With EHR and EMR software, faxing is still the primary means of sharing data in a HIPAA compliant manner. Of course with faxing there’s no encryption, but since it’s a peer to peer connection over plain old telephone service (POTs) it’s still considered to be secure.
eClinicalWorks uses a fax server to handle both incoming and outgoing faxes, and the fax server can be an ordinary workstation with Windows 7 Professional or Windows 10 Professional. You’ll want to ensure the workstation has a PCI Express slot available for the required Fax Modem. Keep in mind that eClinicalWorks only supports Modems manufactured by Mainpine. They recommend the Mainpine IQ Express model, which comes in either a single or two line configuration. With Windows 7/10 Professional you’ll only be able to utilize a single line fax modem (more on this later) therefore the RF5118 is the single line configuration that works well and meets eClinicalWorks requirements.
However, if you’ve got a single fax line in place, there is always the possibility that documents will have a hard time getting to you on busy days. If your fax line is busy, there is going to be a delay in getting needed documentation and information for your patients. While a fax server with a single telephone line works well for small practices, it quickly becomes a bottleneck when higher volumes of faxes are being sent and received. Think of a single telephone line like a single lane highway; faxes won’t be able to be sent while the modem is busy with another fax. A solution with two modems and two phone lines can help manage traffic, with one modem dedicated to incoming faxes while the other handles outgoing faxes. With two modems your single lane highway now becomes a two lane highway with traffic flowing in both directions simultaneously.
While this solution is ideal, Microsoft doesn’t allow for multiple modems to be installed on Windows 7 or Windows 10 Professional. If multiple modems are a must-have, you’d need to purchase a Windows Server License to utilize multiple fax modems on a single machine.
An alternative and more robust solution would be to utilize an internet faxing platform to handle the incoming faxes while the single MainPine IQ Express modem is handles sending faxes. This would free up the modem to solely focus on outgoing traffic. Many internet faxing services allow you to receive multiple faxes at once, effectively giving you multiple incoming fax lines. With multiple incoming lines, faxes would be received on the first attempt – something senders will very much appreciate. You don’t want to waste time trying to send the same fax over and over again, and neither does anyone else.
Unfortunately however, most internet faxing solutions don’t integrate with eClinicalWorks and require an added solution – ideally one that won’t create further issues. NexgenTec offers a cloud faxing solution that’s compatible with the eClinicalWorks fax server. NexPBX ECW Fax Connect allows for the receiving of faxes through the internet and frees up your modem for sending outgoing faxes. With NexPBX ECW Fax Connect you’ll notice a significant performance increase, and less frustration.
We’d also highly recommend using Windows 10 for this setup, as Windows 7 is being phased out and will no longer be HIPAA compliant as of January 14th, 2020. So while you’re making upgrades to your infrastructure, this is something you’ll want to look into. In fact, it’s something you’re going to want to look into regardless.