Barnes Healthcare Services (BHS) was founded in 1909 by Charles W. Barnes in a corner drug store in Valdosta, Georgia. The business has been passed down through three generations to Charles W. Barnes, III, whose vision, dedication to patients, and desire to be the best provider has grown the business to 15 locations in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Today, BHS is one of the largest privately-owned medical equipment companies in the country. With the buying power of such groups as Medgroup and VGM, all 15 locations are able to perform the same-day transfer of inventory from store to store, to make sure their home care patients are getting the best quality products and the highest level of care.
In early 2011, Barnes Healthcare Services was experiencing a crisis of confidence with its Web-based fax service because it was unreliable. Because the home healthcare industry remains largely fax-based, this was a significant issue BHS needed to address.
“The Web-based fax service we were using wasn’t reliable,” said Ben McLendon, Director, Information Technology at BHS. “We experienced issues, including the system being down frequently, and delayed delivery of faxes to our customers. The end result was a trust issue where customers began to doubt that we could communicate with them efficiently. We had to find a way to restore customer confidence and demonstrate that the faxes critical to their work and business would be delivered rapidly and without mistakes.”
Since new business communications at BHS are often delivered through a faxing service, it was also imperative to find a fax solution that allowed BHS to effectively interact with referral sources, which can be a doctor’s office, hospital, or clinic – any place where a patient is currently being treated but will eventually depart to receive care within their home. BHS sends and receives medical equipment orders, invoices, and prescriptions from doctors, physical therapists, and hospitals. “We receive some electronic orders but the industry is still predominantly fax-based,” said McLendon. “And since more than half of the faxed pages we receive come from referral sources, we needed a solution that addressed this important aspect of our daily business. The requirement for signed documents means a fax must also be sent for many prescriptions. If you have a patient that needs oxygen, that’s actually considered a drug and we have to have a signed prescription for that.”
BHS researched and found Biscom’s Hybrid Cloud Fax solution convenient and flexible, and included:
- Queue-based centralized administration and integration with Active Directory, enterprise applications, and email
- Transport Security Layer (TLS) encryption between the enterprise and Biscom’s Cloud Fax service
- Facilitate HIPAA, HITECH, SOX, PCI, SAS-70, GLB, and NIST compliance
- Send and receive faxes from Outlook, Exchange, SharePoint, Microsoft Office, and automated production applications
- Store faxes and fax data within a company’s enterprise, not archived on cloud-based servers
- Use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to integrate with MFPs, Health IT systems, and other internal applications
Going Beyond Hosted
McLendon notes that another valuable part of working with Biscom is not just its hosted cloud fax service, but also its hybrid functionality. “We like that Biscom’s hosted fax service is a hybrid solution where there is a single, identical user interface whether documents are processed on our in-house fax servers or via Biscom’s cloud fax servers. This gives us extra peace of mind regarding security, which is vital in a HIPAA environment.”
Supplementing a premises-based fax server with a hosted fax service provides the best of both worlds, ensuring uninterruptible fax connectivity and business continuity. During normal operations, the on-prem fax server is the primary fax system. However, should the fax server exceed its capacity, all fax traffic can automatically re-route to the hosted service — all with the same user interface. This is “always-on” faxing.
Barnes Healthcare Services has realized the following benefits with Biscom’s cloud fax service:
- Capability to add notes to faxes that helps with achieving HIPAA compliance: “Our users’ workflow requirements include a need to be able to access and manage comments on inbound faxes,” says McLendon. “To help achieve HIPAA compliance, our staff must be able to compose comments on these fax documents. The comments feature is incredibly important to us.”
- Accurately record the status of all fax documents through advanced tracking, routing, and reporting tools: “In many cases our employees fax clinical paperwork to physicians which require a signature,” McLendon said. “Biscom gives BHS a comprehensive ability to see and manage our fax history. Other systems we tried weren’t able to handle this as well as Biscom does.”
- Time savings by using “shared phonebook” functionality to avoid having to design and manage separate fax address lists: McLendon notes, “Biscom’s Shared Phonebook is better than that of other fax service systems. With many of the outbound faxes our employees are sending, the destination address doesn’t change. Not having to maintain separate phonebooks is a tremendous time-saver for BHS.”
- Non-stop business continuity, with the same user interface and no additional hardware or software investment, should the on-premises fax server ever go down. The Hybrid fax platform from Biscom also provides additional scalable fax resources, whenever needed, to handle peaks in the workflow.
According to Ben McLendon, “from a feature and functionality standpoint, Biscom is the best we’ve come across. We are now able to communicate with our customers without problems, and have re-earned their trust.”
Barnes Healthcare Services
- Unreliable Web-based fax service
- Delayed fax delivery
- Lost customer confidence
Biscom Hybrid Fax Platform
- Non-stop business continuity, with the same user interface and no additional hardware or software investment.
- Ability to access and manage comments on inbound faxes in order to achieve HIPAA compliance.
- Comprehensive ability to see and manage fax history through advanced tracking, routing, and reporting tools.