An excellent article in Healthcare IT News (8/2012) on how fax remains the predominant form of communication for 63% of healthcare providers with experts saying fax will continue for decades. This article also begins to explain why.
Fax is an extension of paper and today’s computer fax systems integrate with any network, email system, mainframe, ERP, CRM, or ECM system, and all of the Health IT EMR/EHR and ePrescription systems in the health IT industry. Fax IS the interoperability standard for healthcare.
There are still 50 Million fax machines to replace out there. Fax is easy and ubiquitous, it just works and has always been reliable. Computer fax drives significant cost reductions as well as clinical and operational efficiencies. These provide major financial benefits to health providers and payers that know how to deploy the “new fax.”
The new fax, let’s call it “FaxWare” is all fax software. Its not the fax machines that were installed over the last 30 years. It’s high tech fax software that extracts data from faxes through OCR or barcodes, populates databases, routes faxes to correct mailboxes, integrates with systems, virtualized with VMware or Hyper-V, leverages VoIP infrastructure, helps meet HIPAA, HITECH regulations with security and audit trails, and can now be deployed either on fax servers on-premises, over the cloud, or both in a seamless hybrid system for “always on” business continuity. Faxes can now also be accessed and managed from Android and Apple tablets and phones for anywhere/anytime connectivity.
Fax needs a public relations facelift and there is a great story to tell. We intend to tell it. Anyone still associating fax with fax machines generating paper, using toner/ink over old dedicated PSTN telecom lines should take a new look at how this technology has been completely reinvented.