When it comes to IT infrastructure and software, interoperability equals efficiency. The ability for software applications to quickly communicate with one another, securely exchanging information, is crucial for organizations that work with thousands of patients and exchange tens of thousands of documents on a weekly or even daily basis. It’s the difference between a process that takes seconds and one that takes minutes. When multiplied by thousands of information exchanges, the result is hours of time and resources that ultimately effects the quality of service delivered to patients and the bottom line of the organizations providing the service.
Solving the Problem of Interoperability
A few years ago, the U.S. government made it their mission to bring the healthcare industry completely into the world of electronic health records, spending over 25 billion dollars to encourage hospitals and doctors to make the switch. The government relied on competing third party applications developers to create individual solutions that would work together to make document storage and transfer seamless. The result was the creation of numerous third-party EHR applications, many of which could not communicate with another to exchange information.
Compatibility quickly became an issue, and while the problem has subsided over the years, what has become known as information blocking (EHR system providers knowingly interfering with the electronic exchange of patient health information) is still an issue providers are confronting. The issue is especially problematic for smaller offices and independent physicians who cannot afford dedicated IT staff or complex architecture.
Bridging the Gap
The problem of interoperability is one of the leading reasons why healthcare organizations still choose fax as their number one way to send and receive protected health information between EHR applications. Modern fax servers like RightFax have the capability to not only integrate with leading EHR systems, they also provide numerous ways for healthcare organizations to send and receive faxes:
- Multifunction devices: fax servers integrate with printers and fax machines, allowing information stored in EHR systems to be sent using traditional fax telephony lines without having to be printed out and manually scanned into machines.
- Online faxing: faxes can also be bound to email messages and sent through modern fax channels, making them secure and HIPAA compliant.
Fax servers solve the modern interoperability problem by converting EHR data into a universal format that can be sent and received through a channel that is familiar to most systems. Fax remains the most secure, efficient and cost effective way for healthcare organizations and professionals to send and receive patient data without having to worry about whether the receiving system will be able to receive and read the data.