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How OCR Fax Software Saves Healthcare Organizations Critical Time

The Evolving Landscape of Fax Services

Through many decades of change, fax technology has remained a pivotal component in various industries, particularly in healthcare and health tech sectors, due to its unrivaled reliability, security, and simplicity. Now, modern advances, like cloud-based delivery models and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) fax software, have brought fax into the cloud-based world in ways that benefit patients and healthcare providers in significant ways. 

Cloud-based innovations combine the flexibility, scalability, and accessibility of the cloud with the tried-and-tested benefits of fax technology. Instead of fax being a relic of the past, it’s an integral part of a secure and reliable cloud-based world that makes healthcare businesses more efficient and improves patient care.

The Pivotal Role of Fax for Healthcare Organizations

Faxing between care providers forms an information pathway essential for decisions like prior authorization for care, patient acceptance, and admission following a referral to a specialist. 

When selecting a fax provider, reliability, security, and cost are often key factors in the decision-making process, but evaluation of a fax vendor should not stop there.

Why? Because the value of the faxed document doesn’t stop at reliable, secure transmission. That’s where it begins.

Patient Referrals in Healthcare

Let’s use patient referrals between providers as an example: The arrival of a patient referral request via fax at a clinic's admissions office triggers a detailed and time-sensitive process. 

A single patient referral is often sent to multiple competing providers within a service area for review. The first responding provider that meets the requirements to provide care for the patient in question gets the referral. 

For those providers, time to review and accept or reject a referral request is often measured in minutes, a critical factor when life-preserving care is at stake.

The Challenges with Legacy Fax Technology

The resilience of fax as a technology solution is also one of the biggest challenges with it in the modern world: simplicity. A faxed document is simply a picture of a physical document sent between fax machines. 

Within those scanned paper documents live the information required to make a patient admission decision. The patient name, date of birth, medical record number, and summary of medical history — all captured in the pages of the scanned documents, easy-to-read but difficult to work within the systems of record or systems of decision that underpin healthcare businesses.

When a clinic receives a new patient referral, there is critical information that must be located, reviewed, and identified before a recommendation to accept or reject a patient can be handed off to a doctor for a final admit decision. 

  • Patient demographics - must be located and validated, often on non-standardized forms. 
  • Patient medical history - must be reviewed, particularly to identify any conditions that require treatment outside the capabilities of the clinic. 
  • Missing information - must be identified and the referring provider should be contacted for clarification. 

Every second counts. 

The challenges faxed documents impose on information processing for healthcare systems can’t be understated — and yet fax persists as a dominant solution to document transmission in healthcare. Manual data entry takes time, and time is extremely valuable for healthcare organizations.

The Solution: Modern Fax-Enabled Document Management Systems

Today, the problem of connectivity between the data in the paper documents and the workflows that drive operations in healthcare is too often solved by manual effort. An administrative healthcare worker manually grabs the documents from the fax machine and transcribes information into relevant systems.

The speed of this process depends exclusively on the speed with which the healthcare worker can transcribe the information. There are many variables that could slow down this person and make the process of manual data entry take longer than necessary. 

What if this process didn’t rely so heavily on manual processes laden with potential errors and slowdowns? Why not deliver the fax with the data necessary to begin the admission decision process immediately?

Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Beyond

This outcome is achievable with modern, cloud-native fax that moves beyond transmission capabilities to provide connectivity and performance that elevates fax into a true document management platform component. 

Advancements in computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), machine learning, and other Artificial Intelligence (AI) have captured our collective attention recently. These same technologies, paired with text recognition capabilities like OCR software and handwriting recognition technologies which convert physical documents into digital documents, now allow us to move fax beyond mere document delivery. 

How OCR Software Reduces Manual Data Entry

Combining these technologies with the reliable, well-understood transmission capabilities of digital fax systems creates a new reality in document-based workflows: the ability to receive immediately-actionable documents.

Now, instead of manual data entry by a healthcare worker, the document arrives with the relevant information already able to be transferred into your computer system. OCR fax software saves time, frees up employees to do other work, and cuts down on the possibility of human error in transcription.

Integrating OCR Technology for Enhanced Efficiency

The ability to extract text from a faxed document via OCR fax software provides the foundation for searchable document archives and more advanced capabilities such as document type identification and targeted data extraction. These features simplify the automation of otherwise time-consuming tasks like document routing and manual data entry.

Embracing the Future of Fax

Modern cloud-native digital fax solutions, exemplified by offerings like mFax by Documo, represent a new document transmission and management era. 

No longer confined to the simple document delivery of a fax machine, these solutions combine the reliability of traditional fax with cutting-edge advancements in OCR software, AI, and cloud computing. The result transforms fax from a communication tool into an integral component of sophisticated, data-driven workflows.

In embracing modern fax solutions, healthcare businesses are not just adapting to change – they're leading it, ensuring that every document, every referral, and every patient interaction is handled with the utmost efficiency and care. This is not just an advancement in technology; it's a leap forward in patient care and operational excellence that is changing the healthcare industry.

Want to learn how mFax by Documo can benefit healthcare organizations like yours? Talk to our industry-leading implementation and support experts.