Fax is dead! Those were words heard from many unified communications vendors during the past several years. But, to the contrary, the increased adoption of IP-based communications has helped revitalize the fax industry, giving rise to highly efficient FoIP solutions that integrate easily with other enterprise systems.
“IP communications has already redefined parts of the messaging industry and, even though fax a rather old technology, it’s gotten another boost,” he says. “While some people are saying fax is going away, I actually see usage increasing.”
The difference is, today’s FoIP is not yesterday’s paper-based fax, and a significant portion of faxed documents are never printed. As such, paper and toner cartridge vendors are not necessarily seeing the same volumes of fax-related sales as they have in the past.
Instead, many businesses are leveraging FoIP to enable faster delivery of documentation, particularly in industries that require verification and accurate recordkeeping of sensitive documentation, such as the healthcare industry, which combines fax with document management solutions.
“I see a lot of demand from the healthcare industry,” says Mark Duchene, president of Discovery Solutions, a FaxCore reseller. “In healthcare, it’s about time and how fast can documents be delivered quickly – that is FoIP.”
For instance, hospitals are often required to inform insurance carriers within 24 hours of a patient visiting their emergency rooms, in order to retain accurate records for coverage, but also so they are able contact patients’ primary care physicians to ensure proper follow-up and, hopefully, preventing additional ER visits – and additional costs for the carriers.
“The only way hospitals can get that information to insurance carriers quickly is FoIP,” says Duchene. “FaxCore (News - Alert) integrates with hospitals’ back-end systems and extracts information on every patient that came through the ER from their databases every morning and automatically faxes that information to the insurance carriers.”
In addition to meeting compliance standards, the automated process presents a significant cost savings for insurance companies if they are able prevent repeat ER visits. Of course, if they have also implemented a FoIP solution in their facilities, they also gain added cost savings from lower printing costs and manual labor.
Schroeder points out that pharmaceutical companies have similar requirements. If physicians require urgent advice on medication, those communications must be delivered via fax. Certainly, this could be accomplished manually but, especially for larger operations, automation via FoIP is a much more reliable and efficient option.
In addition, because there are so many ramifications, from simple insurance coverage to potential legal implications on our litigation-happy world, an easily accessible audit trail is critical. As such, document storage and management solutions, such as those offered by Discovery Solutions and which integrate easily with FoIP solutions, provide key business security and compliance measures.
Because of cost savings it delivers, as well as its compliance with HIPAA and other regulations, FoIP will continue to grow, certainly in the healthcare industry, but its use cases will continue to evolve into many other industries as well, as they learn how automated faxing can create more efficient operations.
Erik Linask (News - Alert) is Group Editorial Director of TMC, which brings news and compelling feature articles, podcasts, and videos to 2,000,000 visitors each month. To see more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.
Edited by Erik Linask