Written by: John Lynn
Guest Post: This is a sponsored guest post written by James Taylor and provided by GFI FaxMaker.
HIPAA requirements are becoming a part of every technology discussion, especially within the healthcare industry. One of the biggest pain points for both doctors and dentists is faxing. The HIPAA requirements for faxing EMR/EHR records are fairly straightforward, and also fairly onerous and time consuming, and healthcare organizations are looking for better ways to do faxing. This is where GFI’s fax server software, GFI FaxMaker, steps into the scene.
Installation is easy, though it does require a domain admin account (more on that below). It can use a fax modem, FoIP SaaS service from Brooktrout, or ISDN lines, and can be installed right on your Exchange server or integrate with Exchange (or other email systems) using an SMTP connector. Install gets a 9/10.
GFI FaxMaker almost sells itself just in how easily it can be integrated into practically any client’s existing infrastructure, whether they are a private practice, or part of a huge hospital network. The email to fax and print to fax capabilities make it easy for end-users to send faxes, and helps to ensure HIPAA compliance in several ways; these include:
- Fax numbers can be pulled from the email client address book (GAL),
- Delivery confirmation reports can be automatically generated and stored with the sent faxes,
- Incoming faxes are delivered directly to the recipient; no paper left lying around, and no need for the user to go stand by the fax machine waiting for an incoming fax,
- Faxes can be stored as PDF or TIFF, and routed to network shares. Practically any client’s medical records program for EMH/EHR can consume these with no need for extra work making this another way to plug directly in to programs without needing to write any code.
- The ability to ‘print to fax’ makes every Windows program my clients use ‘fax capable’
Share the printer and clients can just double-click it to start faxing from any application.
making it so easy to plug into existing infrastructure earns this a 9/10.
Fax routing flexibility
GFI FaxMaker’s routing capabilities are its best feature. You can automatically deliver faxes to users, network folders, or printers, based on several different attributes including:
If your senders’ fax machines identify themselves by CSID, you can route using that, or you can set up extensions for each user without having to get dedicated lines. Of course, it can use dedicated lines too. OCR rocks, since it can scan for the recipient’s name and deliver the fax by ‘reading’ the To: line on a cover page or finding a keyword in the body of the fax. Just don’t expect it to decipher a doctor’s handwriting.
It can also automatically archive inbound and outbound faxes as PDF or TIFF format, making it easy to import faxes into other programs or to keep a secured archive.
Most organizations are very big on electronic archiving, and they don’t have the budget to get every single doctor and PA in the practice their own fax number, so I give this a 9/10.
What I like
GFI FaxMaker installs very easily, integrates with every email environment without having to install anything on the mail server, and sets up a shared printer so users can simply print to fax. It is easy to setup, easy to understand, and just works. Getting rid of the fax machines, the stocks of ink, and all the paper left lying around that goes along with a traditional fax is great, and with no more incoming faxes hitting the output tray, there’s no chance of confidential patient information (EMR/EHR) being at risk. Considering how big a concern that is for HIPAA compliance, and how little space most offices have to ‘secure’ a traditional fax machine, this is a huge benefit and earns GFI FaxMaker a 10/10 for convenience and compliance.
What I don’t like
The one thing I don’t care for is that GFI FaxMaker wants to run under the account of a domain admin. Small offices running SBS don’t seem to care, but hospitals with Information Security departments take exception to this. Two things; no software should want to run as a domain admin, and any software that isn’t going to run as system ought to run under a service account. If you let it run under your user account, it will break in a couple of months when you change your password. In terms of how I rate this product, that counts off more than anything else.
I would also prefer the print drivers to be signed by Microsoft; I know that takes time, but it is a jarring warning in bold red when you go to install it on a Windows server.
The bottom line
GFI FaxMaker is an excellent faxing solution for health care organizations, whether they are private practice or attached to major medical centers. It’s easy to use, is able to integrate into existing systems, and contributes to HIPAA compliance – making itself a great solution on its own merits; the amount of time, money, and administrative support it saves your IT support helps it pay for itself in no time. I rate it a very strong 9/10, and bet you will too.
With all that it has to offer, GFI FaxMaker may be the best new application your healthcare practice has ever seen. But don’t just base it on my great experience, see for yourself.