HIPAA Compliant Fax: Secure Faxing for Healthcare industry

The HIPAA regulations are the only laws you truly need to understand in order to know how to protect your sensitive information and ensure that your medical records are in safe hands. Unless you’re a lawyer, it can be difficult to understand how federal regulations can impact your life and how you can take advantage of them to keep yourself protected.

This article will arm you with all the knowledge you need to keep your sensitive data secure, and navigate the world of HIPAA compliance when using online fax services. We will go over the history of HIPAA and how it affects you, explore how secure faxing is and how it became so popular in healthcare, and examine how Municorn’s HIPAA compliant fax service, Fax From iPhone, has emerged as the best online fax provider for the modern day.

Sending healthcare documents with a HIPAA compliant fax app

What is HIPAA and How Does It Impact Me?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, often shortened to HIPAA, was signed into law in 1996 and set the universal standards for the transferral of patients’ health information. In many ways, it bolstered the healthcare industry against fraud, theft, cyber-attacks, and has ultimately improved healthcare in the United States. If you’re wondering how this affects you personally, here’s a few ways HIPAA impacts the way you receive healthcare:

  • It prevents healthcare providers and other businesses (known as covered entities) from disclosing your protected health information to anybody you don’t want them to.

  • It protects health insurance coverage for those who lose or leave their jobs, preventing “Job Lock” – a term to describe when people would stay in jobs just to keep their healthcare.

  • It makes group coverage more accessible for those with preexisting conditions.

However, what HIPAA does above all else is set the universal standard for maintaining the privacy and security of health information through the Administrative Simplification provisions, which sets out 5 major rules:

  • The Privacy Rule
  • The Transactions and Code Sets Rule
  • The Security Rule
  • The Unique Identifiers Rule
  • The Enforcement Rule

Rules 2 and 4 dictate how healthcare providers interact with one another, and the Enforcement Rule, as you might have guessed, sets out all the penalties for companies who are not HIPAA compliant.

The main parts you need to understand are the Privacy Rule, and the Security Rule.

Privacy Rule

The Privacy Rule lays out exactly how a healthcare provider can and can’t use your sensitive information, how they have to store it, and requires them to notify you whenever it is used. It forces companies to give you a point of contact if you want to make a complaint, and lets you view your information for free electronically. Put simply, it protects your privacy, whilst also allowing the flow of information needed for high quality healthcare.

Security Rule

The Security Rule details security features for organizations storing your electronic protected health information, in order to be HIPAA compliant. This includes ensuring administrative, physical and technical safeguards to make sure highly sensitive documents are protected. Municorn’s online fax service, as a HIPAA compliant fax app, meets all of the HIPAA rules and lets you send and receive faxes with peace of mind.

So how do we combine the security of faxing with the convenience of more modern technology? This is where a HIPAA compliant online fax service presents a perfect solution, letting you use modern technology to send faxes with convenience, but benefit from all the protections of HIPAA. Online faxing has emerged as the ideal solution to get the best of both worlds.

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HIPAA Compliance and Fax Machine

Once the Privacy, Security and Enforcement Rules were published, traditional fax machines emerged as the most secure HIPAA compliant communication method between healthcare professionals. This happened for a few reasons. Firstly, since a traditional fax machine uses a phone line to send and receive faxes, it is seen as having enhanced security – point to point transmission between fax numbers and delivery receipts are good for having an audit trail and data protection, and so healthcare providers invested heavily in providing a secure fax service for faxing medical records and remaining HIPAA compliant.

In a massive, complex industry such as healthcare, companies have invested heavily in their EMR systems, and changing technology away from faxing would require an enormous amount of money, training, and time to implement. The philosophy of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” takes precedence, and so faxing is still a mainstay. Even if a change was on the horizon – it takes a long time to happen. It took well over 10 years for many parts of HIPAA to even come into effect after being signed in 1996, therefore faxing probably isn’t going away for at least another 10 years! Being able to use a fax service is therefore crucial, but with the emergence of online faxes, you don’t need a traditional machine anymore in order to be HIPAA fax compliant.

There are other reasons the healthcare industry at large still heavily relies on faxing and fax machines to ensure HIPAA compliance, despite the availability of more modern technology.

Security Matters and HIPAA

Staying on the subject of security, fax machines would be far less useful for criminals to target in cyber attacks – a traditional fax machine will be connected to fewer networks and secondary devices than an email server, and there may not be an internet connection to a fax machine, which would require physical access to the phone line itself to breach – often a secure location. Furthermore, organizations will pre program frequently used fax numbers into their fax machines, to minimize the risk of incorrectly sending information to the wrong number.

