New technology may have replaced faxing in some industries, but it is still highly prevalent in healthcare. In fact, Bloomberg Law recently reported that at least 70% of healthcare providers still exchange medical information using a fax machine. Why is this? Faxing is familiar, efficient, and generally affordable. In many cases, it’s the only report delivery solution available to healthcare organizations and practices without resources for more sophisticated interoperability. However, like all technology, your faxing solution should be periodically reviewed for peak performance and optimal workflows. Below are three low-cost tips to help your organization get the most value from faxing.
1. Keep your contacts clean
Reach out one or two times per year to the recipients in your database to confirm contact details (fax number, email address, etc.). This is the simplest step for ensuring the health of your system, but you’d be surprised by how this general maintenance can improve delivery rates. Many electronic faxing/information exchange solutions can be set up to automatically notify you if contact information (like fax # or email address) is incorrect, and we encourage you to take advantage of this functionality if available.
2. Add a document filing solution
A major benefit to an electronic document filing solution is that incoming documents can be automatically placed in a hold queue. These documents are managed electronically without having to print and scan, which saves paper and time, while also reducing manual errors.
Adding an electronic document filing solution can add additional benefits beyond native EHR scanning and is also helpful when integrated with a faxing solution. Consider the following when deciding what functionality is needed at your organization:
You may find the tools native in your EHR are best for intaking scans for patients who are already registered at the hospital and have an account number or a visit date. EHR functionality may also work best for documents that are bundled per patient.
However, other tools may work better for filing documents that contain information on multiple patients, information for patients not yet registered at the hospital, or documents with many pages that require splitting between multiple visits. Native EHR functionality may be the best fit for one department, but another solution may be better for a department handling documents like standing orders for patients that have yet to present at your facility. Thoroughly outlining your workflows will help identify the right solution.
The ability to send documents directly to your faxing solution from your electronic filing solution when they need rejection can create streamlined workflows. Using an electronic desktop faxing solution (instead of a traditional fax machine) eliminates printing and provides an audit trail.
3. Consider consolidation
Check for consolidation opportunities for faxing across other offices and departments. Don’t forget ambulatory offices, off-site branches and other departments that are now onboard with your unified EHR. The EHR they came from may have had built-in faxing they need to replace, or maybe they’re using physical fax machines. Consider how you can streamline their workflows using solutions you already have like electronic desktop faxing or faxing automation.
Forward Advantage recommends making a detailed outline of all your faxing workflows, while considering that your EHR’s native functionality may be enough for some departments but not others. There are various tools on the market designed to help with faxing workflows, including our Communication Director and RapidFiler solutions:
Communication Director – Integrates with most EHRs, clinical applications and back-office systems so organizations only need to maintain one faxing system. With the flexibility of traditional fax, cloud-based faxing or both, Communication Director is a powerful, highly flexible solution. It can be customized using SmartRoutes to accommodate a variety of delivery methods and preferences. This includes the ability to automatically generate a notification upon failure if delivery information like fax number or email address is incorrect. Automatic notifications of failed deliveries help ensure the successful distribution of important reports and information.
RapidFiler™ – Allows users to electronically process incoming documents and file them in MEDITECH. This electronic process reduces paper waste from printing and scanning, and it saves users time across all departments (including ambulatory) by streamlining workflows. RapidFiler™ works with Communication Director or any third-party application capable of performing a file drop.
Forward Advantage has been in the healthcare IT space for nearly three decades, and Communication Director is our flagship solution for faxing and enterprise-wide information exchange. Tap into our expertise for better faxing workflows in the new year.