Fax lines are quickly becoming obsolete. Most people don’t even have a landline phone, let alone a fax machine. We still see them in government agencies, and lawyer’s and doctor’s offices because for years they were the industry standard. Standards change though, and neglecting to explore fax line alternatives means missing out on newer and better methods.
In the healthcare industry, faxing is seen as one of the most secure ways to transfer information and protect patient’s sensitive information. In law enforcement, they’re used for routine operations such as bail postings and return of public record requests.
However, just because they’re the norm doesn’t mean they’re the most effective method. In law, if an attorney is trying to post bail for a client, but the fax machine is broken, it could delay the detainee from getting released when they are supposed to.
In healthcare, HIPAA has strict regulations to make sure documents are transmitted safely and securely between authorized users. Although fax machines meet these regulations because they eliminate opportunities for interruptions, they are often located in open areas meaning others can easily pick up the faxes. In any industry, entering the wrong number could quickly send the fax to the wrong person or location.
It’s time to seriously consider other alternatives for fax machines to help speed up processes, minimize delays, and save money. Here are five fax line alternatives that meet HIPAA regulations and policies, and can work for any industry.
1. Secure Websites/Portals
A secure website or portal is an excellent substitute for a fax machine. We’re starting to see larger organizations use these already because they’re more efficient for everyone involved. Like most sites, you have an account with a username and password, but the provider can go in, upload your information to a secure platform, and easily send information in a timely manner. In healthcare, the more advanced portals can schedule appointments, contact pharmacists, and schedule reminders. Portals tend to be a more expensive option because they require more maintenance and set-up. That shouldn't stop larger providers, the additional value and branding opportunities make this an incredibly desirable alternative.
2. Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
A VPN is a great way for companies to store and access private/sensitive information away from the actual job site. Meaning, you can access documents from anywhere and you don’t have to download/transmit them on your computer in unsafe ways. This will keep all of your documents secure. The downside to having a VPN is it lacks permission setting customization. So you can’t make some information accessible and other information hidden. Once it’s on the VPN, everything is available to whoever has access.
3. Password-Protected Documents
Password-protected documents are a simple alternative for fax lines that just about anyone can utilize. Many companies have already started adopting this method for delivering information. When you send a document, the recipient will need a password to open it. Simple programs like Adobe Acrobat allow for additional controls, like making documents read-only, so that information can’t be changed.
4. Online Fax Services
Online fax services can help if you’re transitioning away from fax machines but still work with people who have yet to make the switch. You upload the documents using a web-based interface and enter the recipient's number, no fax machine required on your part. Online fax services range from free to paid services depending on how many documents you have to send.
5. Cloud Sharing
The cloud is quickly becoming the most popular way to share information thanks to its simplicity and convenience. Many people are hesitant to embrace cloud sharing because they fear a lack of security. As long as you encrypt documents and use reliable cloud providers, your information will be safe. Dropbox is a famously known cloud-based program that makes sharing documents in the cloud an easy and secure process. All you have to do is grant someone access to the files, and you can also set a time limit on how long you want them to be accessible.
It’s time to start considering fax line alternatives because those around you are transitioning away from them. There are cheaper and more efficient methods in the market today that your employees and customers will prefer.
If you need help considering alternatives or want to discuss updating your workplace technology, then fill out the form below to have a sales rep contact you.
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