There are also far fewer attacks and scams over fax – it’s very easy for criminals to get somebody to click on a dangerous link over email, or attach harmful files to be downloaded onto a computer, but over fax it becomes much harder to scam or “phish” for sensitive data. Therefore, if you fax medical records Municorn’s HIPAA compliant online fax service, you are far less likely to be targeted by criminals in the first place.

Furthermore, standard email and text messages often fail to ensure compliance as they lack widespread support for encryption, and other HIPAA compliant features stated in the Security Rule. Texting has been described by industry professionals as a “HIPAA disaster zone“, and emails are more susceptible to attack and data loss than fax for a variety of reasons, and also require a business associate agreement with email providers.

As a healthcare provider, to remain HIPAA compliant you are advised to obtain written consent from patients in order to use email and text – this means that to use these methods, you as a patient have to acknowledge and accept the risk, which limits your protection under HIPAA rules. Why would you take on more risk over your sensitive data, when you don’t have to? When using HIPAA compliant faxing to send and receive faxes, your faxes are fully protected – meaning organizations that violate your data rights can be fined $50,000 per violation.

It’s clear that faxing isn’t going away in the medical industry anytime soon. However, it’s clear that patients increasingly want to use modern technology such as their mobile device to contact their doctors. Despite the problems with email we have outlined above, in 2015 it was found that 37% of people had used their personal email to contact their doctor, and 18% had even used Facebook, (which definitely is not HIPAA compliant or secure!).

So how do we combine the security of faxing with the convenience of more modern technology? This is where a HIPAA compliant online fax service presents a perfect solution, letting you use modern technology like your iPhone to send faxes with convenience, but benefit from all the protections of HIPAA. Online faxing has emerged as the ideal solution to get the best of both worlds.

The Best Online Fax Service For HIPAA Compliant Faxing

The Most Convenient Solution

Electronic fax services are the most convenient way to benefit from all the regulations which protect you, and Municorn’s online fax service Fax From iPhone gives you a HIPAA compliant fax machine in the palm of your hands. A traditional fax machine can be expensive, awkward to find a place in your home for, and difficult to maintain. An internet fax service solves this problem by making your phone a HIPAA compliant device which can send faxes and receive documents, without the need for a traditional fax provider.

Fully HIPAA Compliant

Most online fax services are not guaranteed to be HIPAA compliant, making online faxing an intimidating environment to navigate. Municorn’s faxing app – Fax From iPhone – has taken all necessary measures under the Security Rule, and is the best online fax service for HIPAA compliant fax communication between you and your healthcare providers, making HIPAA faxing safe and convenient for exchanging medical documents.

Very Easy To Get Started

With Municorn’s online faxing app, Fax From iPhone, all you need is the recipient’s fax number, and you can send unlimited pages over fax, create and customise cover sheets (many healthcare documents require a HIPAA fax cover sheet), store multiple fax numbers, and view your received faxes, with a free trial period and no setup fee. You can use the app’s delivery receipt system to know exactly when your intended recipient has received your online fax, giving you the security of knowing your documents are with who they should be.

Ultimately, we all find ourselves interacting with healthcare companies from time to time. Whether we need emergency care, or are just changing providers, it can be a stressful experience. Faxes are a small, but necessary part of your healthcare journey, and Municorn’s HIPAA fax service gives you peace of mind over your faxes, and lets you fax in the most convenient way. If you want to protect yourself by using a HIPAA compliant fax service, our online fax service does just that.


Is Municorn’s Fax App Fully HIPAA Compliant?

Yes, with this fax app we have taken full measures in accordance with HIPAA’s Security Rule which sets out administrative, physical and technical safeguards to keep your faxes safe and HIPAA compliant.

  • Administrative – We have established policies and procedures to train our employees and partners on data security and privacy to ensure the highest level of protection over your faxes.

  • Physical – We have established intrusion detection and prevention systems at our premises, as well as access controls and regular security audits.

  • Technical – We have data encryption, firewalls and other process security measures in place to secure your faxes.

How Do I Send a Fax?

To send a fax, navigate to the first page of the fax app and select “New Fax”. Fill in the fax number of the person you wish to send a fax to, and then add any images or documents to the fax. Once you are ready to send, select the “Send” button, and the fax will send.

To add a fax cover sheet, select the “Add Cover Sheet” option on the “New Fax” page, you can then customise the cover sheet by adding details such as the fax sender’s information, a message, or other relevant HIPAA information – please check with your healthcare organisation for specific guidance. You can then add the cover sheet and continue preparing your fax – inputting the fax number, reviewing your fax, and sending the fax.

Will I Get a Fax Number For Receiving Faxes?

Yes, upon subscribing you will receive a dedicated toll free fax number to receive faxes, which will enable you to receive faxes from anywhere in the world. When others are faxing you, they will have no restrictions on the number of pages they can add to their fax, and your fax app will alert the sender as to when you have received the fax, as with any other fax machine.