In an increasingly connected, digital world, enterprise-level healthcare systems have a surprising method for getting data from Point A to Point B: faxing.
Providers invest substantial resources to shore up what should be an obsolete approach to communication. Large medical groups that process hundreds of referrals daily take digital data, manually send it via analog fax systems, only to require the other side to manually handle and re-enter or scan the fax back into a digital platform.
Handling all that paper wastes time—10 minutes or more for both sender and receiver—and requires upkeep of the infrastructure.
Providers must bear the cost of maintaining the required number of lines, the software licenses, the physical servers, and fax machines or services, and the maintenance of a redundant system in case the primary goes down.
Yet faxing remains the cornerstone of operations across healthcare, because the alternative—integrating disparate systems with HL7 interfaces—is time-consuming and expensive, and not an option for all medical practices.
In 2011, Chris Craft, CEO of ScriptSender, decided there had to be a better way. “If you know the right questions to ask, you can figure out the right tools for the answer,” he said. Where is the data? Who needs access? What format is it stored in? What do users want to see? How do they want to see it? On what devices?
But getting those separate systems to sync up is expensive and time-consuming. It can take months for dedicated I.T. specialists to get an HL7 integration to work, and then it’s time to start over with the next referrer’s system. Few imaging providers are robust enough to spend resources—financial or technical—on HL7 set-ups, let alone on continued maintenance.