The eFax Blog

Protecting Patient Data: Faxing Has Moved On

November 30, 2018 - by eFax Team

Discover the future of faxing, and how upgrading to eFax corporate cloud faxing could transform how you better protect your patient’s data and improve your information governance within the NHS and other aspects of the healthcare sector.

Article overview:

The Problem With Fax Machines and Patient Data

The healthcare sector regularly uses fax machines to transmit documents, but this old-fashioned technology is leading to situations where patient data is being put at risk.

Faxing is an essential practice. You need to be able to send faxes in order to effectively communicate with other organisations working in healthcare.

But the fax machines used to transmit documents are resulting in data protection problems.

Problems include:

  • Potential non-compliance with NHS Digital and GDPR
  • Unsecure document transfers
  • The distribution of files to unauthorised parties
  • Human error, loss of documentation and resource wastage

Fax machines need to be eradicated, yet faxing remains a highly useful practice. eFax corporate offers a solution that enables faxing to continue while helping to reduce some of the risks associated with fax machine usage.


The eFax Solution to Patient Data Risks

eFax corporate’s digital faxing solutions assist in improving your ability to meet required information governance standards while maintaining fax communication and document transmission.

Switching from fax machines to digital faxing means:

  • You can elect to secure data through high-level data encryption
  • You reduce resource wastage, from not having to wait by the fax machine, and get time back to take care of business tasks
  • You keep files more secure and can restrict access to authorised individuals only
  • You have online access to files and documents
  • You can reduce risks of loss and human error

Online faxing allows you to continue communicating with physical fax machines while taking advantage of all the benefits that come with it. You do not need:

  • New hardware or installation of equipment
  • To change contact details or fax numbers
  • To take downtime during the upgrade
  • To pay excessive costs for document sharing

Learn More! Read the Full Story Below


The protection of your patient data has become a critical component of day-to-day procedures. Patient data safety and confidentiality have always been of paramount importance. However, with the introduction of the GDPR and new initiatives being driven by NHS Digital, successful management of patient data is critical for complying with regulatory requirements. Failure to meet the regulatory requirements imposed by the NHS, the EU and other governing bodies could mean serious financial and legal repercussions, resulting in a myriad of complications for any organisation operating in the healthcare sector.

While you may have taken steps to ensure you are compliant with the ever-changing roster of regulations, one area that is still suffering from a lack of attention is the use of the fax machine. The NHS operates around 9,000 fax machines, which means use of the old-fashioned technology is still rampant across the healthcare industry. However, using a fax machine presents many risks when it comes to protecting personal data and keeping confidential information safe and secure.

The flaws of fax machines

Why the Fax Machine Is Flawed

As an individual working within the healthcare sector, you will be aware of two things relating to fax machines:

  1. The system is overly reliant on the old technology
  2. They are time consuming and frustrating to use

However, these two problems are not the only reasons why the fax machine is a flawed part of the system, especially when it comes to the transmission of patient data. We all know that these archaic units need to go, but the urgency of this is not being addressed.

Proper information governance in the NHS, as well as other organisations operating within the healthcare sector, is critical. You need to ensure that your organization is adhering to the regulatory requirements relating to data usage, sharing and storage in order to protect yourself and your patient from breaches relating to information governance and loss of personal data.

However, fax machines do not offer effective methods of strong information governance. Why is this?

Fax machines were designed and built in the 19th century. They have come a long way since, but not far enough in the modern digital era. This technology was widespread in the 1980s and during this period it was effective in its role. However, technology has moved on.

This means your fax machines have to go.

Faxing, though, as a practice of communication, provides a number of crucial and indispensable benefits to the healthcare community. The fax needs to stay, but the fax machine needs to go. So what is the answer?

Utilising Cloud-Faxing Technology for Information Governance in the NHS & Healthcare

Meeting current standards of information governance within the NHS and the healthcare sector requires a modern solution. The fax machine just is not up to the challenge, but there are other methods of transmitting documents besides the physical fax machine.

eFax Corporate cloud-faxing solutions provide a better and more secure way of sending and receiving faxes, one that utilises digital technology to better manage compliance obligations under NHS Digital and the GDPR.

Protecting Patient Data: Cloud Faxing vs Fax Machines

So what are the flaws with fax machines, which are directly impacting information governance in the NHS and the healthcare sector, and what can cloud faxing do to help address some of these flaws? In the table below, eFax breaks down the major issues that can occur as a result of using fax machines, and how cloud faxing can assist in reducing some of these issues.

Upgrading to Cloud Faxing: Common Questions

Using smart technology in healthcare

Upgrading your systems to cloud faxing couldn’t be simpler when you do it through eFax corporate.

Working within the healthcare sector, you may have a number of concerns about switching your IT and communication systems. But rest assured: with eFax corporate, everything is taken care of for you quickly and easily. Questions we often get surrounding a move to cloud faxing include:

  • Can I still send and receive faxes from traditional fax machines?

    Yes! eFax corporate works both with other cloud-faxing services and fax machines. Our faxing solutions offer universal file transmission to anyone in the healthcare sector. Send faxes to fax machines, digital faxing platforms and even email addresses. You can also receive faxes sent via fax machines, as our software automatically converts the analogue file to a digital format.

  • How much downtime will we see when we adopt cloud faxing?

    None at all. eFax corporate cloud-faxing solutions provide immediate service access. There is no waiting around for numbers to switch or data transfers to be made. Once you’re with eFax corporate, you can start sending and receiving fax straight away. No loss of working hours; no unhappy patients or clients waiting for your systems to adjust.

  • Do we need new computers or IT systems?

    eFax corporate can be accessed on Android, iOS and Windows. If you use one or multiple of these operating systems, you can use eFax corporate! Our specially designed app ensures universal access for those operating in the healthcare profession, without the need to upgrade hardware or software. This is because all our services are managed through the cloud, operated from our own servers. All you need to do is install the software required to access them.

  • Will I need a new fax number?

    Worried you might need to update all your partners and contacts with your new faxing information? Don’t be! With eFax corporate, you keep your old fax number. We’ll manage the entire process of porting your contact information to your new eFax corporate account. You don’t need to do anything but sign up. We’ll take care of the rest. You needn’t be concerned about spending time letting others know about your switch to cloud faxing, nor do you need to be worried you might miss important document transfers because they are sent to your old fax machine. Nothing will change, except you finally get to ditch your old-fashioned fax machine and upgrade to 21st-century fax technology!