As a healthcare provider organization, everything you do walks a fine line between privacy and efficiency. And nowhere is the balancing act more difficult than with faxing.
On one hand, faxing satisfies the need for encryption in transit and at rest. It is also the ubiquitous means to communicate between providers, pharmacies, and payers. On the other hand, it’s a slow, costly, and error-prone medium.
In fact, 10%-30% percent of outbound attempts fail—before even counting retry attempts, busy signals, and partial fax page transmissions. As a result, many provider organizations struggle to know who really received what information, when.
That reveals a critical but often overlooked fact. While traditional faxing is expensive in terms of phone lines and staff hours, its true cost is its risk to compliance and patient care.
But can the Private Fax Cloud™ RightFax architecture realistically improve upon an established, commoditized technology?
And as for the many organizations already using RightFax: are they stuck with a rip-and-replace ordeal, or can they keep their fax server investment while getting rid of surrounding costs?
Below, we’ll explore both the obvious and hidden drawbacks of conventional fax architecture, then look more closely at how Private Fax Cloud architecture reduces or eliminates them in ways that public cloud faxing cannot.
The true cost of legacy faxing
Fax has significant and durable advantages. It remains ubiquitous, partly as a common ground between parties with few other technologies in common.
Perhaps most of all, fax is also an inherently secure means of point-to-point document transmission—something all-important in industries such as healthcare. It thus remains the most common way for healthcare providers and payers to communicate regarding patient care.
Unfortunately, analog telephony costs are growing unsustainably. Furthermore, their location-bound nature is a liability in our world of distributed work.
Moving away from the analog status quo isn’t so simple, though. For instance, it’s not trivial to choose the optimal SIP trunk vendor. They offer wildly different service levels (especially for fax transmission) and their fax server compatibility is arcane and ever-changing. As a result, many first-time implementations are plagued with disruptive and embarrassing reliability issues.
All of that might still be bearable if we could trust legacy faxing to flawlessly deliver critical patient information.
Unfortunately, we cannot.
The result is precious time spent battling a deficient system.
Can’t fax just work?
In the ideal world, we’d have confidence that every character of every document reached its intended recipient (and nobody else).
And it wouldn’t merely arrive, but would do so promptly, in full, with a built-in audit trail. In short, everything legacy faxing fails to deliver.
Your own org may already be accustomed to sending documents repeatedly, in hopes that all pages will finally transmit, while waiting on edge for confirmations that never appear.
But what if it were possible to make seamless and trustworthy faxing a reality, all while reducing costs and preserving familiar workflows?
Reliable faxing, at scale
The Private Fax Cloud™ is the culmination of two decades of fax server implementations with some of America’s largest healthcare providers.
During that time, we found that most users love how RightFax works when it works well. For instance, they appreciate managing faxes from a single place, or collaborating on sensitive patient info without relying on Outlook.
But we also found that users—quite reasonably—dislike faxing when it doesn’t work well. Failures and ambiguous statuses waste precious time, and costs only seem to increase regardless of service quality.
The difference between pleasant and problematic faxing most often came down to one thing: the unusual combination of faxing, telecom, and healthcare workflow expertise.
Without that confluence of specialties, implementations consistently fell short of their reliability and performance targets.
That led us to create a cloud fax service for our clients to use privately—a Private Fax Cloud—as a uniquely easy and reliable approach to all the greatest things about RightFax.
The Private Fax Cloud is a partially– or fully–managed private fax platform. At its core is the market-leading RightFax application, with uncompromising HIPAA compliance in a virtualized package that works across cloud vendors.
It bundles RightFax with reliable and secure phone services, all deployed, managed, and supported under one roof, with no added burden on IT. Its enterprise-grade IP telephony bypasses the rigid rates and contractual nightmares of traditional lines.
The Private Fax Cloud brings reliable transmission from day one while relieving your technical staff. With its built-in telephony best practices, healthcare-specific workflow integrations, and endless automation possibilities, you’re free to focus on delivering excellent care—not chasing papers.
If your organization already uses RightFax in any fashion, then all the better. The Private Fax Cloud can use existing licenses to minimize your investment and reach positive ROI even sooner.
Likewise, it can use the VM infrastructure you may already have access to, whether from third parties like AWS and Azure or through self-hosted VM resources (such as VMware or Hyper-V).
