Reviewing Cloud Fax for Healthcare in 2017

Another year is coming to an end, and for many organizations and industries, it’s a time to reflect on the past 12 months of business: What’s changed, what’s stayed the same and where opportunities will be found in the year to come. For a cloud-based healthcare fax company like Concord, reflecting on the year includes paying close attention to any changes in security and compliance, as well as general adoption of both technology and practices. In considering these factors, we’ve found three key takeaways from the past year that will continue to shape the industry in 2018, particularly among those healthcare organizations that are considering shifting from fax servers to cloud fax technology.

Fax Use is on the Rise—And so is Cloud Use

During 2017, the International Data Group (IDC) released a research paper titled, “Fax Market Pulse: Trends, Growth, and Opportunities.” In this paper, IDC reported that—contrary to any notions that fax is a dying technology—82% of organizations surveyed reported that their fax usage actually went up over the course of the year; and of those organizations whose fax usage went up, it increased by an average of 27%.

The primary industries that IDC surveyed for this paper included government, manufacturing, finance and healthcare. IDC drew the conclusion that fax usage across these industries will shift to the cloud over the course of the next two years. This prediction makes complete sense when considering the widespread trend of organizations moving to the cloud, a phenomenon that is especially evident in healthcare: Spending on cloud services in U.S. healthcare is on track to grow to $9.5 billion in 2020, effectively tripling the spend of $3.73 billion in 2015.

Our takeaway: Use of fax in healthcare is on the rise, use of cloud technology in healthcare is on the rise. With a growing number of healthcare organizations looking to ditch their fax servers and switch to more reliable and efficient cloud fax, we aren’t surprised that the growing use of both fax and cloud services are merging into the rise of cloud fax.

Related: What To Ask a Prospective Cloud Fax Provider About HIPAA Compliane

Hackers Continue to Target Healthcare

In 2016, IBM’s X-Force Cyber Security Intelligence Index reported that healthcare is the most targeted industry for cyber-attacks, and 2017 was much of the same: According to a McAfee report released earlier this month, the healthcare industry accounted for 40% of all data security attacks. Heading into 2018, this trend is expected to continue; in fact, if hackers continue to penetrate healthcare data at this rate, by 2024 every person in the U.S. will be statistically likely to have their health data compromised.

It’s no surprise that hackers are drawn to healthcare: Health records contain extremely personal data, ranging from financial information to details on a person’s medical conditions. And in addition to the sensitivity of health info, organizations that are slow to adopt advanced health IT systems make for appealing targets due to lagging digital security. Because of this potential security gap, it’s becoming increasingly important for healthcare organizations to invest in secure IT systems, particularly for the secure exchange and storage of Protected Health Info (PHI).

Our takeaway: Cyber security in health care was an important issue in 2017, and as hackers continue to target the health industry, healthcare organizations will always need to be one step ahead. We expect to see more organizations continue to invest in ways to transmit and store PHI securely. With cloud fax being the more secure option over on-premise fax servers, it will continue to be an important technology to invest in.

Interoperability is Always the Goal

The push for interoperability has been in full effect for a few years, with initiatives like Meaningful Use, MACRA and MIPS making their presence felt across the industry. 2017 saw this push continue, but for many health organizations, there’s still a long way to go.

According to research by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in 2017 only 38% of hospitals reported the ability to integrate healthcare data into their EHRs without manual entry. And on top of this, 55% of hospitals cited their exchange partners’ EHR systems’ lack of ability to receive data as a barrier to interoperability. Integrating secure methods of exchanging PHI within an EHR environment will be vital for organizations that are continuing to strive for interoperability in 2018.

Our takeaway: The push for interoperability didn’t let up in 2017, and 2018 will be the same. As healthcare organizations look for secure methods of sending and receiving PHI with EHR systems directly, finding a secure cloud fax provider that integrates with EHRs will be important.

Do any of these takeaways fit in with your organization’s goals for the new year? To get a jump on preparing for 2018, download our Cloud Fax Reference Guide below to learn about Concord’s Cloud Fax solution. Secure, reliable and able to integrate with any EHR, Concord Cloud Fax solved problems for over 150,000 users in 2017. Contact us to learn how we can help your healthcare organization in 2018.

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