Faxing services remain an integral part of the medical industry because they offer an efficient way to transfer information. Faxing, however, is not always secure. Major vulnerabilities can compromise a provider’s clinical data or patient health information (PHI). Here we’ll explain how faxing works and offer a method of HIPAA-compliant faxing.
What is Faxing, and Is It Secure?
Faxing is a process that scans a document, converts it into a picture file (.TIF), and sends it to another fax machine or desktop application. Fax is typically sent through phone lines; a fax machine “calls” another fax machine, and sends the information through. Many practices use fax machines, but most are unaware of the glaring vulnerabilities:
- Anyone with access to phone lines can tap into a phone line and retrieve sensitive information sent through fax, like patient health information
- Fax machines are left on, making information available to anyone
- Most fax machines do not properly encrypt documents for HIPAA compliance
- Fax machines often have internal saved copies of documents, these can be stolen
It is important to note that regular faxing may or may not be HIPAA compliant, as the general rule is vague.
Utilizing HIPAA-Compliant PrognoFax
The vulnerabilities of regular faxing are becoming a bigger issue because of the increased regulation of PHI. Using HIPAA-compliant methods of faxing such as using a Content Delivery Service (CDS) will protect your practice from breaches. A CDS is a third-party faxing service that stores your fax on a server and encrypts it when sent. Because your fax is on a server, you do not have to deal with common faxing problems such as machines being in use or offline, being out of paper or ink, or being out of memory for saving incoming faxes, because it is done electronically.
As a PrognoCIS Productivity Feature, we offer PrognoFax. PrognoFax was developed to combat the fax content delivery vulnerabilities associated with delivery via telephony infrastructure. PrognoFax uses a Content Delivery service that takes content from PrognoCIS and delivers it to a PrognoCIS Content Delivery service partner. The content is encrypted, enabling the CDS to deliver faxes to the end-user with a high degree of success.
Prognofax increases productivity, as staff can fax online or via email without having to manually input through a fax machine. Users avoid costly fees for in-house fax servers and outdated fax machines. Prognofax is a cloud-based service, where users across the workplace can share and upload files.
An In-Depth Look at Faxing through PrognoCIS
PrognoCIS uses two methods to receive faxes: from a fax machine or through a Content Delivery Service. The fax is then sent to our desktop application BizFax, where BizFax sends the item to the PrognoCIS client.
Inbound Faxing Method 1: Fax Machine
Faxing with a fax machine is quite simple: The fax is sent from a fax machine to a computer. The fax machine sends the picture file (.TIF) and forwards it to a fax folder on your computer. The upload utility then moves the file from the designated upload folder to the Messages Attach folder within PrognoCIS.
The relocated file is then found in a folder in PrognoCIS under the tab Messages > Attach listed under “Fax Folder” selected from the pull-down menu. From there the office staff can properly label and move the file to the correct patient chart.
Inbound Faxing Method 2: eFax Services
Unlike regular faxing, eFax is a hybrid service much like PrognoFax, which utilizes an external Fax Content Delivery Provider to deliver content to an email account. This service provides a distinct advantage because the content is being delivered to a server that is on all the time. This enables the eFax user immunity to common problems associated with fax. When a user logs on to his email, the fax message is waiting for him to process.
Delivering the fax first, a Fax Content Delivery Provider receives the inbound fax and converts it to an attachment. The attachment is linked to the recipient’s email address, and the content is sent via email. The attachments are then stored in a folder set up for incoming faxes, transferred through BizFax into PrognoCIS.
Outbound faxing occurs in the reverse manner inbound faxing does. Once the message is composed, and a good fax number is provided, the content is ready to be sent. Content from PrognoCIS is sent via the BizFax utility onto and BizFax sends the content to the fax machine or fax modem.
Outbound Faxing Method 1: Fax Machine
As mentioned earlier, any number of issues on the receiving fax end can result in the content not being delivered.
Outbound Faxing Method 2: PrognoFax
As previously stated, PrognoFax was developed to manage the fax content delivery challenges associated with delivery via telephony infrastructure. PrognoFax uses a Content Delivery service. That service takes content from PrognoCIS and delivers them to a PrognoCIS Content Delivery service partner. The content is sent in an encrypted format. That partner then manages the Fax delivery to the end-user with a high degree of success.
The faxing process is essential for office productivity. Contact one of our experts to learn more about using PrognoFax for your practice.