A great number of people believe that faxing is dead, but the truth is that there are some industries that rely on this type of communication on a daily basis. One of them is health care; despite the developments in digital messaging, doctors still need to use a fax machine due to different reasons such as policies and the industry culture itself.
Faxing as the Primary Form of Communicating
In some way, doctors offices seem like they have been stuck in time. We are not talking about the office where they receive patients, but that little room where they take care of paperwork like their patients’ records.
It’s in there where you can find the distinctive sound of a fax machine, a sound that takes us back to the 80s.
Sending and receiving emails is rarely used in hospitals and doctors’ offices, even with the development of online faxing which let’s you fax from email. But why?
It seems one of the primary reasons is simply because they have grown accustomed to it. When you use something long enough, you take it for granted and forget about other alternatives. This is what has happened to a big part of the industry. It’s how it works, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been other advances. For example, doctors have slowly switched to digital records in the past few years.
Unfortunately this seems to apply only within offices. There’s no electronic connection to other doctor’s office, so when they need to send the patient records, instead of simply sending the electronic file, they go through the whole process of printing the record, to then run it through a fax machine, then the doctor receiving the fax needs to turn this fax into a digital document. Pretty crazy right?
Why Doctors Should Ditch the Fax Machine
It’s not only bout speed and convenience. Relying on an old fax machine could prove to be harmful to patients, especially in an emergency situation and you need to get the patient information quickly.
Many times doctors have to wait more than a day to get the info simply because they are using outdated technology. You need to fax the document, check that the fax has arrived its destination, wait to receive the return fax, etc. And there are different problems that may arise at anytime like busy lines and paper jams. Meanwhile the doctor is trying to figure out what to do!
The Role of the Government
The Government has made some efforts to eliminate the fax machine, but so far they have not been 100% successful. As an example, many doctors switched to electronic records after the federal government gave monetary incentives to doctors as part of the 2009 stimulus plan, but as we have seen this didn’t stop fax machine-to-fax machine communication.
During the current administration, there are some regulations that are being left out in order to encourage health professionals to start using email instead of fax machines, but we’ll still have to wait how this impacts the health care industry in the medium term. Remember that the idea is to get rid of faxing within the next 5-10 years.
At the end, there is not much else the Government can do if the industry culture don’t want to make that jump.
Embracing A Better Way to Fax
Something that can really start making a difference is changing the way health professionals fax. We’ve come a long way since the heydays of faxing equipment, and if we want to change to digital ways of sharing information we can start by using email faxing.
Online fax works like the combination of faxing and email messaging. It is also known as email fax because you send and receive faxes like you do with emails. The fax contents are attached to the email message and then converted to a fax image that can be also received by offices that are still using fax machines.
In the same way, faxes will be converted to a digital file, more specifically a PDF when you receive them.
What’s better, with this way of faxing you can automate many of your tasks, freeing up more time to concentrate on the patient and speeding up the sharing of important documents. With this technology you’ll forget about dealing with a busy fax line because it automatically tries to send patient records or other documents until it is successful.
Receiving faxes will not take away your time. Thanks to an automatic process, faxes will arrive directly to your inbox, and you can read them quickly without having to print anything. Even if you are busy, you can get instant notifications via a cell phone app that will also let you resend nd check faxes.
But why aren’t more doctors using this technology?
Although a big part of the problem as we said before is culture, the truth is that many health professionals don’t know online fax exists! It’s been more than a decade since email fax services were introduced but we still encounter people who have never heard of it!
Other people think this technology is not secure enough to transmit important patient information, but that is not true. The top online fax providers out there all ensure their service complies with all the privacy and security regulations, and encrypt your data so it remains 100% secure during the whole transmission.
If you are a doctor and want to know more about online fax, it is a good idea to test drive one of these services and see how it can end up speeding up your office’s communications. There are different alternatives out there and they all offer a way to test them without paying at first.