Ever since email was introduced, there was this assumption that it would make fax obsolete. While the need for fax may have diminished in the wake of electronic mail, it has certainly not vanished, but has rather adapted to the times, particularly in the form of Fax-over-IP (FoIP).
FoIP, the online evolution of fax, has become essential in several fields, especially healthcare. The recently published National Physicians Survey reveals that 63 percent of healthcare providers continue to use fax as their primary form of communication, and is likely to remain as such for the foreseeable future.
Faxing is a necessity for securely transmitting medical records, receiving patient files, and placing prescription orders. Sure, it is possible to do those over email, but time is of the essence when it comes to healthcare, and faxing is much quicker and more convenient than finding a computer connected to a printer, logging onto an email account, refreshing the page until the email arrives, navigating through spam, downloading the file, then printing it. Faxing is quick, effective, and easy.
“In the world of health IT, the only piece of standard equipment found in any hospital or doctor's office is the fax,” says Bob Lorch, Chairman and CEO of MMRGlobal, which provides products and services for healthcare verticals. “Even the survey points out that only one out of three physicians use a laptop, 20 percent use smartphones and 12 percent use iPads in their practices, while all continue to use some form of fax.”
In spite of initial concerns, there’s nothing for fax vendors to fear. The need for FoIP is strong, and not just in healthcare. Businesses everywhere still have fax machines, and efficient FoIP is just as important as phones and email. It’s important that one’s FoIP is up-to-date, as fax must keep up with the progression of technology as much as any other system, but there’s no reason to assume it would be otherwise.
FoIP itself is the same as any other kind of faxing, simply using a VoIP network instead of phone lines. It requires a G3 fax machine and an analog line to connect it to a capable VoIP gateway, but the process is like any other fax. Some services even send FoIP faxes in the form of an email, or to a recipient’s smartphone or tablet. It can make scanning and sending documents a quicker, easier process, remaining relevant in an internet-centric world.
Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. For more information on registering for ITEXPO click here.
Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.
Robert Pleasant is a writer for TMCnet, covering new news in the world of technology and communications. A graduate from UC Santa Cruz with a BA in Literature, Robert has been writing for years, but has only recently had his reports start appearing on websites such as TMCnet and UCStrategies.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo