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Healthcare needs to catch-up; it’s time to #killthefax

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 healthcare 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 healthcare 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 & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced their goal to eliminate fax machines from physician offices by 2020. CMS Administrator Seema Verma noted healthcare 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 KHIN, will not only help #killthefax in Kansas but also allows healthcare providers to quickly access their patients’ data across disparate healthcare systems, reducing treatment delays and enhancing clinical decision making. The HIE supports patient care coordination and transitions of care by allowing healthcare professionals to access their patients’ most recent test results, procedures, diagnoses, and medications in a secure environment.
Why Kansas Health Information Network (KHIN)?
  • 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 healthcare team.
  • Patient engagement
    • Meet the requirement to provide patients an ONC certified patient portal that offers 24/7 access to their longitudinal health record.
To learn more about KHIN’s #killthefax initiative, visit