Why the eFax Era Has Ended

Jonathan Minson

May 29, 2024

The Beginning and the Frustrations

I started my journey in healthcare on October 31st, 2005. The job was straightforward: head to a medical practice after school and scan stacks of paper charts into a newly implemented EHR system, Cerner Millennium. My goal was to scan at least three charts each night. These charts, thick with decades of records, were fragile and time-consuming to process. Each chart required careful handling to ensure the scanned images were legible, often necessitating photocopying to improve quality.

What was particularly frustrating was the realization that many of these documents might never be accessed again. They were destined to become obsolete or remain in a hard-to-retrieve archive when the system transitioned to a new EHR. Scanning these documents wasn't just labor-intensive; it was also inefficient. The scanned PDFs were static, non-searchable, and often ended up in the wrong folders without any advanced processing.

The Innovation and Limitations of eFax

Fast forward from 2005, and one significant innovation in medical records management was the introduction of eFax. This technology allowed faxes to be received electronically rather than printed out and manually scanned back into the chart. While this was a notable improvement, the process still retained many inefficiencies. Many healthcare organizations continue to print, sort, and re-scan eFaxes, essentially repeating the same outdated procedures.

The fundamental limitations of eFax remain glaring. The documents are just PDFs – unsearchable and unindexed. Medical records staff still have to manually read, abstract data, and identify patient information. Multiple patients’ records in a single fax transmission further complicate the process, requiring manual separation and organization.

Transforming Fax Processing with AI

At Calvient, we believe the era of eFax is over. The technology has evolved, and now the era of AI fax has begun. With advancements in AI, we can automate the tedious tasks that eFax failed to address. Our solution, Practice Inbox, leverages AI to read, index, and abstract data from eFaxes, making them searchable and easily manageable.

AI-powered fax processing allows us to parse relevant data, identify patient information, document types, and even insurance details. We can understand the urgency and send automated replies when needed. Practice Inbox reduces a process that typically takes minutes down to mere seconds, significantly improving efficiency for medium to large healthcare organizations.

Conclusion: Embracing the Future

In a world buzzing with talk about AI's capabilities, let's not overlook the small, everyday tasks that cumulatively burden medical practices. AI can alleviate these routine pressures, transforming the landscape of medical records management. At Calvient, we are committed to leveraging technology to make the lives of healthcare providers easier and more efficient.