New Ricoh Healthcare Direct Services Fax Alternative

Ricoh USA today introduced RICOH Healthcare Direct Services, an interoperable, secured fax alternative for healthcare organizations that’s said to minimize errors related to paper-based faxes used in healthcare.

Ricoh says the new service helps reduce clerical errors, improve security, and provide cost savings by eliminating the need for fax’s paper-based steps and by intelligently routing information directly to the relevant electronic health record (EHR).

The company notes that medical errors contributes to tens of thousands of deaths each year in America, according to the BMJ, indicating the need for the reduction or elimination of manual processes that introduce opportunity for error, such as paper-based fax. Misplaced or mis-delivered faxes can result in lost lab results, incomplete communication between referring physicians and specialists, and last-minute rescheduling, all of which can add up to increased work, higher costs, and inferior patient experiences.

Fax user error, paper jams, and empty paper trays are also said to contribute to 25 percent of specialists not receiving test results and records for referred patients prior to their appointment (see here). For integrated delivery networks (IDNs), which can send hundreds or even thousands of faxes a day to various partners and disparate systems, those inefficiencies can add up fast, potentially forcing frustrated patients to reschedule or even decline to return for necessary care.

With the RICOH Healthcare Direct Services, messages don’t have such challenges because the information is sent directly into the patient’s EHR, without fax’s opportunities for lost or mishandled information.

Ricoh noted that, today, healthcare remains one of fax’s last strongholds in a world that has mostly moved on to faster, more interoperable technologies – due to the inherent security of fax versus email. This is because, as SFax notes:

“Any kind of faxing uses the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) which is inherently secure. When a document is sent by fax it is converted into base64 binary at its source, sent through the PSTN and then reassembled at the other end. Hacking into the PSTN would require direct manual access to the telephone line, and even if a file was intercepted it would appear as nothing but noise, making it impossible to interpret/read.”

In contrast, with email, the email message passes through firewalls, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and is stored, copies, and forwarded without encryption.

Michael Campana, senior manager of Healthcare Marketing for Ricoh USA, commented: “One in 20 faxes never reach their final destination – that’s missed appointments; that’s redoing lab tests; that’s somebody’s health. Those kinds of inefficiencies, and their real-world effects, are unacceptable in today’s healthcare industry. Patients know they deserve better, and they know that in many cases their health currently depends on outdated, paper-based workflows. RICOH Healthcare Direct Services brings our expertise and technologies to bear to tackle this issue and provide the reliable, secured, immediate communication that facilitates the kinds of quality care experiences that patients have been demanding.”

Read more about how a large national healthcare system is leveraging RICOH Healthcare Direct Services here. Learn more about RICOH Healthcare Direct Services here.

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