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Posts Tagged ‘fax’

Is FAXing really HIPAA Compliant?

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Many organizations, especially in the healthcare industry, have an urgent need to send important and sensitive information, like protected health information (what constitutes PHI?), to organizations via FAX (facsimile).

Why?  Because this is how it has always been done, and everyone is “set up” to be able to handle FAXes quickly and efficiently.

Go back in time 10-15 years.  Every doctor’s office and small business had one or more FAX machines for sending documents and pictures back and forth.  It was essential technology that became ingrained into business processes through constant, repetitive use.  Everyone knows how to use a FAX machine, even the most technologically challenged staff member.

IS a FAX really HIPAA compliant?

Fast forward to now:

  1. Fax Machines have changed.  They are now all-in-one devices that scan, print, copy, send files to your computer, and more.  The “FAX” ability is now just a minor extra feature.
  2. HIPAA has arrived and evolved.  It used to be that sending patient (ePHI) data via FAX was the norm.  Now, it is perilous to send such private data over regular FAX lines, as it is easy for that process to break down and violate HIPAA.  E.g. see this $2.5 million dollar law suite resulting from 1 fax message.
  3. Everyone has a computer or tablet. Most doctors and staff members have access to email, a HIPAA-secured computer or tablet, and familiarity with how to use them … and have been trained on best practices via the required HIPAA security training that everyone has to have now-a-days.
  4. Paperless offices. Workplaces have or are evolving to become paperless — everything is stored electronically.  Regular FAXes are often disdained in favor or email; when regular FAXes do arrive, they are often scanned to electronic files and then destroyed.
  5. Low resolution. Faxes are low-resolution.  They are slow and they do not contain a great amount of detail.  They are not great for sending anything graphical.

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HIPAA FAX Breach: Why health care should finally stop faxing

Monday, September 11th, 2017

For more information, see:

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Case Study: LuxSci SecureForm and Ink Signatures Eliminate Downloading, Printing, Signing, and Faxing of Contracts

Friday, January 31st, 2014

For legal reasons, LuxSci’s HIPAA customers are required to physically sign a “Business Associate Agreement” and return it to us.  While this is a simple and commonplace request, it creates a lot of busy work on the part of the customer and LuxSci!

The customer might have to

  1. Download the file
  2. Print out the 19 pages
  3. Sign the agreement
  4. Fax back all pages, or scan it and return electronically

Then, LuxSci might have to

  1. Locate the document
  2. Sort out faxes that are in the wrong order, upside down, blank, or missing pages
  3. Figure out who sent the document
  4. Verify that pages are not missing or changed
  5. Counter-sign the document and attach them to the customer account
  6. Contact customers who have not sent in their documents properly or at all which is crucial to the HIPAA certification process

Multiplied by lots of customers, this creates a lot of unproductive busy work for everyone — and this time costs money.

To simplify this process, LuxSci use its own SecureForm and Ink Signatures technologies to make submission of signed contracts a snap for customers, as well as to eliminate most of the busy work LuxSci itself has to do to manage the process.

In this post, we describe how both technologies work.

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How the HIPAA Omnibus Rule Affects Email, Web, FAX, and Skype

Monday, May 6th, 2013

We have written extensively in the past about the impact of HIPAA regulations on email services, web hosting, faxing, and Skype use.  The recent HIPAA changes reflected in the Omnibus rule have a significant impact on the use of these types of services.  Here, we examine the new and important considerations based upon the HIPAA Omnibus Rule.

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HIPAA: A Crash Course

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

LuxSci has written much about how HIPAA and HITECH impacts various aspects of your online business over the years.  Here we bring together most of these discussions into a framework that makes it easy for you to find and read about the aspects of HIPAA most relevant and interesting to you.

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HIPAA Faxing: How To Send and Receive FAXes in a Secure and Compliant Way

Friday, May 6th, 2011

We have previously discussed how it may be OK according to HIPAA to send and receive FAXes with ePHI over standard analog phone lines.  See: Is a FAX document HIPAA-Secure?

However, we have observed that customers more and more wish to integrate FAXing with their computers, taking advantage of the “paper-free” office that is arriving most places.  Why should they have to print and manually fax things or receive FAXes on an old-fashioned FAX printer, when their computers have FAX capability?  Can that capability be used in a HIPAA-compliant way?

The answer is “Yes, you can”.  This article explains how and points out things to watch out for.

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