The following is a guest post was provided by Casper Manes on behalf of GFI Software Ltd.
Health care practices, laboratories, and insurance agencies all found their worlds radically changed with the passage of HIPAA. Years later, people are still trying to figure out whether or not what they do meets the requirements of HIPAA because the legislation has several requirements, but does not provide specific guidance on how to meet those. Faxing, which is one of the most interoperable ways for those in healthcare to exchange information, is often a pain point because the technology was developed without considering the security requirements that HIPAA now imposes. Fortunately, fax server software can both modernize your faxing services, and make it easy to fax in a HIPAA-friendly way.
To really appreciate how fax server software can help you with HIPAA, let’s review what it takes to send and receive faxes with HIPAA in play. For users to send a fax, they have to print out the document they want to send and a cover sheet. Then they have to walk it all over to the fax machine and feed it into the machine. They can then dial the recipient’s fax number from the speed dial, let the machine dial the connection, and wait for the fax to send. Then they take the delivery confirmation report, staple the whole pile together, and file it away; or maybe they dump it in the shredder bin. Finally, they update the fax log. Either way, that’s a lot of paper wasted, a lot of time wasted, and a very inefficient way to send a fax. If someone wants to send this user a fax, they either have to look for a phone call or an email letting them know a fax was sent, or make it a habit to check the fax machine regularly to see if a fax has come in, since we cannot have faxes containing PHI left sitting in the output bin. Once the fax is received, it gets logged in the book, and then filed away. This might even include scanning it into the EMR/EHR application so it is attached to a patient’s records. Again, this is a very inefficient use of time and not a very secure way of moving information. Now let’s look at the sending and receiving processes when fax server software is involved.
A user needs to send a fax to another office. They open their email client, attach the document to the email, pick the recipient from their address list, and hit send. That’s it. To receive a fax, they just wait for their email client to tell them they have a new message. Again, that’s it. Fax server software handles all the behind the scenes work of making connections, adding cover sheets, logging faxes with delivery confirmation reports, queuing up faxes to be sent, and delivering received faxes right to the user’s inbox. No one standing at a machine; no piles of paper mounding up, and no chance something gets missed or falls through the cracks. Fax server software handles all the manual work of faxing so the users don’t have to. And if that incoming fax needs to be added to the EMR/EHR package, fax server software can route the received fax to a network folder that the records application monitors, automating the process; no printing, no scanning.
With fax server software on the job, HIPAA-friendly faxing is fast, efficient, and easy to handle. Users can use the email software they are already familiar with, and audit trails are automatic. Implement fax server software in your office today to provide HIPAA-friendly faxing to your users.
GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on the importance fax server software.
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