Driving Interoperability: The Importance of Digital Cloud Fax Solutions, Data Extraction, and the DirectTrust Network

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By Paul Banco, CEO and co-founder of etherFAX

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The timely and secure exchange of health information is critical to providing quality patient care and improving operational efficiencies. That’s why it’s so important for organizations to choose a fax service provider that is a part of a trusted communication network – one that ensures a reliable and secure transport of healthcare data and solves interoperability challenges. 

From streamlining care coordination to improving data quality and boosting productivity, interoperability has a direct impact on healthcare operational workflows, as well as patient outcomes. Studies have shown the ability of medical devices and healthcare systems to seamlessly communicate and exchange information could be a source of more than $30 billion a year in savings as it reduces errors and mitigates risk.

Digital Cloud Faxing

Today, healthcare’s most interoperable communication method is digital cloud faxing. Digital cloud fax solutions utilize the Internet to manage all document and data communications and eliminate the need for fax boards, media gateways, and other antiquated telephony infrastructure. 

By leveraging the security of fax technology and the scalability of the cloud, healthcare organizations can seamlessly exchange protected health information (PHI) and other business-critical data among the healthcare ecosystem. As a result, patients can receive customized healthcare as their information is all easily shared, accessed, and analyzed. Equally important, hospitals can spend less time on the administrative burden of managing stacks of paper, and the timely and costly process of manual data entry.

As security is crucial to drive interoperability, choose a provider with encrypted fax solutions that are both HITRUST and PCI certified, as well as HIPAA and SOC 2 compliant. Leading cloud fax technologies also include multiple defense-in-depth strategies including two-factor authentication and end-to-end encryption to guarantee that patient data and business-critical information remain protected.

Automated Data Extraction 

Leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) technology, automated data extraction enables organizations to quickly transform content locked in unstructured documents such as PDFs and paper-based forms into structured, searchable data ready to be integrated into workflows, applications, or EHRs. 

The extracted data can then be mapped to third-party systems, allowing tasks such as indexing patient records, scheduling, and referrals to be automated. This virtually eliminates error rates associated with manual data entry and improves data quality throughout the entire organization. 

With the ability to quickly and accurately extract data from a physician’s EHR and automatically share it with third-party applications, organizations can reduce administrative burden, automate workflows, and drive data interoperability. As staff no longer has to spend valuable time unlocking unstructured data trapped in form images such as a patient’s name, date of birth, and insurance information, they can focus on more value-added items and care initiatives to improve patient health outcomes.

The DirectTrust Network 

To further drive healthcare interoperability and enable the secure exchange of healthcare information, organizations should look for a fax service provider that is a member of DirectTrust. 

DirectTrust, a collaborative non-profit industry alliance, maintains a secure communication network based on a trust framework that supports provider-to-provider Direct exchange and bidirectional data exchange between patients and providers. The network includes nearly 300,000 healthcare organizations.

DirectTrust federates this trust by accrediting HISPs, Certificate Authorities, and Registration Authorities. Accredited HISPs can then issue identity-proofed Direct Addresses to providers and patients/consumers to send and receive Direct Secure Messages, a simple, secure, and scalable method for communicating sensitive health information to other trusted parties. 

Direct Secure Messaging is more secure than email as it utilizes digital certificates and a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) to encrypt the contents of a message. Therefore, only the intended recipient can decrypt the message. Direct Secure Messaging is a cornerstone of facilitating interoperability between disparate health technologies and organizations, eliminating redundancy of diagnostic testing, reducing the cost of care, and increasing patient and provider satisfaction. 

As CEO of etherFAX, Paul Banco is responsible for the strategic direction of the company and leads technology development, including the patented etherFAX and etherFAX SEN intellectual property. In 2009, he identified the need to leverage the cloud for secure document delivery and co-founded etherFAX with fellow telecom industry veterans.     

Healthcare Business Today is a leading online publication that covers the business of healthcare. Our stories are written from those who are entrenched in this field and helping to shape the future of this industry. Healthcare Business Today offers readers access to fresh developments in health, medicine, science, and technology as well as the latest in patient news, with an emphasis on how these developments affect our lives.