The challenge of keeping patient medical information secure has never been more significant than it is right now. While the popularity of faxing may have waned in other industries, sending and receiving patient information via fax is more widely used than ever before. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that the fax software used is HIPPA compliant.
Fax Machines are the Current Standard
When transmitting protected health information, it must be secured on both the sending and the receiving end. A few companies specialize in this service, with mFax being one of the most prominent in this space. While fax machines use older technology, the transmissions are complicated for individuals to hack into and provide a certain level of privacy that cannot be easily duplicated with email or other electronic means.
Fax Machines are a lot Older than You Think
The fax machine has been around for much longer than most people realize. The basis for the modern fax machine was invented by Italian inventor and physicist Giovanni Caselli back in the late 19th century. Originally called the Pantelegram, this early facsimile machine system was used to transport images over a telegraph wire since Caselli’s invention predates the invention of the telephone by some 30 years.
By the mid-1970s, the process had been refined to the point where a relatively small device could be used by small businesses to transmit images over telephone lines. This led to a boom in the industry in the mid to late 1980s, but with a price tag hovering around $20,000, the fax machine was still out of reach for most people. It was not until the mid to late 1990s, with the increased availability of the internet that faxing technology was taken to a whole new level.
Online Fax Services
Today, online faxing services fill a need that can’t be met by other electronic means. These services allow anyone to send a fax directly from their computer without needing a large, bulky fax machine, a fax server, or a dedicated phone line. The services also confirm to the sender when the recipient machine has received the complete fax transmission.
Using specialized encryption can help maintain patient privacy while a fax is being transmitted, and there are several ways that office staff can help ensure that protected information remains private. When expected patient information arrives by fax, it is the responsibility of the health care professional to safeguard the data once it comes into the office in the same way that other patient records are protected.
Advantages of Using an Online Service
Using a HIPPA compliant, cloud-based fax service has several advantages over the old-style fax machines, and security is one of them. Cloud-based faxing services provide the user with fewer chances of human error that compromises patient record privacy. This can provide peace of mind that protected information remains secure.
Lack of reliability concern is another reason to make the switch to a cloud-based service. Due to the inability to access needed repairs, downtime from a non-operational machine can cause a significant disruption in the way the office operates. A simple repair to a free-standing fax machine can take weeks to be completed once a qualified repair representative is found.
For the foreseeable future, faxing will be the principal medium of transmission for protected patient information. Cloud-based fax services allow for a safe and secure way to accomplish this task.