AUSTIN, TX – To most physician practices and home healthcare agencies, the fax is a nightmare. The very word connotes minutes, maybe even hours, spent alongside the ubiquitous machine, preparing documents, punching in phone numbers and hoping everything is sent correctly.
And yet, the fax is essential. It’s estimated that 80 percent of a patient’s medical record is data accumulated outside the doctor’s office, and that those offices send and receive anywhere between 1,000 and 4,000 pages a month by fax – or about 15 billion fax pages a year.
Enter SecureCare Technologies. The Austin, Texas-based firm offers Sfax, an Internet-based fax management system that’s designed to help physician practices and home health agencies save up to 95 percent in administration time and up to 80 percent in the cost of manual faxing. Sfax is marketed through resellers and electronic medical record (EMR) vendors, and will soon be coupled with an e-prescribing vendor.
Dennis Nasto, SecureCare’s CEO, says physicians’ offices overlook the fax machine when they consider ways to reduce paper and improve the healthcare process, while EMR vendors “don’t want to be in the fax business.” Implementing Sfax, he says, is a good introduction to turning paper records into an electronic format.
“Some of our EMR vendors look at the faxing solution as the first step toward an EMR,” he said.
Nasto sees Sfax as the alternative to an expensive secure e-mail technology solution. “We’re a digital certificate authority,” he says, creating an electronic signature that is far more reliable than a digital one. In addition, he says, whereas a physician’s office could spend two hours a day in manual faxing, Sfax reduces the time spent on that process to less than 20 minutes.
The biggest hurdle in getting Sfax into the market, Nasto contends, is visibility. In other words, the fax machine may sit in most doctors’ offices, but it’s rarely regarded with anything more than a passing nod.
“Faxing is a routine, so doctors don’t really think anything of it,” says Nasto. “They don’t realize there’s a solution out there. As a result, it’s often hard to get an office manager’s attention because so many people are trying to get their foot in the door.”
SecureCare Technologies recently made an inroads in the home healthcare industry with a partnership with Thornberry Limited, a Lancaster, Pa.-based developer of clinical management software for the homecare industry. The Sfax system was made available to Thornberry customers on June 1 and is being implemented at Twin Tier Home Health in Vestal, N.Y.
“By offering the ability to automatically send, receive and track documents without the need to print, all from within the patient electronic record, we’re giving users of Thornberry’s point of care system a way to drastically slash their costs associated with manual faxing, as well as greatly simplify administration and speed workflow,” said Tom Peth, Thornberry’s president.