Barnes Healthcare Services uses VOIP-based faxing to receive medical equipment orders from doctors and hospitals.
In the age of electronic health records and remote-monitoring apps, faxing is still alive, especially in health care. But you'll find the old-school technology being used in the cloud by companies such as Barnes Healthcare Services, a medical equipment company based in Valdosta, Ga.
Biscom's cloud faxing product, called, Faxcom Anywhere, allows Barnes to send and receive invoices and orders from doctors, physical therapists and hospitals.
Health care organizations aim to replace the traditional hardware fax machines with hosted cloud servers and mobile applications, according to Biscom.
The company reports 80 percent growth year-over-year for its cloud-based fax services along with a 66 percent increase in server virtualizations and fax over IP (FOIP), which involves sending and receiving faxes via a voice over IP (VOIP) network.
A Biscom API toolset enables health care organizations to route prescriptions, medical records, lab results, clinical trial research, claims and medical images. Its fax routing, workflow and document-management products allow hospitals to eliminate paper and manual processes while also being able to book procedures and specialist appointments.
"Today's health care providers and payers are challenged to reduce costs, create efficiencies, reduce medical errors, secure [protected health information] communications and increase quality of patient care," Don Dunning, CEO of Biscom, said in a statement. "These organizations need technology that enables easy, secure and efficient communications."
The cloud technology allows health care organizations to save time and money, secure personal health information and improve patient safety, said Dunning.
The Biscom Delivery Server (BDS), a secure file transfer platform, allows vendors to perform audits on data exchange and the server supports Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256-bit encryption, the company reports.
Barnes has been using cloud faxing for about two years, according to Ben McLendon, director of information technology at the company.
"The big advantage is, we don't have to maintain the physical circuits anymore for phone traffic," McLendon told eWEEK.
Although Barnes has a server running Biscom'sFaxcom Anywhere software, the telecommunications piece of the data exchange occurs in the cloud, McLendon explained.
Faxcom features an administrative console that allows users to view multiple fax accounts with a stack of folders in a tree-type interface, said McLendon.
Biscom is currently running beta tests on a mobile version of its cloud platform for the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms.
Barnes uses the Web to receive medical equipment orders, but the requirement for signed documents means a fax must also be sent for many prescriptions, said McLendon.
"If you have a patient that needs oxygen, that's actually considered a drug and we have to have a signed prescription for that," he said.
As for e-prescribing, McLendon doesn't see a lot of small providers using that yet. "Those initiatives have been very slow to be adopted in the industry," he said. "The adoption rate for electronic referral is going to continue to be slow, especially in small medical practices."
Still, e-prescribing could catch on for physician practices using the capacities as part of an electronic health record (EHR) application, McLendon noted.
Although health care is known to be behind other industries in adopting various technologies, including social media, faxing could remain in the industry for the long haul.
"We don't really see fax going away for us anytime soon, even though we have a lot of things being done on the Web," said McLendon.
Brian T. Horowitz is a freelance technology and health writer as well as a copy editor. Brian has worked on the tech beat since 1996 and covered health care IT and rugged mobile computing for eWEEK since 2010. He has contributed to more than 20 publications, including Computer Shopper, Fast Company, FOXNews.com, More, NYSE Magazine, Parents, ScientificAmerican.com, USA Weekend and Womansday.com, as well as other consumer and trade publications. Brian holds a B.A. from Hofstra University in New York.