What Is Enterprise Faxing, Really? (part 2)

We toss around the term “enterprise faxing” on a regular basis in our blog and websites. However, it’s worth taking a closer look at this phrase to see just what it is—and isn’t. So, for the next few weeks, we’ll very briefly break down some of the most essential attributes of an enterprise fax solution.

Last time, we talked about the nature and necessity of scalable enterprise faxing, and left off with the observation that documents tend to fluctuate not only in volume, but also in source.

That leads to this week’s main point: almost by definition, enterprise faxing must provide for integration with multiple document sources.

A lot of information (but certainly not all of it!) arrives digitally these days. Even in organizations lacking OCR data capture solutions, most papers are eventually scanned, which leads to even more digital volume.

The value of a fax environment that can exploit digital document availability is therefore pretty hard to argue with. And along those lines, since electronic sources include everything from emails to network storage to back-end systems, a broad range of compatibility is awfully helpful. Since the highest-volume customers (e.g., Fortune 500 firms) demand such complex and robust integrations, OpenText has taken fax compatibility to a remarkable level in the latest version of RightFax.

A full listing and explanation of RightFax integrations is outside the scope of this post. For now, suffice it to say that virtually every major workplace application (like Exchange and SharePoint), ERP system, EMR / EHR software, and so forth is covered, either out of the box or via a straightforward module.

Now, one might astutely point out that numerous and flexible integrations are no good if data cannot be kept private. And that’s absolutely true. After all, from finance to law to healthcare, the duties and penalties around compliance are considerable. For that reason, we believe that true enterprise faxing is also highly secure. Next week we will look more closely at the topic of fax security, and meanwhile, we welcome your inquiry!

We’d love to hear more about your own experiences with faxing, both enterprise and otherwise. Whether we’re preaching to the choir or offering a completely different perspective, feel free to chime in!

What Is Enterprise Faxing, Really? (part 1)

We toss around the term “enterprise faxing” on a regular basis in our blog and websites. However, it’s worth taking a closer look at this phrase to see just what it is—and isn’t. So, for the next few weeks, we’ll very briefly break down some of the most essential attributes of an enterprise fax solution.

Today, let’s start this little series with one of the biggest buzzwords in IT: scalability.

Why does it matter in the context of digital fax solutions and services? In the long run, it’s extremely important that a fax environment can smoothly grow with demand. Expansion should be easy and affordable, and it must be equally reliable and functional regardless of fax volume.

Conversely, a small-scale solution stretched beyond its limits in a desperate attempt to provide some modicum of fax access throughout a company just isn’t an enterprise solution. Unfortunately, that’s often the case when organizations begin with a few standalone fax machines and enjoy quick growth in business—and in fax usage.

Granted, such an arrangement may work for a little while, but we regularly see these ‘solutions’ cause headaches that just don’t occur in scalable environments.

As opposed to such a haphazard system, an enterprise-grade fax environment is purposefully architected. It is scaled to current business needs (including occasional peaks and even new, upcoming offices/facilities) but retains the freedom to increase/decrease capacity as conditions change. Otherwise—as often occurs with more improvised solutions—fluctuations in volume can make it tough simply to keep up.

And as documents grow in number, it’s likely that they come from increasingly diverse sources. Check back next time as we find out why a ‘source-agnostic’ design is critical to enterprise faxing. Meanwhile, feel free to contact our RightFax experts to learn more.

We’d love to hear more about your own experiences with faxing, both enterprise and otherwise. Whether we’re preaching to the choir or offering a completely different perspective, feel free to chime in!

Fax in the News – A Better Way to Share Medical Records

A local NPR affiliate recounts some disturbing disconnects between users of ostensibly electronic health records:

Technology entrepreneur Jonathan Bush says he was recently watching a patient move from a hospital to a nursing home. The patient’s information was in an electronic medical record, or EMR. And getting the patient’s records from the hospital to the nursing home, Bush says, wasn’t exactly drag and drop.

“These two guys then type — I kid you not — the printout from the brand new EMR into their EMR, so that their fax server can fax it to the bloody nursing home,” Bush says.

(Proper digital fax implementation could have prevented this situation. But more on that in a moment!)