In any case, the result is optimal RightFax configuration “in a box” while getting rid of all hardware, phone line issues, deployment, and even most training and admin costs.
The limitations of public cloud fax services
When the costs or risks of legacy faxing grow unbearable, many organizations rip and replace in favor of a fax service in the public cloud.
That’s appropriate for some simpler use cases, but it may create a new set of problems that doesn’t rear its head until long after going live.
For instance, many cloud services offer a per-page rate based on less than 60 seconds of transmission time. But if one page takes a 61st second to transmit, then that extra second will immediately double the cost of sending the same page.
Conversely, the Private Fax Cloud pro-rates in 6-second increments with a 30–second minimum. Not only does this reduce the average cost per page, but it prevents disproportionate charges for trivial increases in time.
Moreover, today’s cost to fax to from one Private Fax Cloud customer to another is $0 as a promotional rate. In the future, the cost will remain minimal while the speeds continue to increase. This alone can amount to thousands of dollars in weekly or even daily savings for large Private Fax Cloud clients, such as a major insurer and an in-network hospital system that communicate in high volume.
Delayed or ambiguous failure notification is another public cloud fax pitfall that usually comes by surprise.
By offering real-time fax visibility and notification, we’re able to inform users before sending accidental duplicates that waste time, cause confusion, and risk exposing unexpected transmissions to unauthorized viewers.
Furthermore, public cloud services lack the administrative controls that large organizations need for HIPAA compliance.
Most do offer the table stakes of security—like TLS encryption and at least rudimentary role-based access control—but they fundamentally handle faxes as email attachments. That precludes granular metadata management and user-level policies.
The Private Fax Cloud’s server application lets administrators control literally every aspect of faxing without resorting to custom development around public cloud APIs. And even though the server itself is private, nearly all admin tasks are still possible in a web browser.
This virtual server-based architecture puts analytics at power users’ fingertips. It offers granular data that public cloud fax services do not—and generally cannot—expose to clients.
In contrast to most services’ bare-bones reporting, the Private Fax Cloud includes a comprehensive reporting tool. Users can start with canned reports that answer common questions, such as “What are my inbound and outbound success rates?” or “Who sent the most faxes this week/month/quarter?”
From there, users can explore trends and find new insights by drilling down to a single department, group, or individual user. Although SQL-savvy users can take advantage of direct database access, no SQL queries are necessary to explore any part of your fax data.
Users can also automate alerting and notifications, and even create their own robotic workflow monitors. This is not necessary in a fully-managed implementation, but it’s always available to clients that prefer hands-on monitoring, or even wish to blend fax data with that of other systems.
The future of healthcare document workflows
So far, we have focused on the reliability and cost-effectiveness of common fax platforms. These tools remain necessary in some form. But even at its best, a trusted and affordable fax platform alone cannot take faxing into the 21st century.
In fact, traditional faxing is becoming a liability as privacy standards and performance-based reimbursement reshape healthcare.
Forward-thinking healthcare orgs realize this. And in response, many have adopted OCR and fax automation to eliminate human error at every stage, from initial document routing and classification to secure archival and granular auditing.
From a day-to-day user’s perspective, the experience is as intuitive as email. But unlike email (or fax-to-email services), the Private Fax Cloud builds a granular audit trail at every step a document takes.
And unlike the productivity drag of analog faxing, the Private Fax Cloud brings online workflow tools that help users work more efficiently, such as:
- Fax search and retrieval
- Fax annotation and redaction
- OCR and workflow
- Electronic signatures
- Document splitting, collation, and image rotation
- Audit trail viewing and reporting
- Automatic cover page standards
- Highly adjustable Archive settings
Your roadmap to the Private Fax Cloud
The Private Fax Cloud consists of fully managed fax server and reporting VMs on a self-hosted or third-party virtual private cloud (most commonly Azure or AWS). The solution uses cloud telephony for reliable delivery with fair and flexible billing.
Regardless of the virtual server host, your full implementation will take one week or less, inclusive of end-to-end privacy protocols and most third-party integrations. Even in the case of highly complex inbound fax workflows, the implementation period rarely exceeds one month.
If your current fax cost, efficiency, or reliability are falling short, then the Private Fax Cloud is likely to deliver ROI quickly. To determine whether or how it fits your organization, please contact us today.