In the News: Fax Elimination

As you’ve probably heard by now, many health providers have been buzzin’ about fax elimination.  After CMS Administrator Seema Verma announced her plans to end the life of the fax machines in healthcare by 2020, it’s one of the biggest topics of conversation.  If you aren’t familiar, below are some resources to get you up to speed:

The Fax of Life

Years ago, healthcare providers were required to enter the digital world. Though several systems were already using EHR systems, it hadn’t been made mandatory with a deadline and penalties if failing to convert. One of the biggest flaws in this initiative was they weren’t connected to share patient date from office to office and system to system. Some of your most modern hospitals, using the most innovative technologies, still struggle to share patient information with other offices and resort to still using fax machines.

Faxing Still Leads the Way in These Industries

Lack of integration between different EHR systems internally and externally within a healthcare system isn’t the only thing keeping the fax machine alive.  Two big reasons healthcare providers haven’t ditched these dinosaur machines is security and compliance. In our digital world, hacking is growing more than ever to obtain personal information while also compromising patient data and violating HIPAA laws. In fact, instead of throwing out fax machines, healthcare providers have come to rely on them even more in recent years.

Read more about the future of fax

Fax machines are still common in medicine — and med students are puzzled when forced to use this ancient technology

One of the biggest issues with faxing in healthcare right now are millennials. Many don’t know what a fax machine is let alone how to use one. In an article published by CNBC, a medical student, Amol Utrankar, who was 22 at the time working a shift at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, shared his struggle to obtain medical records for a new patient from a smaller community hospital where a patient was treated previously. He had no prior experience using a fax machine and required the help of a nurse to figure it out. Utankar’s biggest concern with using the fax machine was he had no idea if the fax was received by the right person.

Does the Fax Machine Still Have A Place in Modern Healthcare?

Other than security reasons, it’s important to address another big reason why fax machines still exist.  The healthcare industry does not embrace change as quickly as some other industries have and do. That being said, fax machines still exist because it is what has been used for decades and medical professionals are “comfortable” using them. Obviously this mindset will change as younger professionals enter the medical field, but for now, older demographics making the decisions keep older processes around, such as fax communication, to avoid having to relearn new technology.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma calls for an end to physician fax machines by 2020

One of the main reasons fax elimination is one of the hottest topics in healthcare, is because of Seema Verma’s keynote presentation at an interoperability forum last year. Obviously, without legislation, it will be difficult to force medical professionals to toss their fax machines, but don’t be surprised if legislation develops in Washington, D.C. sooner rather than later to push this agenda.

Want to rid healthcare of fax machines? First, standardize prior authorization

Fun Fact: 90% of communication between provider and payer are still done by phone or fax. One place to start to eliminate faxing is the prior authorization process, something Vyne Medical has a lot of experience with already. Our Trace tools offer enterprise-wide voice, fax and image solutions to standardize processes, connect disconnected data and index all communication to each patient record within any EHR system.

How to use fax to get rid of fax

Lack of available technology is not what is preventing the replacement of fax machines.  In fact, several health systems have modernized their communications into digital formats, however, they still have a working fax machine for those offices that have not ditched theirs yet.  Often times the biggest reason against upgrading technology in healthcare is disrupting workflows. 

Learn how Vyne Medical is helping hospitals eliminate fax machines

For more information on how Vyne Medical can help eliminate the fax machine in your hospital, contact us.

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Laurel Zevitz