A 3-step approach to eliminate healthcare faxes in 2018

Throughout 2017, I heard a repeating theme from executives, colleagues, customers, partners and prospects: “Hurley, you’re impatient!”

I embrace my impatience as both a character flaw and asset. I wonder why people perceive it as such a negative. I think we need a greater sense of urgency about some key problems in healthcare. I am not interested in fixing it “someday.” I want to fix it now. Yesterday would be better, but right now will do.

And one thing we can fix right now is the fax. By fix, I mean eliminate every single fax machine in healthcare.

Of course, I want to get going right now. Here’s why. 

The problem with faxing

As noted in her excellent article entitled The Fax of Life, author Sarah Kliff describes in painful detail why faxing in healthcare are such a problem.

“It is the cockroach of American medicine: hated by doctors and medical professionals but able to survive — even thrive — in a hostile environment,” said Kliff.

Here are just some of the problems with faxes:

  • Faxes are difficult to read. They are blurry and typically cut off or hide the most important information.
  • Transmitting faxes is time consuming, prone to error and often require a phone call to confirm they arrived.
  • Faxes are not secure, as they often sit in the center of medical offices where personal health information (PHI) can be unintentionally revealed.
  • Faxes are dumb. Virtually no data on the fax is computer readable and therefore a staff member must rekey it into systems, introducing potential accuracy issues.
  • Faxes are expensive, as they often require human intervention to print, feed, confirm, review and enter information.

 3 things we can do

Like cockroaches, faxes are difficult to get rid of, but not impossible. Here are some things we can do right now, especially if you are in Ohio or Kentucky:

     1. Become part of the OnBase Mackinac network

Numerous Ohio Payers, Providers and Post-Acute organizations began adopting OnBase Mackinac starting in September, 2017. Mackinac helps by creating secure electronic workflows between healthcare organizations. These workflows, including medical documentation requests, claims attachments (solicited and unsolicited), appeals, HEDIS, Risk Adjustment and Prior Authorization, eliminate faxes! Organizations send and receive data and documents without complex system integrations.

The pay-as-you-go model is simple, inexpensive and available now.

     2. Opt for the cloud.

We originally developed Mackinac for the thousands of healthcare payers and providers that use OnBase, our enterprise information platform. Then, on January 15, 2018, we released a cloud-based solution that allows non-OnBase healthcare organizations to participate in the Mackinac network and its workflows.

This secure, cloud-based offering can be up and running in hours. It will empower your healthcare organization to put your fax at the curb at remarkable speed.

     3. Enhance EDI efforts

While Mackinac can handle most things that electronic data interchange (EDI) can’t handle today, EDI plays a vital role in an overall solution for eliminating faxing in healthcare. What I am hearing from customers and prospects is that the key challenges with EDI are limited use cases, slow adoption and expensive programming efforts to enhance EDI solutions.

Those are challenges, but EDI can be an effective solution for some high-volume transactions. Especially in conjunction with a solution that securely exchanges information electronically, guarantees delivery and facilitates collaboration.

Getting impatient about eliminating faxes

Urgency and impatience can drive change. The use of fax machines is clearly a problem in healthcare.

When are we all going to stop saying, “It’s just always been that way, we fax stuff.”?

2018 can be the year we eliminate fax. But we need you to grow impatient, fast.

I welcome your comments. Please post a comment or a good story about why you think we should be impatient with faxing below. Or come talk to me in booth 5743 at HIMSS in March. Thanks for reading.

This blog post was originally published on LinkedIn.



Mike Hurley

Mike Hurley

Mike Hurley is the industry manager for Health Insurance at Hyland, helping health insurance organizations transform business processes that drive value for members, providers and employees. Mike works with current and prospective customers to use our award-winning product, OnBase, to drive business transformation. He is also responsible for our high-value, high-impact health insurance solutions, the like Mobile Medicare Enrollment Solution for OnBase. Prior to joining Hyland, he was the founder and president of Swim Lane Software, LLC. Hurley founded Swim Lane in 2007 to create a solution that leveraged Software as a Service (SaaS) technology to automate the processing and adjudication of Medicare Claims through unique use Business Process Management (BPM) and Business Rules Management Systems (BRMS) technologies. Preceding Swim Lane, he founded Green Square in 1997 as a national consulting practice that connected technology with business strategy. As a boutique services firm, Green Square was aimed at driving stakeholder value at over 25 BlueCross BlueShield plans in the U.S. Prior to Green Square, Hurley founded Avalon Technologies, Inc., an award-winning systems integrator focused on Enterprise Content Management (ECM), workflow and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies.

1 Response

  1. It is always laborious when asked to handle multiple faxes for one or more recipients. Especially when required to get scalable fonts and colors printed accurately. I happen to read through your blog and found it awesomely interesting. I have also similar thought on eliminating faxes using either Network or Cloud Services. I would also like to suggest that one can delete the repeated fax machines that are connected to Home Network and then halt receiving multiple faxes. Nevertheless email faxes also works exceptionally well and does certainly breaks down the redundancy.

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