Chris Lanaman

It’s Just a Fax, Right? – Part 2: Keeping relationships strong with PCPs

My last blog showed why doctors’ offices have a strong reliance on receiving test results and patient information through faxes — which are sent through Millennium’s Remote Report Distribution (RRD) servers — and why it’s important for hospitals to make sure their faxes go out on schedule. Today we’ll look at another strategic importance of faxing, one that will help your healthcare organization distinguish itself from others.

In his novel 1984, George Orwell wrote the following ominous statement related to information control: “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” I want to present a more practical paraphrase of the quote: “Whoever controls the old technology (like faxes) will be able to drive the introduction of the new technology (like interfaces).” What do I mean? The more relationships that your organization has established and is actively sending faxes to gives you the power to drive conversations about joint ventures in connecting electronic medical record (EMR) systems through interfaces.

Although many doctors’ offices do not have any form of EMR system, the number of “office size” EMRs has grown in the last five years and will continue to grow. As part of this conversion, I have found that larger doctors’ offices are happy to say good-bye to the piles of faxes that can often be difficult to manage. They still want notifications but are ready to move to a “paperless” environment.

When these offices start asking you how their number of faxes can be reduced, they are giving you the opportunity to strengthen your alliance with their office. If you can successfully interface your system with theirs, you stand a good chance of merging your organization with theirs to increase your share of the healthcare pie. In any case, the result is the same: Faxes go digital.

You might be thinking, “Great, no more RRD problems.” Au contraire, I suggest you keep your RRD servers well-tuned because faxes will be around for quite some time. Not all the information that offices request can be sent digitally. Plus, not all primary care physicians (PCPs) have embraced the paperless mindset. As long as a patient’s PCP wants to keep a paper patient record in the office, you will need to keep your RRD servers spitting out faxes. The volume of faxes that your organization spits out every day is a barometer for how much work it has in front of it to encourage doctors to move to an EMR system. The tighter your relationships, the more likely your fellow healthcare providers will listen to your vision for moving forward and working together into the digital future.

Prognosis: “Who controls the past controls the future.” If your organization has complete control of its RRD servers and the faxes they send, you will maintain and grow your partnerships with doctors’ offices well into the future.

Next: How to maximize your RRD investment so you have complete control over how faxing is conducted at your healthcare organization.