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Why Switching to Real-Time IP Fax Makes Sense for Healthcare Providers

May 12, 2021

Changing anything takes effort, and that’s certainly true of your fax service. When you add that task to the warp-speed pace of a healthcare office, it may seem like good enough is, as they say, good enough.

And yet, with fax remaining the dominant form of communication for medical providers, converting to Internet Protocol (IP) fax may be one of the most valuable uses of your time and effort. This year, especially, it’s critical to take advantage of the numerous benefits T.38 real-time IP fax offers. Here are three reasons to make the change now: 

COVID-19 Fallout

The pandemic has proven how outdated fax systems can fail patients and health providers. News reports in both the U.S. and Canada exposed stories of COVID-related records faxed to the wrong office or tediously slow to arrive. Some offices found their fax machines over-taxed by reams of COVID data, to the detriment of other time-sensitive information.

T.38 real-time IP fax addresses the needs of busier-than-ever healthcare offices by capitalizing on the advantages of the internet for faster, more reliable, and scalable document transmission. First, T.38 real-time IP fax is faster and more reliable because it transmits in real time, without using a “middleman” fax server to store and forward data along the way. With real-time fax, the sender knows immediately that the fax arrived safely. You’ll never receive a false-positive confirmation, because the data goes directly from sending server to receiving server.

The real-time nature of T.38 IP fax, incidentally, ensures HIPAA compliance, since it protects health information from privacy breaches and security risks. In addition, real-time IP fax solutions transfer data digitally from any faxing system to another. These fax systems can easily be integrated with the sender’s and recipient’s electronic health record (EHR) systems.

Also important during COVID is the flexible and scalable nature of IP fax. Adding lines – whether one or 100 – is easy and inexpensive compared with legacy systems, so you can adjust quickly when volumes increase (that is, now). You can customize your experience to mimic your current workflow, connecting the T.38 fax trunks to your existing fax devices to send and receive similar to your legacy system, or configuring the fax servers to emulate the desktop fax experience for some or all users.

Cost Savings

Every day with a legacy fax service costs your practice money, and IP fax could cut those costs in half. First, depending on your plan, you pay lower or no long distance charges with IP fax – no small factor if you’re a high-volume office sending dozens or hundreds of faxes a day. With analog systems, you’re also paying to maintain legacy fax equipment, like fax boards, needed for connectivity. And, as local carriers begin to phase out their fax lines, you may soon find yourself scrambling for a solution without the time to shop around for a smart, affordable alternative. Converting to IP fax allows you to cut your losses now and take your time to find the right service provider for your needs.

Additionally, outdated fax systems may be costing you through missed or delayed referrals due to false-positive confirmations or transmission issues. That gap in communication could delay care, putting patients at risk. It also could cost your organization in substantial lost revenue if patients get tired of waiting and choose another provider or decide to forego the treatment altogether. Depending on your practice’s area of specialty, that could add up to thousands – even hundreds of thousands – of dollars in missed income this year alone. Clearly, making do with unreliable fax services takes a big bite out of the bottom line.

Higher-Quality Care

According to The Joint Commission, 80% of serious medical errors involve miscommunication between caregivers during the transfer of patients. That includes miscommunications due to missed or delayed faxes containing patient referrals, records, prescriptions, or other sensitive data. Those communication breakdowns can have serious impacts on quality of care.

Real-time IP fax provides highly reliable and secure messaging that transmits in real-time and provides page-by-page confirmation as the message is safely received. Cloudli’s T.38 real-time IP fax uses AES encryption on both the signaling and the media (image). AES encryption is especially lightweight, which means it avoids the traffic overhead that leads to fax failures.

Together, these qualities allow T.38 real-time IP fax to meet HIPAA standards for safety. It’s simply the best and most reliable technology available to transmit data safely from one caregiver to the next.

Making the Switch

You may need some time to consider your IP fax options, but when you decide to make the leap, the rest is easy. Conversion can take place overnight, with zero downtime or office disruption. Some offices require an analog telephone adapter, but your provider may include that in their offering.

For the bigger picture of how IP fax benefits the healthcare setting, download our free eBook: How IP Fax Solves Health Providers’ Six Most Pressing Technology Challenges.

At Cloudli, we welcome the opportunity to discuss how our fax-over-internet services might fit your healthcare office goals. We have a number of service plans designed for both small offices and high-load businesses. Contact us today to arrange a free consultation.

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