Written by on May 24, 2013
Categories: Blog Posts

With reimbursements dwindling and patient loads set to increase under the Affordable Care Act, health care organizations are seeking to create efficiencies wherever possible. As more and more physicians adopt electronic health record (EHR) technology, some are experiencing efficiencies and cost savings generated by moving from traditional faxing to virtual fax services integrated with their EHR systems.

Medical practices typically send a large volume of faxes—in many cases, practices send and receive thousands of pages per month. Faxing is preferred over email communication in the health care industry due to stringent rules about protecting patient health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Internet fax solutions allow medical practices to keep the security of faxing while reaping the benefits of electronic communications.

Fax-over-email services that are integrated into EHR systems can help increase efficiency and reduce costs, saving valuable time and resources for health care organizations. Below are nine ways virtual fax services can save medical practices time and money when integrated into EHR systems.

Integrated virtual fax services:

1. Eliminate the need to scan fax documents into the EHR and attach them to a patient record. Staff can attach incoming faxes directly to patients’ records without having to scan fax documents into the EHR, find the patient record and attach the scanned fax.

2. Enable practices to truly go paperless. Many physicians adopt EHR technology with the goal of going paperless in mind, but traditional faxing keeps them tied to paper documents. With virtual fax services, health care organizations can eliminate a large source of paper use and move one step closer to being truly paperless.

3. Streamline workflow processes. For instance, a nurse who needs to fax a patient correspondence document would not need to get up from her workstation  to retrieve the printed document, fax and scan it—she could complete all of these steps in moments without leaving her computer.

4. Eliminate the need to print patient documents from the EHR, scan and manually fax them. For instance, if a nurse needed to fax a patient’s progress note to a specialist, he or she could simply pull up that progress note and fax it to the specialist with a single click, rather than printing the progress notes and faxing it manually.

5. Eliminate the need to look up and dial fax numbers, and eliminate dialing errors. Because virtual fax services can be integrated with the contacts within an EHR system, staff doesn’t have to look up the fax number if the contact already exists in the EHR.

6. Are often less expensive than traditional fax lines. Virtual fax services eliminate the need for dedicated fax lines; medical practices just need an Internet connection and a virtual fax service provider. Practices can also save money on toner and electricity, since they would no longer need these things to operate a traditional fax machine.

7. Eliminate the need to make note of what documents have been faxed to pharmacies, specialists, etc. All successful faxes of patient documents are automatically added to the patient record following receipt of successful submission, so staff members don’t have to make a note that a document was faxed.

8. Free up office space. There’s no need for a big clunky fax machine or room to store all that paper, meaning clinics can do more with the space they have.

9. Help health care organizations maximize the return on investment in EHR. Leveraging the efficiencies created by integrating faxing into the EHR helps health care organizations more fully optimize use of EHR and leverage the full potential of the technology.

If your medical practice has an EHR system, are you leveraging the power of integrated virtual fax services? If not, ask your EHR partner what integrations are available. Momentum has partnered with EHR provider SuccessEHS to deliver these efficiencies to health care providers across 47 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Want to learn more about how new communication tools can help health care organizations improve patient care and increase practice performance? Check out some innovative collaboration tools for health care providers.

by: Meg Burton, Product Marketing Lead for SuccessEHS.