HIPAA-Compliant Cloud Fax: Your #1 Defense Against Cyber Criminals

6 minute read

Upland Admin

Ascension, a leading non-profit health system based in St. Louis with 140 hospitals and 40 senior living facilities across the country, suffered a cyberattack on May 8, 2024. InterFAX’s HIPAA-compliant cloud fax and intelligent document capture services aid medical professionals in protecting confidential patient PII from online criminals. 

This cybersecurity event comes just months after a similar breach affected UnitedHealth Group’s Change Healthcare system—in February, they suffered a ransomware attack that suspended pharmacy billing nationwide. 

Ascension’s cyber hack caused them to pause countless non-emergency elective procedures, appointments, and tests. As their EHR systems proved unavailable, providers reverted to pre-digital procedures like paper records, manual processes for prescription dispensing, contacting patients by phone, and physically writing lab orders. 

Protect patient data and ensure continuity of care. 

Hospitals account for 30% of all large data breaches. Security breaches and hackers cost US healthcare companies around $6 trillion in 2020, but the effect on patient care and disruption in service is immeasurable. 

If these statistics make you uneasy, they should. Data breaches resulting from security flaws or negligent processes affect your organization’s reputation and bottom line. According to HIMSS, a single compromised patient record can incur approximately $380 in compliance fees. In 2021, 67% of survey respondents indicated that their healthcare organizations experienced significant security incidents within the previous year. Consider how many patient records you are currently responsible for. A single breach could quickly amount to millions in penalties. 

Financial costs are not the only hardship organizations face amid a cyber threat. The primary consequence of major data security incidents is the disruption of critical patient services. Medical cybersecurity is fundamentally a HIPAA-related patient safety issue. Therefore, providers must adopt secure and reliable HIPPA-complaint cloud fax technology to ensure essential communications and patient services continue without interruption or threat to privacy. 

HIPAA-compliant cloud fax solutions provide secure and efficient communications. 

Robust technical, physical, and procedural security measures are necessary to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of all medical communications. InterFAX’s cloud fax and intelligent document capture services provide secure and reliable communication solutions. Upland InterFAX protects sensitive data, expedites patient access to care and services, and seamlessly integrates with leading EMR/EHR systems. 

HIPAA-complaint cloud fax services are essential for maintaining workflow. However, traditional fax servers, standalone devices, and plug-in apps often pose security risks, cause delivery delays, and result in inefficient data management. Even with a cover sheet, traditional faxing is risky for private data. Once sent, it is beyond your control; the receiving machine might print confidential information that the wrong person could pick up. 

Enhance compliance and efficiency among medical messages. 

InterFAX’s secure, compliant online fax solution and advanced workflow tools allow you to automate fax routing, reception, and delivery while ensuring the security of your medical communications. We automatically store every fax sent on our secure servers, creating a fully compliant audit trail. 

Data encryption:Fax messages (inbound and outbound) should be delivered in encrypted formats, whether SSL or signed email (PKI), so that personally identifiable information (PII) can be delivered securely. 

Automatic fax removal:Messages containing sensitive content are automatically deleted from servers upon delivery, ensuring that nobody – including your third-party vendor – has access to sensitive information. 

User authentication:The technology gives you the ability to enforce appropriate access rights by compelling username and password access to theonline fax system. 

Physical security:Actual server equipment must be housed in secure environments that are accessible only by approved personnel. InterFAX has secure data centers located strategically around the globe. 

Audit trail: The service should provide a full audit trail of cloud fax communications sent and received through the servers, viewable online or trackable using mail confirmations sent to a fax’s sender.  

The time to upgrade to HIPAA-complaint cloud fax was yesterday. 

Is the fear of change (or the work of implementing a new system) worth risking your patient’s data – not to mention the cost of a breach? Tech is evolving quickly, and if your fax system is a few years old (or older), your organization (and your clients) are already at risk. Not only is this a basic compliance no-no, but an ethical question. After all, “do no harm” is your commitment, so while you’re keeping patients healthy and thriving, you need to ensure you’re safeguarding their PII as well. 

At InterFAX, we are highly aware of the negative impact cyberattacks and ransomware can have on healthcare providers and patients who trust them while seeking urgent, comprehensive care and services. We are committed to providing our customers with the most secure, HIPAA-compliant cloud fax and capture technology. We’ve covered a few of our security protocols above, but here’s a quick list highlighting how seriously we take data security and privacy. 

  • Destination fax numbers can be hidden for extra security 
  • Sensitive fax data can be securely submitted to our servers and automatically removed upon delivery 
  • User authentication requires usernames and passwords 
  • Only approved personnel have access to our secure servers 
  • Quickly transmit medical information between providers or to patients while ensuring security 
  • Decreased IT and maintenance needs by eliminating hardware 
  • Improved data access by integrating InterFAX with existing eMAR, EMR, and EHR systems 
  • Compliance with data privacy standards likeHIPAA, PHIPA, and PCI DSS 
  • Worldwide data residency powered by in-country data storage centers 
  • Secured by TLS encryption, user authentication, “delete upon delivery,” and more 

Wrap Up 

The recent cyberattacks on major healthcare systems like Ascension and UnitedHealth Group highlight the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures. Protecting patient data and ensuring continuity of care is paramount in the face of these threats. By adopting secure and reliable communication solutions like InterFAX’s cloud fax and intelligent document capture services, healthcare providers can safeguard sensitive information, maintain workflow efficiency, and comply with stringent data privacy standards. As technology evolves, so must the security strategies of healthcare organizations to protect patient information and uphold their commitment to care. 

Want more info? Learn more about cloud fax for healthcare. 

Need a quick bite? Check out our brief healthcare overview video.  

Ready to talk to an expert? Reach out for a quick chat and demo.

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