In medical facilities throughout the country, physicians, nurses, and staff are placing medical records in a tray, dialing a number, pressing send to fax private health information across town, across the state, or around the world. According to one private firm’s estimate, 75 percent of all health care communications are sent by fax. Isn’t it time we change this picture and #killthefax?
While industries such as banking, insurance, and education consider faxing a nearly antiquated form of communication, many in health care have not transitioned to the digital transfer of information. The fax’s endurance may be a symptom of regulations, technological limitations, or simply tradition. The lack of privacy for personal health information, the uncertainty and unreliability on the part of the end user, half-printed and missing pages, are all critical reasons to #killthefax.
In August, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced their goal to eliminate fax machines from physician offices by 2020. CMS Administrator Seema Verma noted that health care is stuck in a 1990s time warp — it is possible to keep patient data secure while sharing it with them. Verma challenged developers to help make doctors’ offices a fax free zone by 2020.
Recently released research dubbed, ‘Faxploit’, demonstrates how cyber criminals can now infiltrate a corporate network by exploiting all-in-one-printer-fax machines. The only thing required to carry out the attack is a fax number. Another reason to #killthefax.
Interoperability remains the key in accomplishing the #killthefax initiative.
Participation in health information exchange, such as OneHealth New Jersey, will not only help #killthefax in New Jersey but also allows health care providers to quickly access their patients’ data across disparate health care systems, reducing treatment delays and enhancing clinical decision making. The HIE supports patient care coordination and transitions of care by allowing health care professionals to access their patients’ most recent test results, procedures, diagnoses, and medications in a secure environment.
Why OneHealth New Jersey?
Secure exchange of PHI - Digital transfer of personal health information is secure.
More complete patient record - Helps improve patient encounters and health outcomes while avoiding duplication of labs and tests.
Audit trail - Audit trails are created for patient data accessed in the HIE.
Timely and efficient - Efficiencies of scale – information goes into the HIE once and is universally available to participating members of the health care team.
Patient engagement - Meet the requirement to offer patients an ONC certified patient portal while offering patients 24/7access to their longitudinal health record.