This month at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's Interoperability Forum CMS Administrator Seema Verma called on developers to help make doctors' offices “a fax-free zone by 2020.” The leader in healthcare business news, Modern Healthcare, published an insightful article on the healthcare industry’s efforts and challenges ditching the fax machine.
Olio’s COO, Sean Mullins, provided commentary on the article that was published as a letter to the editor in Modern Healthcare’s monthly magazine. A full transcript of that commentary that ran in print can be seen below and in association with the article on modernhealthcare.com.
Acknowledging the shortcomings of fax machine as a means for healthcare communication is a positive step toward realizing the goal of real-time digital health communications. It's important to note the communication gap caused by the fax machine is especially limiting in acute <> post-acute communications. With FHIR, there are (costly) advancements being made in EHR data exchange. However, especially in the case of smaller post-acute provider organizations (skilled nursing facilities, home health organizations, and outpatient therapy), the fax dilemma has been mostly unaddressed.
Interestingly, the CMS's pressure in the form of risk payment models and value-based care initiatives result in hospitals being more motivated than ever to improve communication across the entire episode of care. There are new technologies, like Olio, that allow for real time, actionable digital communication between acute and post-acute providers. As forward-thinking hospital systems continue to adopt innovative communication and risk management platforms to replace current-day fax machine use-cases the problem will slowly be resolved.