Recently, we read an article in the New York Times that detailed how the Fax Machine is causing a bottleneck for the U.S. coronavirus response because of their reliance on the old, yet still much needed fax technology. Our hearts go out to all the frontline healthcare workers who are battling COVID-19 day after day for us. As the makers of modern, online faxing software, we understand hundreds of hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies need secure, online faxing that saves time and money by enabling skilled healthcare professionals to do their jobs instead of waiting for faxes. And so, in this post, we’d like to show you how many of the problems outlined in the New York Times article could be mitigated through our GFI FaxMaker solution.
Overwhelmed by Paper? Start Faxing Online
The Harris County Public Health department official described the day a large batch of test results sprayed hundreds of pages all over the floor. Washington State brought in 25 members of the National Guard just to manually enter results not reported electronically and health officials across the U.S. are continually being vexed by the typical fax machine’s “blurry printouts and analog data”.
Paperless faxing won’t resolve the coronavirus crisis, but it can help you reduce the hours spent by human resources to deal with the output of paper faxing. In the future, it’s also likely that you’ll need to ensure important paper-based healthcare data is scanned and digitized to be appended to a patient’s electronic health record (EHR).
GFI FaxMaker helps skilled healthcare professionals securely send faxes online, allowing them to do their jobs instead of waiting for faxes. Unlike a paper fax, email to fax processes sends multiple page faxes as quickly as you can hit the send button. With GFI FaxMaker, you can send and receive faxes through the web, via your installed email, by “printing” a fax through a NetPrintQueueFax2 printer driver, or through third-party tools that use APIs. The GFI customer, Windsor Health Plan Inc., found that employees adapted very quickly to sending and receiving faxes via their desktop and no longer needed to print documents, take them to a physical fax machine, or make multiple trips to verify if the fax was sent successfully or not.
Data Moving too Slow? Get Efficient Online Faxing
Dr. Shah of the Harris County Public Health department tells the New York Times of how doctors have faxed coronavirus tests to his personal number, which then have to be printed and walked over to the epidemiology department. Dr. Mark Escott of Austin and Travis County tells of how he receives over 1,000 paper faxes a day, including duplicate results and how on average, it takes 11 days to receive the results, making contact tracing futile. Moreover, even though public health officials in the U.S. complete half a million tests a day, they are currently unable to handle the “avalanche of results” they are receiving.
The Council of Affordable Quality Healthcare estimates that providers could save a minimum of 1.1. million labor hours a week by using electronic transactions instead of manual processes. Electronic faxing lets you easily route faxes to specific email inboxes, even if the fax is sent to a mobile phone, it can be automated to triage to the right floor or person who’s waiting for the information. If a fax comes into your system that doesn’t meet the rules you’ve set up for a sender or recipient, you can route these faxes to a secure, monitored inbox. Additionally, you can also store all faxes in a database, making searching and duplicate detection much easier to accomplish. And finally, if the information is received electronically rather than via paper, it’s much easier to transfer information from one system to another with minimal human involvement, thereby reducing errors.
Misplaced and Misdirected Faxes Endangering Compliance? Get Secure and Effective Online Faxing
Of the 1000 faxes Austin and Travis County receive a day, Dr. Mark Escott tells the New York Times that often some of those faxes are actually meant for other jurisdictions. While Dr. Shah’s team needs to take his misdirected faxed tests sent from doctors and place them in a physical envelope marked confidential before delivering them to the right department.
Manual dialing often leads to mis-sent faxes. Although a typical fax machine does contain an address book, many healthcare providers have more than one fax machine, whereby the address book can’t be shared, leaving people to be responsible for adding and updating addresses across a range of machines. GFI FaxMaker uses an active directory, which addresses the common issues of mis-dialing numbers, and therefore, reducing the risk of faxes containing personal information going to the wrong places or left out in the open for anyone to see.
For more information about the benefits for healthcare providers to switch to online faxing, read our whitepapers:
- Meeting Healthcare Compliance and Legal Needs with GFI Fax and Archiving Software
- Issues Related to the use of Faxing and Security and Compliance in Healthcare
Find more relevant white papers for the healthcare industry here, or watch our detailed demo of our GFI FaxMaker solution.