In most industries, the fax machine is considered out of date — and has long since been replaced by email, text messages and other faster modes of communication.
Yet in health care, the fax machine is still largely considered standard due to its encryption of sensitive patient information and ability to transfer that information under guidelines set by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
But faxing can be slow, inconvenient and unreliable. That’s why Surescripts, the nation’s leading health information network, has a vision for a faxless future.
Surescripts has been transforming interactions between clinicians, pharmacists and patients for nearly 20 years. The company works closely with EHRs to enable greater interoperability and ensure secure and seamless exchanges of electronic health information.
Surescripts is optimistic about the future when fax machines will be unplugged and swapped out for in-EHR workflow solutions that align better with care in the moment.
So what would happen to all those fax machines?
In a fun way to make this vision a reality, the organization enlisted the help of Charleston, S.C.-based artist, creative director, user experience designer and blacksmith Josh Weston to find new purposes for old fax machines and create what Surescripts calls “Artifax.”
“This is probably the most bizarre request that I have had in years,” Weston said in a recent article posted by the company. “I loved the challenge: to get these machines to ‘do’ something more useful, to have a more positive impact than their current role in health care. I knew it would be a little bit of a learning curve, going from working with metals and woods to plastics and circuit boards before I could make that happen, but I was up for it.”
Whether an old fax machine becomes a new robot, pen holder, front-end loader, picture frame or clock, these Artifax items show the company is committed to a new world where fax machines are no longer needed to transmit patient information.
The benefits of going paperless
Replacing outdated fax technology with in-EHR workflow solutions powered by Surescripts carries numerous benefits to the user and patient, from efficiencies to privacy and safety.
- Efficiency: Record Locator & Exchange and
Medication History can eliminate tedious and time-consuming medication and
clinical history searches. These solutions help to compile a complete patient
picture in EHR workflows and negate faxing, piecing together discharge
summaries and relying on the patient for clinical and medication history information.
- Privacy: Faxes can be misdirected in error, allowing unauthorized individuals to access sensitive patient information. With Surescripts Medication History solution, healthcare professionals can access a complete picture of patients’ medication history through a single access point.
- Speed of care delivery: The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the need for fast care decision-making as the slow transmission of patient data via fax can significantly hinder care decisions. Virus test results have reportedly been faxed by the millions, slowing the diagnosis and contact tracing process.
With direct digital information transmission, care providers can access the information they need to treat patients and slow the spread of COVID-19. Surescripts Record Locator & Exchange solution lets health care providers see where patients have received care by locating medical records from across all 50 states regardless of care setting and EHR.
As the nation’s largest health information network, Surescripts has a vision for making a digital future a reality for health care. The Surescripts Alliance means that EHRs, pharmacies, clinicians and post-acute care providers—including home health and others—can say goodbye to old technology and experience a faxless future.
The Surescripts Network Alliance unites virtually all electronic health records (EHR) vendors, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), pharmacies and clinicians, plus an increasing number of health plans, long-term and post-acute care organizations, specialty hubs and specialty pharmacy organizations. To learn more, visit https://surescripts.com/.