The eFax Blog

Faxing Medical Records and Prescriptions: Discovering a Better Solution

November 02, 2018 - by eFax Team

Thousands of medical professionals working in the healthcare sector and associated industries rely on fax machines to send documents and files. But these old-fashioned machines aren't optimised for the modern world. eFax explains why there is a better solution

Article overview:

Faxing is essential to the healthcare industry, providing a myriad of benefits that you need to be taking advantage of. But physical fax machines are proving to be a problem in the 21st century.

Physical fax machines present a real risk to data protection and GDPR compliance, including:

  • Allowing unauthorised access to paper documents
  • The accidental sharing of confidential information
  • A lack of security protocols or encryption
  • Creating a weakness in your IT systems allowing hackers to take control
  • A potential for paper files to go missing or be stolen
Faxing Medical Records and Prescriptions

The Problems Facing Healthcare Right Now

Risks posed by physical fax machines are not just potential disasters. Recent reports have displayed that they can and do regularly cause data breaches and other problems.

The physical fax machine also has other problems besides being a risk to data security compliance when it comes to patient data transmission and sharing. These included:

  • Excessive costs, such as replacements, repairs and resources required to run them
  • Draining staff hours through inefficient practices, including having to fax large files
  • Only being able to receive important fax documents via a physical fax machine, reducing the ability to work remotely or remain mobile

Discovering the Cloud-Faxing Solution

Online cloud faxing provides healthcare organisations with a new method of sending and receiving fax without the need for a physical fax machine. You can maintain vital communication practices and carry on seeing the benefits of faxing documents, all on a digital format.

The advantages of moving to online cloud faxing include:

  • Increased digital security and encryptions
  • Higher levels of GDPR compliance through the removal of paper risk
  • A reduction in the use of resources and more cost-effective practices
  • An improvement in staff efficiency and the ability to fax remotely
  • A step towards a paperless work environment
  • Strong access controls and the removal of potential unauthorised file viewing
  • A centralised management system for quick access to important files

You can sign up to eFax quickly and easily. Access is immediate, which means your healthcare organisation can experience better faxing solutions and improved security right away.


Learn More! Read the Full Story Below


Fax is a staple of the medical sector, but the physical fax machine is becoming outdated. Nearly 9,000 fax machine units exist within the NHS alone and that doesn’t include associated private firms, such as pharmaceutical companies, private practices, chemists and other related healthcare organisations. There is no escaping the fact that faxing is a major part of the British medical community, but as the world changes and industry evolves, so too must the method of sending a fax.

We all know something needs to change, but it isn’t the fax that has to go.

Supporting the Medical Profession’s Fax Evolution

As you know, fax is essential to the healthcare industry. When faxing medical records, both sender and receiver can achieve certain benefits unattainable through other platforms of data transmission. For example, fax remains the best way to send a legally binding document immediately, as signatures sent through other digital processes, such as email, are not usually admissible in places like a court of law. When it comes to signing off on important medical documents, acquiring prescriptions or filing order forms, a legally binding signature is essential. Fax also provides immediate opportunities for physical file transmission, which is another vital tool in the fast-paced world of healthcare.

The convenience of the fax as it relates to the medical industry cannot be understated.

But, while these advantages make faxing invaluable to the medical sector, you’ve still likely seen many calls for upgrades to NHS IT systems, an end to fax machine reliance and for trusts to ‘axe the fax’. As the calls come for the end of the fax machine, it’s essential that healthcare professionals like you, are supported to find an alternative solution.

Looking for support in developing your fax technology? Discover exactly how eFax can support your with our secure online fax solutions for healthcare professionals.

The Problem with Faxing Medical Records through Fax Machines

Fax machines present a number of disadvantages when it comes to the transmission of patient records and other medical files. These include:

  • Slow and Difficult - Sending large files, in particular, is a major constraint on time and resources. When you have massive amounts of paper to submit, sending it through a fax machine absorbs large amounts of time and creates other awkward problems, such as the potential for accidentally missing vital pages due to the sheer quantity being sent.
  • Not Cost-Effective - Fax machines are costly. They require toner and ink, paper, repairs and replacements. They also take time to use, which results in loss of working hours over long periods of time. The total hours absorbed through simply waiting for paper to be fed into a machine, waiting for a series of documents to be printed, and filing the fax afterwards is all time that you could invest in more important tasks.
  • Security Flaws - Physical fax machines are old and flawed technology. Recent discoveries of security issues, such as the faxploit, demonstrate how units are simply lagging too far behind modern systems to be a viable part of 21st-century IT practice.
  • Data Breaches - Patient data is of huge concern in the modern era. The NHS faced a number of hacks and cyber attacks in previous years and, with increasing pressure from European Parliament, thanks to GDPR, you need to be sure your patient records are secure. Physical fax machines are not effective methods of sending or receiving patient data securely and are a risk to proper data compliance. Issues include the potential for documents to be left out on the side following transmission if they aren't picked up by authorised parties immediately, as well as misdialed numbers resulting in faxed records being sent to inappropriate parties.

