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It’s time to take a closer look at faxing in the ambulatory setting

Jan 24, 2023

The pandemic drove many CIOs and technology leaders to quickly shift gears and embrace new workflows and supporting technologies. Now that the dust has settled, many of these leaders are resuming initiatives that were paused during the pandemic. They also seek fresh ways to conserve valuable internal resources, reduce finances, and improve provider efficiency and patient satisfaction. In response, Forward Advantage is spreading a new message in the new year: sharing your EHR-integrated faxing solution with your ambulatory environment benefits everyone. It benefits your bottom line, your IT staff, your providers across the continuum of care, and most importantly – your patients.

See below for some top reasons why it may be time to take a closer look at faxing in your ambulatory setting.

Consolidations are on the rise

If you have one, unified EHR for acute and ambulatory, consider unifying your fax solution for many of the same benefits, including:

  • ONE solution to manage (no need to purchase, implement, and maintain another solution for non-acute locations)

  • Faster transitions of care with more timely and complete patient information

  • Greater accountability with built-in audit trails across the enterprise

It’s a win-win scenario if your faxing solution is easily expandable and supports on-demand, automated, and cloud-based workflows for outbound and inbound faxing. Everyone benefits – from acute care to primary care, to specialty care and everywhere in between.

Ambulatory locations may have lost inbound fax functionality

If your hospital has a consolidated EHR with your ambulatory environment, then you are ahead of the curve. EHR consolidation makes a lot of sense in most scenarios, and I touched on some of these above. However, there are instances where consolidating EHRs may result in a loss of inbound faxing functionality for your ambulatory locations. If these clinics were using an ambulatory faxing solution that accommodated inbound workflows, then it’s important that your unified faxing solution accommodates this functionality across the enterprise. A streamlined, electronic workflow for inbound faxes saves valuable time and prevents wasted resources and errors associated with printing and scanning. Patients benefit as well from a more accurate and complete medical record.

EHR integration helps close the communication gap

Recent conversations with customers revealed a communication gap between primary and specialty care. Faxing without EHR integration can lead to a lack of information prior to a patient’s visit. This creates frustration for providers which then trickles down to their patients who may experience delayed or inadequate care without:

  • Discharge notes

  • Medication lists

  • Imaging reports

  • Advance directives

EHR-integrated faxing provides access to real-time patient information, which encourages better communication among care teams and more efficient transitions of care.

Paper-based faxing with printing & scanning is still out there

Faxing continues to be essential to healthcare as an affordable, reliable, and secure means to exchange information. Modern faxing solutions have come a long way with EHR integration, automated deliveries, and additional delivery options like email or secure text for real-time clinical alerts. Despite these benefits, not everyone has embraced modern faxing. Clinics and other ambulatory locations that still rely on traditional, paper-based faxing typically struggle with:

  • Costs associated with telecom vendors, hardware maintenance, and wasted paper and ink.

  • Wasted time spent monitoring and troubleshooting

  • A lack of accountability without built-in auditing

  • Errors associated with manual printing, scanning, and filing

  • HIPAA compliance from documents left unsecured on fax machines

  • Limited flexibility for remote employees

  • Inefficient patient care due to delayed or lost referrals, supporting clinical information, and/or insurance forms.

The takeaway

Better access to information leads to better patient care. We want to help you provide the best care possible at every stage – from acute, to primary, to specialty, and everywhere in between. Unifying your EHR and faxing solutions across the enterprise is a great way to achieve this goal while saving on resources and costs with a single-solution approach.

Our Communication Director System has replaced legacy faxing solutions and paper-based workflows at countless hospitals and health systems. This MEDITECH-integrated solution is highly flexible to work with other EHRs, systems, and specialty software, making it quick and easy to expand to other departments and your ambulatory environment.

Wondering if a single-solution approach makes sense for your organization?

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