Why Cloud-fax is Healthcare's Most Interoperable Tool

why cloud fax is hc most interop tool

If you’re in healthcare IT, you and your team have probably already begun discussing how to address the challenge that Seema Verma, administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, issued at the 2018 ONC Interoperability Forum:

“If I could challenge the developers in this room here today to achieve one mission, it would be this: help us make every doctor’s office in America a fax free zone by 2020.”

The problem with that challenge is, in their effort to encourage interoperability of EHR data exchange among health providers, Administrator Verma and the CMS are asking those providers to stop using healthcare’s most interoperable communication protocol available today: faxing.

Verma herself acknowledged this in that same speech when she said, “The federal government spent over $35 billion on the effort to get doctors to use Electronic Health Records… new technology that is making their work more difficult, not less—causing more physician burden and burnout. Because of it, doctors today are still recording their notes on paper, and they are still faxing patient records.” 

She’s right, of course. There are now so many EHR platforms, and patient data now exists in so many different formats and coding languages across these different platforms, that EHR exchange is actually becoming less interoperable with time.

But doctors’ offices, labs, pharmacies, hospitals, insurance companies, and other providers in the healthcare ecosystem all still have faxing in common. So the question is: Can your firm meet the CMS’s challenge to rid your organization of fax machines by 2020—without undermining your ability to meet regulators’ other demand to increase interoperability?

The answer is yes, and that’s the good news. The great news is that you can actually achieve it all without giving up your company’s faxing capability.

How to Meet the Regulatory Pressure to Stop Using Fax Machines—But Still Keep the Ability to Fax

As Verma’s remarks make clear, she and the CMS are worried about paper-based faxing and the use of desktop fax machines as the default means of EHR data exchange.

That makes sense. Despite its interoperability, fax machines are built on very old technology and are highly prone to problems: paper jams, fax busy signals, transmission fails, etc. Which also means they’ve probably created more than their fair share of troubleshooting headaches for your IT team.

Fortunately, there is a way to both meet this “fax free zone” challenge and still allow your organization to derive the full benefit of faxing’s inherent interoperability. The solution is to migrate to a fully hosted, enterprise-caliber cloud fax platform.

This will allow your organization to:

  • Rid your offices of desktop fax machines and dedicated fax lines, and meet the CMS challenge—not in 2020, but almost immediately.
  • Remain HIPAA compliant with your faxing processes.
  • Maintain your ability to fax—and in fact make your staff’s faxing more secure, productive, convenient, cost-effective, and mobile than ever.

To learn more, read our white paper, Cloud Fax Remains the Cornerstone of Health Data-Exchange Interoperability.

Copyright © 2019 IDG Communications, Inc.