An Example to Think About

A few years ago, in a perfect example of what is known in the fax machine world as the “fat finger problem,” a report outlined how a medical practice accidentally sent patient records to that person’s employer, instead of their new healthcare provider. It was a simple mistake, one that anyone could make in the fast-paced and complex environment of healthcare. The situation occurred after a misdialed fax number, but the result was sensitive patient data being submitted to an unauthorised party. Not only was this a breach of data protection, but it also led to claims of negligence and backlash from the unhappy patient.

Such breaches in 2018 present even more significant problems for medical practices, thanks to tightening laws such as GDPR. This demonstration of just how easy it is to break data protection protocols through the use of physical fax machines highlights exactly why the technology needs to be removed from the medical sector. But if you get rid of your physical fax machine, what options do you have?

The answer is online cloud faxing.

What Is Online Faxing and How Can It Be Used in the Healthcare Sector?

Online cloud faxing presents a new way of faxing medical records and other sensitive documents. It is to fax what email is to snail-mail: an evolution of the process that takes the benefits and enhances them with new features and opportunities.

Online cloud fax works by allowing for the transmission of fax documents through a digital platform. eFax software enables files to be transferred via a cloud server. You can both send and receive faxed documents, and it is compatible with other cloud-faxing software as well as fax machines. This means you can send a document from your smartphone to an NHS fax machine, just as you would if you were using your own physical fax machine, and vice-versa. While you experience the benefits of new technology, you are still able to communicate with others using standard fax machine units.

Documents can either be sent as computer files, if they exist in the digital space already, or they can be uploaded simply by capturing them with the camera of a smart device. Documents can then be signed using touchscreen technology and date-marked to ensure authenticity and legal compliance. Online cloud faxing provides all the functionality of faxing, without the need for an actual fax machine.

However, it also does much more than that.

The Benefits of Faxing Medical Records through Online Cloud Faxing

The evolution from the physical fax machine to online cloud faxing has resulted in numerous improvements to the standard faxing practice. This means that many of the disadvantages of physical fax machines have been eliminated and a number of new advantages have been achieved. These include:

  • Sending Multiple Pages Becomes Easy - Instead of having to submit page-by-page, large files can be uploaded as full documents and transmitted as a single attachment, removing the need for time-consuming tasks to be carried out.
  • Faxing Is Now Secure - Online cloud faxing negates a number of security issues. Files are sent through encrypted channels using the latest security protocols; passwords and logins prevent unauthorised access; documents are never left where anyone can view them and files are transmitted to pre-approved contacts, removing the chance of misdialing.
  • Remote Faxing Is Possible - As eFax software is available online using smart devices, the faxing of medical records and other healthcare documents can be done on mobile, allowing you to work, operate and fax remotely.
  • Become Paperless - In the coming years, the healthcare sector is likely to experience a massive push for paperless operation as the NHS forges forward with its paperless 2020 campaign. Online faxing is a totally paperless system that works towards these goals and helps medical professionals achieve digital transformation.
  • Reduce Operating Costs - While fax machines require numerous resources that quickly escalate costs, eFax online faxing doesn’t need any such investment. For just £11 per month, you can achieve universal faxing capabilities, without breaking the bank.
  • Find Faxes Fast - eFax’s centralised management system stores and maintains all fax documents you send and receive. If you ever need to refer back to important fax documentation, you’ll be safe in the knowledge it is easily accessible through our service.
  • Large File Transfer Becomes Easy - eFax’s large file transfer feature allows you to send up to 3GB of data securely, recipients get an email notification which allows them to go to a secure site to download the file, so standing beside the physical fax machine to send a 200+ page patient file becomes a thing of the past

How to Establish Online Faxing for Your Medical Practice, Organisation or Business

You can adopt online faxing with minimal effort. eFax’s specially designed software is made to be easily integrated into current IT systems, without the need for any new hardware or the replacement of equipment. eFax Corporate is also Level 3 of the NHS Digital IG Toolkit assessment so you can be comfortable it meets your security needs. So how does it work?

The process is simple:

  1. Sign up to eFax Services for one of our standard subscriptions or request a call back if you need more advanced features like our enhanced security eFax secure, the centralised administration tool or our API solution eFax developer — You can get 30 days for free to trial our software. After that, it’s a monthly subscription starting at just £11 per month with more options available depending on how many numbers or pages you need to send.
  2. Establish Your Number - either transfer your existing numbers or choose a new fax number. Don’t worry: any and all fax numbers you currently use can be easily ported over to your eFax digital number, meaning you don’t need to change anything when it comes to internal or external communications.
  3. Download Our mobile App - The eFax app is our bespoke app, which allows for the sending and receiving of fax. Download it to your iOS and Android mobile or tablet to get started.
  4. Start Faxing! - That’s it. You can start faxing medical records, receiving prescription orders and much more. In just a few moments, you’ve moved into the digital age, ditched those harmful physical fax machine practices and can now enjoy the benefits of online faxing.

It really is that simple.

Sign up with eFax todayand experience the benefits we can have for your healthcare practice, trust or organisation! There are no commitments, no long-term contracts and you can cancel at any time during your free trial without paying a penny. Get immediate access to our range of fax-enhancing functionality now!