The fax machine is old, unsafe, and inefficient office equipment. How can you be sure that patient information is safe? Are there always people watching the fax machine? The HIPAA regulations are clear, and there are severe penalties for non-compliance. The most excellent method for securely transferring patient records is still by fax, but not with a conventional fax machine. It’s easier for savvy administrators of medical offices to transition to cloud-based fax solutions.
The fax machine still has a position in many healthcare companies. It offers a reliable way to send and receive Protected Health Information despite a shift toward digital and paperless alternatives like email (PHI). Even though fax may seem archaic, cloud-based fax services have recently become more popular, boosting usability and the security of shared information. A mix of traditional faxing and email, cloud faxing allows users to send data in a digital format over a secure internet connection without needing expensive equipment. Thanks to this technology, you can send faxes using Gmail, or any other email provider of your choice.
It is crucial to understand whether your online fax service complies with HIPAA if you work as a healthcare practitioner or medical professional. When electronically faxing papers containing protected health information, it is necessary (PHI). You risk breaking the law and alienating your customers if you don’t have this feature.
Integrating a cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant fax solution into another healthcare practice has many benefits. These faxing solutions ensure that your fax activities and communications conform with the strict standards of the healthcare industry, in addition to simplifying routine business processes.
Healthcare practitioners and administrators already have a heavy workload. They don’t need to deal with a complicated fax system. You are directly impeding one of the most common components of healthcare management when you need to constantly verify and double-check fax information, shore up its security, update internal policies, and train staff on the newest technology with the latest compliance features.
Remember that just because you send a fax online over a secure network doesn’t mean it complies with HIPAA. It pays to exercise extra caution because not all online fax sellers abide by this government regulation.
Advantages of Cloud Fax Services
1. Improved Patient Confidentiality & Compliance
Healthcare institutions and their partners are very concerned about adhering to HIPAA’s strict industry regulations. However, maintaining HIPAA compliance for your practices requires time, money, and ongoing technological and human resources.
With a safe, cloud-based fax delivery solution, you can quickly expedite nearly all aspects of medical record interactions that are still critical today. In contrast to manual faxing or on-site fax servers, this not only means faster and more effective services within your business, but it also removes the risk of noncompliance from your shoulders.
The items listed below support this increased compliance:
- Business Associate Agreements (BAAs): For vendors, subcontractors and healthcare providers at all levels, BAAs work as trust chains. Anyone who has access to PHI or who might get access to it is required by HIPAA to sign and abide by these contracts. ReplixFax features user logs, notifications, and approved access restrictions built in that work with BAAs and best practices for handling PHI to comply with HIPAA.
- Datacenter with HIPAA audits: An SSAE-16 audited data center oversees and hosts your faxing service platform. This implies that your state-of-the-art office, computer systems, and data management team are continually evaluated following HIPAA’s changing regulations, year after year.
- Partners in Compliance Management: Because the solution is cloud-based, you have a resource available around-the-clock to support your vital fax data. This partner is equally accountable for its administration and must be as knowledgeable about HIPAA rules as you are, keeping your all-encompassing risk-management procedures.
2. More Stringent Data Security
The safeguards and preservation of PHI are at the heart of some of HIPAA’s most stringent requirements. Healthcare service firms cannot rest on their laurels because it is one of the most hacker-prone industries today and because of the large amounts of sensitive data and medical history it stores. Institutions must maintain a constant state of alertness by keeping an eye on their networks, implementing cyber-security measures, and working with vendors to reduce risks both now and in the future.
It’s not an easy task, but the following elements of a complete HIPAA-compliant fax service system can assist you in doing it:
- Sending faxes or interacting with system data requires a designated sign-in procedure, during which each user must first log into their password-protected account.
- Encryption of faxes: Using one of the most cutting-edge encryption techniques available, AES 256-bit, all faxes, files, and the protected health information (PHI) they contain sit encrypted when at rest within the cloud-storage system.
- Fax Data Recovery: The loss of patient data puts actual persons in danger, disrupting the operations of a healthcare institution or provider. Without a regular data backup solution to restore PHI and faxes in the case of an emergency or cyber threat, your reputation is at risk.
- Automatic Notifications: When a fax is launched, you may set up notifications to notify both the sender and the recipient. Due to better fax handling and sharper, real-time communication, less sensitive material will be queuing up.
- Authorized Access: You can configure your cloud-based fax API with authorized-only access, allowing a small number of people to log into the system. As a result, there are fewer opportunities for unwanted data access, viewing, transfer, and handling.
3. Integrated Auditing
The detailed and secure documentation of data, transactions, and processes is another part of HIPAA compliance. Faxing that complies with HIPAA regulations is the same, and organizations that don’t have adequate audit trails in place face harsh penalties and ramifications if they are discovered to be non-compliant.
A thorough, efficient auditing system that records and accounts for every item of correspondence is required due to the enormous volume of faxes and fax-related communications obtained in the healthcare sector. What you get from a cloud-based fax API solution is as follows:
The fax API system keeps track of all file activity, including additions, transfers, retrievals, deletions, and data search requests. This is the starting point for a simple audit trail protocol for you or your clients in the medical industry. Others include:
- User Activity Log: The system keeps track of every user action, which can be searched for and cataloged using the administrative tools you already have or additional integrated web services APIs.
- Fax audit trails are kept in one central location since the system keeps track of all incoming and outgoing faxes. A simple framework is in place for accountability for any audit request or compliance review.
- Annual SOC2 Reports: You can rest easy knowing that your data management is still HIPAA-compliant thanks to this comprehensive report on the data center hosting your PHI, which covers its service environment, practices, changes, and procedures.
- Delete HIPAA-Compliant Fax: The system supports industry-standard electronic file deletion, making it easier for many healthcare organizations or hosting providers to comply with regulations.
4. Simpler software Integration
You can integrate your client’s or your own present computer programs and applications through specifically designed Web Service APIs. With this software connection, business activities are less likely to be interrupted, employee training is cut down, and business can continue. You may also complete HIPAA-compliant fax-to-email conversion or link sharing in simple clicks with simplified software packages.
Additional characteristics of this integration include:
- Safe Fax Delivery: Use email over TLS or web over secure links to send faxes utilizing safer, security-enhanced delivery channels. A thorough, efficient auditing system that records and accounts for every item of correspondence is required due to the enormous volume of faxes and fax-related communications obtained in the healthcare sector. You get the following Safe Communications Portal with a cloud-based fax API system:
- Data corrections by fax: lessen the likelihood of incorrect data input and human error. Rephlex Healthcare Fax may retrieve simple data, such as fax numbers, from your current fax directories, including well-known programs like LDAP, Microsoft Active Directory, and IBM Domino Address Books.
- Additional Administrative Tools: Replix Healthcare Fax’s Web Service API allows you to integrate other administrative and fax-management duties.
Saving money and time is one of many goals. Your healthcare or medical organization will save time and effort by using a comprehensive, HIPAA secure efax solution, which is the first step for those in the industry.
Additionally, many cloud-based faxing applications prioritize people, from the staff members in your office to the patients themselves. You may be confident that your company is doing everything it can to secure medical information and satisfy the public’s increased demands, even as worries over data privacy and utilization become more and more pressing.
Faxes of medical records can be sent for as little as $0.01 per page, with inexpensive options starting at $8.33 per month.
Furthermore, iFax can provide the adaptability required to scale expanding organizations. You can begin with the most basic plan and upgrade as your business develops. All of this comes with the extensive feature set and first-rate technical assistance that iFax users have grown to rely on.