With each Epic deployment, the healthcare industry is that much closer to its streamlined, paperless future.

HIPAA compliance improves. Meaningful Use criteria come within reach. More rapid and secure communication benefits patient care.

And one more fax admin loses some sleep.

Epic’s sophistication may set the industry standard, but it still lacks granular, flexible fax management tools. That’s a truly mission-critical functionality for most customers.

For instance, it’s often a painful surprise that Epic sends a single user ID to the fax application for all fax transmissions. Was that last failure a lab request from a GP in Seattle? A radiology report from the imaging center in San Francisco? A financial document from the CFO in Dallas? As far as failed-fax logging is concerned, it’s all the same.

With such ambiguous information, failed faxes aren’t always addressed until somebody urgently calls and asks. By that point, not only are telecom admins in a tough spot, but communication issues may even impact patients.

RightFax via Private Fax Cloud® provides more reliable delivery, granular management, and cost-effective scaling for modern healthcare organizations.

Fixing your failed faxes in Epic

A fax might have failed for any number of reasons:

  • The other side was busy
  • The recipient’s number changed or was mis-entered
  • Or perhaps a more mysterious telecom issue occurred.

Despite errors beyond your control, you may still be responsible for faxing between dozens of departments. Scores of locations. Hundreds of potential sources of private and time-sensitive faxes. Clearly, it’s not enough just to take a wild guess at where a failed fax came from.

Imagine the workflow and care benefits if, instead, each department and location could manage its own failed faxes from Epic.

The crux of the matter is getting around the single-user ID problem and giving the fax software something more granular to track. That would mean that clients:

  • Know exactly when, where, and from whom each fax originated
  • Respond proactively based on real-time knowledge of fax statuses
  • Rely on a strategy trusted by the industry’s largest Epic customers

In decades of combined Epic-RightFax integration experience, the Paperless Productivity® RightFax consulting team has developed a robust method of doing all the above. Our unique and proven approach to Epic fax management means that clients enjoy the same granular, efficient, and responsive that user expect from a sophisticated application.

Additionally, the benefits of a well-integrated RightFax environment extended beyond failed fax management. In fact, they comprise some of the core concerns of modern healthcare organizations.

Background: why do faxes fail?

Most fax failures come down to issues with a line/connection or an individual device. 

Some, like busy signals, usually resolve themselves with subsequent attempts. Modern fax solutions can automate redialing to minimize disruption and wasted staff time.

Others are harder to troubleshoot. A lot goes on behind the scenes of a fax transmission, including numerous set-up steps, digital–analog conversions, connection management signals, and even automatic error correction. Issues with any of these may result in failed messages. 

Common Epic fax errors explained

Epic fax transmission failures can be extremely frustrating. Messages are often cryptic, especially when they come from older devices without the verbose, step-by-step logging of a modern fax server.

There are dozens, potentially hundreds, of fax transmission errors that you might encounter.

However, a handful come up disproportionately often for Epic users. In no particular order, here are some of the very most common.

Receive failure (phase B)

In phase B, the sending and receiving devices are trying to “agree” on parameters like resolution and speed. It happens after connecting but before transmitting the actual message.

There’s no single solution to phase B errors. Generally, the best starting point is to investigate the analog telephony configuration.

No answer at fax number

“No answer” errors are usually due to factors on the receiving side, beyond the sender’s control.

In some cases, a higher time-out limit may suffice. For critical, high-volume faxes (like to a partner lab or clinic), you may need to work with the receiving party’s telecom team, or even consider sharing a RightFax instance.

Fax number busy 

Busy lines are common when the receiving party is a small facility with just one or two analog fax lines. It’s simply a matter of waiting and retrying.

However, it’s possible to see a “busy” error even when the receiving number is open. If so, then it’s worth ruling out dialing issues or line static before getting deeper into fax software/gateway/board configuration.

Unknown error report by fax board

Unsurprisingly, “unknown error” messages have a plethora of causes and can range from one-off to continual.

On one hand, they’re almost always solvable.

On the other hand, fax boards are somewhat archaic at this point. Migrating to cloud or hybrid fax telephony is potentially more cost-effective—and definitely more future-proof.

Human answered

This is a refreshingly self-explanatory error, usually due to an incorrect or outdated number.

RightFax features like dialing rules or automatic phone-book look-ups are particularly helpful at avoiding it.

Number blocked by sender

It’s entirely possible that the recipient has explicitly blocked the sending number, if only by accident. Most of the time, that’s easily solved after notifying the other part.

However, certain online fax services may impose their own blocks based on rate plans, geography, or (perhaps erroneously) suspected abuse of the service. Enterprise-grade fax software puts these controls back in your hands.

Special info tone

A special info tone error typically indicates a problem with the line.

Less often, it may also reflect a conflict between the dialing rules of the sending device/server and the phone system.

It’s impossible to prevent all failures and errors, but we can greatly reduce them with modern fax infrastructure and careful configuration. 

HIPAA compliance, simplified

HIPAA has major implications for faxing to and from Epic, including:

  • Verification of the recipient’s number
  • Lock-down of unattended fax machines
  • Document privacy in all stages of communication

These can be burdensome or simply impossible with a non-enterprise-grade fax tool (let alone with analog fax machines). On the other hand, an appropriately configured digital fax solution for Epic eliminates or fulfills all the above.

  • Phonebook lookups support confidentiality by checking for correct numbers
  • Documents are restricted only to authorized viewers, and accompanied by a full audit trail
  • All faxes are encrypted for absolute privacy before, during, and after transmission

When all is said and done, your organization has invested millions or even billions of dollars in Epic in order to help improve the quality of its care. There are security goals, financial goals, organizational goals, and many others, but we all seek a healthcare model in which communications are so secure and reliable that important information never slips through the cracks.

With wisdom gleaned from hundreds of prior deployments and integrations, paired with comprehensive expertise in the telecom and infrastructure layers, our RightFax consultants have the knowledge and insight to support these ambitious goals. Whether or not your organization already uses RightFax, we can help you lay the groundwork for an easily manageable, dependable, and cost-effective workflow.

To learn more about our innovative methodology for fax management in Epic, or to schedule a complimentary consultation or demonstration, please contact a representative today.