Measures like the HITECH Act have led to $30 billion in public support for EMR adoption since 2009. However, whereas a certain EMR may make communications a breeze within the institution, it does not necessarily help communication with institutions using different software. As Medicare incentives for efficient communication (e.g., avoiding duplicate tests) continue to grow, and general demand for inter-compatible records increases likewise, the door has been flung open for newer, cloud-based EMR vendors.

However, federal interoperability standards remain years away, which means healthcare providers must find other, more cost-effective solutions in the meantime. For many of our clients, this involves the use of secure healthcare fax solutions or services—albeit far more strategically than described in the quote above.

Native fax integrations are available for practically all major EMRs, like Cerner, Epic, GE/IDX, and NextGen (among dozens of others). Most importantly, these integrations allow users to receive faxes directly into the software, which eliminates the need for printing or hand-entering data. So, instead of dealing with paper in the example from earlier, the hospital could have:

  1. Received a fax electronically, no printouts required
  2. Automatically routed that fax into its EMR (even into a specific patient file, after recognizing barcodes or other unique identifiers)
  3. Automatically sent the fax to the nursing home’s EMR (which could benefit from a similar workflow of its own)

Now that’s more like it. And if paper is simply inevitable—perhaps as part of a billing or patient registration workflow—its data can still be automatically captured and extracted. Long story sort, there is simply no reason to remain captive to paper while awaiting universal EMR standards. To learn more, simply contact us to schedule a complimentary healthcare fax consultation or workflow review at your convenience.

Announcing ABBYY FlexiCapture for Invoices!

As resources get tighter and compliance mandates grow, we’re willing to bet your AP department is closely scrutinized with regard to metrics like:

  • Invoice processing time and cost
  • Collection time
  • Invoice visibility
  • Data entry accuracy

Unfortunately, manual data entry is a major obstacle to improving all of the above. For the majority of AP departments not fortunate enough to receive solely EMI/XML invoice, manual processing is painfully slow—and often rather error-prone.

Thankfully, ABBYY has released a new version of its market-leading FlexiCapture application, created to meet the needs of Accounts Payable department straight out of the box, with little to no additional configuration or set-up in most cases.

Take a moment to educate yourself on this exciting offering, and check out the full announcement and invoice capture datasheet now.

Got questions? We’re always happy to chat, so simply drop us a line at your convenience!

Fax in the News: A Prescription for Health Info Security

The Anthem records breach is old news by now, as is what occurred on a smaller (yet still enormous) scale at Tennessee’s Community Health Systems. Whence these egregious security gaps? According to an article in Fortune, email may be largely to blame.

It turns out that, besides Aetna, health care insurers fared abominably in a recent analysis of corporate email security protocols. According to the founder and CEO of Agari, the firm responsible for the study, “The poor folks in health care have traditionally not had much digital interaction. They’re the ones furthest behind by a country mile.”

Whether concerning email, fax (our niche, of course), or still other means of communication, this is a tremendously important insight that resonates perfectly with our own experience. In stark contrast to the social media enterprises that topped the study’s rankings—enterprises borne of and into a digital world—most health care firms predate electronic communications by decades.

Eagerness to implement the latest technology and its concomitant security measures is just not in the DNA of most insurers. Thus, they often adopt standards later due to a) cost pressure and/or b) legislative pressures (e.g., HIPAA). This dynamic creates a perfect storm of lagging technology and extremely urgent implementation, in which security concerns may fall victim to more pressing concerns.

However, simply impugning the security practices of health insurers isn’t helpful. Our goal—our responsibility, even—is to point out that fax may represent a more familiar and cost-effective way forward. Like email, it entails a desktop- and MFD-accessible workflow, completely digital and paperless if customers so desire. Unlike email, it is inherently secure in transmission, and features like the RightFax Encryption Module are available to keep data safe in storage as well.

Despite the common inclination to ditch fax for email, perhaps the solution to some security concerns is actually more faxing, not less. We will never know how that approach might have changed the scenario at Anthem, but we do know that digital fax solutions have already helped our own clients increased both security and cost-effectiveness within their organizations.

To learn more about RightFax in the health care industry, or simply to share your thoughts, please drop us a line!