The end is near for the fax machine!

One less fax machine rang today. In that silence, a marching band worthy of John Phillip Souza should have blared in triumph. The silence marked the first nail in the coffin for the healthcare fax in Ohio, and soon, the nation.

I bet you’re thinking, what did I miss? This week, two of Ohio’s largest healthcare entities shared medical records securely and electronically, without a fax to be found.

From within their existing business systems, Ohio’s largest Medicaid Payer requested medical documentation from a large, Cleveland-based hospital system. Moments later, automatic alerts notified employees at the hospital system of the request.

They attached the requested information and sent it back to the payer, making a bit of healthcare history in the process.

OnBase Mackinac debuts in Ohio … historic for healthcare?

Why is this historic?

For well over 40 years, the healthcare industry has worked to facilitate payer-provider collaboration by eliminating paper, mail and fax. During the Obama administration, billions of taxpayer dollars were poured into our healthcare system in the hopes of increasing the use of electronic medical records to make data more readily available.

While this money certainly provided benefit to providers, patients and vendors of EMR software, these amazing new EMR islands remained connected to a device invented in 1873.

That silent fax machine changes everything this week. Now payers can collaborate digitally and securely in a matter of seconds. It’s historic because it removes a key impediment to patient care, appeals, claims payment and other clinical and administrative collaborations.

The fax: Born in 1873, wreaking havoc in healthcare today

Scottish inventor and entrepreneur Alexander Bain invented the fax machine in 1873. He was the Steve Jobs of the 1870s and combined electricity, chemistry and telegraphy to create the first fax machine. The use of which was revolutionary then, but is now profoundly problematic for healthcare.

In fact, 92 percent of respondents reported delays in patient care in a recent survey of physicians by the American Medical Association.

The fax plays a key role in these delays. And there are many more examples on the clinical side. In addition, the administrative burden for physicians, hospitals, insurers (i.e., payers) and patients is intense.

Fax machines affect quality, timeliness and cost of administrative transactions like claims payment and appeals. Silencing these stubborn machines is critical to improving the coordination of care and implementing value-based payment models.

I thought Mackinac was a bridge

It is! Mackinac connects the upper and lower parts of Michigan.

It’s also the name of a Hyland Healthcare project to develop solutions that “bridge the gap” by eliminating paper and fax from healthcare to improve collaboration, communication and reduce costs for healthcare organizations.

OnBase Mackinac leverages existing secure infrastructure to share data and documents between payers, providers, home health, skilled nursing facilities and other post-acute providers. The solution renders the fax properly silent, appropriately relegated to join the other technologies considered to be miraculous in the 1870s, but have become outdated today.

Learn more about this historic moment. Feel free to contact me at [email protected] with any questions.

Mike Hurley is a veteran health insurance expert and contributor to the Hyland Blog.
Mike Hurley

Mike Hurley

Mike Hurley is a veteran health insurance expert and contributor to the Hyland Blog.

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