts-and-bolts communication – like sending a referral for a patient to see a specialist or a prescription form to a pharmacy – fax remains the industry favorite.
Why? The answers are a bit complicated, ranging from regulation to market forces to convenience, and more. But here are three overarching themes, and some thoughts on why new Internet protocol technologies are solidifying the dominance of fax in the healthcare setting.
Top-of-mind for anyone working in the healthcare field is privacy and security of information, especially as it’s passed from one person or entity to another. HIPAA regulations apply to technology too, and many forms of communication fail to meet that high standard, or they require significant IT investment to assure compliance.
Real-time T.38 IP fax meets HIPAA compliance because it transmits data directly and in real-time through what is known as a “digital handshake.” Unlike legacy fax systems that use a “middleman” device to store and forward data, IP fax moves directly from sending server to receiving server. That also prevents "false-positives," – confirmations saying the fax was delivered when it hasn’t reached its destination.
Real-time transmission means you have accurate evidence the fax has reached its destination safely. And, with T.38 IP fax, no business associates agreement (BAA) is necessary since the service provider has no access to the data.
Cloudli’s T.38 IP fax uses the highest level of AES encryption which encrypts both the signal and the image. In other IP fax solutions, encryption can cause significant IP traffic overhead that slows transmission or causes the fax call to fail. Not so with Cloudli’s T.38 IP Fax, which uses a lightweight encryption technology to provide security without compromising reliability.
Healthcare organizations cannot afford to have communications fail, become delayed or get buried in an Inbox. A patient’s well-being could depend on it. That’s why providers continue to rely on faxing – and especially IP fax. Real-time T.38 IP faxing sends data via internet lines – as quickly as an email. And because the information goes directly from sender server to recipient server, there’s no chance of loss or delay. The page-by-page confirmation you receive is 100 percent true and accurate.
In addition, IP fax encryption protects against hacking and tampering, achieving the high privacy and security standards medical practices require.
Interoperability and Easy Integration
All fax systems use a common standard, allowing them to communicate seamlessly with one another, regardless of brand or version. IP fax systems, likewise, use Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) protocol designed for message transmission across wired local area networks. That standards-based, technology-agnostic design allows IP fax systems to integrate smoothly with the sender’s and recipient’s electronic health record (EHR) systems, as well as other data management applications.
For these reasons and more, faxing addresses common pain points healthcare offices face in their day-to-day communications. Other communications tools have their place, but real-time T.38 IP fax melds the time-tested benefits of faxing with the speed and security internet transmission affords.