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Pharmacists: it’s a bitter pill for fax machines when the nbn™ arrives

With prescription orders flying in for Webster-pakⓇ home deliveries, and bulk medication orders for nursing homes, fax is an essential communication tool for your pharmacy.

But while GPs, specialists, dentists and optometrists all use and prefer it, fax certainly has its frustrations.

Paper jams, busy signals, changing toner cartridges, missing pages and questionable patient privacy, to name a few.

And if a faxed prescription never arrives due to a paper jam or signal error – that’s lost business for you, plus an angry customer and a disappointed prescriber.

All you need to know is: there’s a better way for your pharmacy to fax.

Welcome to the world of online fax.

What is online fax?

Online faxing (aka ‘digital faxing’) is a way of sending and receiving faxes via the internet, without the use (or inconvenience) of a traditional fax machine.

You still have a normal fax number and you can even keep your existing fax number (which is an essential part of your business identity). Everyone can still exchange faxes with you just as they do now. The only difference is that, instead of using a fax machine to send and receive faxes, you use your computer, laptop, tablet or mobile. In fact, online fax systems feel instantly familiar, because the process is very similar to sending an email.

With just an internet connection and an online fax account, you’re all set to start.

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for traditional fax. Not only do you need a dedicated machine, but traditional fax doesn’t work with the nbn™.

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The prognosis is bad for traditional fax on the nbn™

Unfortunately, while the nbn™ rollout should make your internet faster, it will also turn your traditional fax machine into a dinosaur.

When you get the nbn™ your phone line will become digital, and because your traditional fax machine is purely analog, it will simply stop working.

You may be able to find a suitable workaround, such as an adapter or a VoIP provider. But both workaround options are awkward and frustrating. You might be able to get it working sometimes, and other times it’ll drive you up the wall. That’s wasted time – time that you need to spend giving health advice to your customers instead.

The good news is: online fax works with the nbn™ because it doesn’t require a physical machine to plug into your line. It works just like email does.

So by moving to online fax, you’ll be able to focus on your core business –  looking after your customers’ health.

Online fax will transform your pharmacy’s operations, too.

Fewer pharmaceutical errors with online fax

One of the most obvious differences between traditional faxing and online faxing is scan quality.

You see, with traditional fax machines, there are two ends of the channel that can mess up print quality and cause serious errors in prescriptions.

At the sender’s end, one speck of dirt on the scan roller can leave a big dirty line right through the page. There have been times when poor fax quality has directly led to a dangerous pharmacy error, because a fax stripe in the wrong place completely changed how the pharmacist read the dosage.

Then there are the issues on the receiver’s end. A poor quality fax transmission can be made even worse by depleted toner, paper jams and mis-aligned paper feeds.

The result? The prescription is almost indecipherable, and you waste your time calling the prescriber to check the details.

Luckily, you can fix the issues on your end because online fax sends out clean, high quality fax images.

With online fax, you can send documents straight from the Word app, or upload a saved PDF from your files. It’s just like attaching a document to an email. There’s no scanning through a roller, so there’s no chance of dirty roller lines.

And because you receive online faxes digitally (on your computer or mobile), you don’t have to worry about print errors and paper jams. Of course, if the sender is still using a traditional fax machine, the image may not be perfect, but at least your own system isn’t adding to the problem.

(Better yet, tell your frequent senders to switch to online fax too, and you can all enjoy exchanging spotless, crystal clear faxes.)

Another benefit of paperless fax is that you’ll save time by doing less filing.

Online fax improves your document handling processes

Almost every business thinks “Gee, wouldn’t it be great to go paperless”. But in a paperwork-heavy industry like healthcare, it seems impossible. While it might take a while to achieve a completely paperless pharmacy, your traditional paper fax machine is a disease that you can eradicate right away.

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Every online fax you receive is – of course – completely digital, which means you can view, action, and save faxes to your database in a few clicks; all without printing.

What’s more, every online fax you receive is automatically saved and backed up in secure cloud storage.

And if you choose a good provider, you’ll get unlimited storage, so you can keep every fax you send and receive. Forever. No need to waste your time deleting faxes to save storage space and cut down on filing cabinets. Your fax history can simply stay there. Instead of being a big denial-pile of papers sitting on your desk, waiting to be filed or shredded, it’s just data (that won’t clog your own server).

Most importantly, if a query ever arises about a particular prescription or prescriber number, your entire online fax history is at your fingertips, ready search at any time.

Online fax is private and secure

You need to maintain your customers’ privacy, and online fax means no more faxed papers sitting in a tray for anyone to read, or scoop up by accident.

There’s no concern about data security, either. In fact, online fax is more secure than email.

Online fax data is protected by TLS version 1.2, which is currently the most up-to-date security protocol available. Data is encrypted using a combination of private and public keys, so it’s unreadable by outside parties who don’t have the right keys to decipher it. In other words, your customers’ private medical information is safe with online fax.

Online fax is significantly cheaper than traditional fax

For starters, you don’t need a fax machine, because you can use any computer, tablet or phone you already own. No special machine also means there are no consumables or wear: no paper, toner or maintenance costs.

For a low monthly fee, you get all the benefits of online fax: the compatibility with the nbn™ network, the convenience of a paperless system, and the freedom to send and receive faxes from anywhere.

By switching to online fax, most businesses save over $600/yr compared with traditional fax. And that’s nothing to be sneezed at.

Ensure you keep your existing fax number

Considering how many GPs and care facilities have your fax number on speed dial, your fax number plays an important part in your business identity.

If you’re expecting to get the nbn™ soon, you need to make a decision about your existing fax number immediately.

Most online fax providers will allow you to keep your existing fax number. But to do this, they have to physically port your number across to an entirely different infrastructure. No matter which online fax provider you choose, this will take 6-12 weeks.

If you get the nbn™ connected at your premises before your number is ported across – even if the port is already underway – your old number will be disconnected at the exchange.

To get the same fax number back, you’ll need to apply to have it physically reconnected. This takes time, and you could potentially even have your fax number taken by someone else in the meantime.

Check the estimated date for when the nbn™ network is planned to be available at your address.

Still have questions?

As you can see, your pharmacy will certainly benefit from moving to an online fax service such as eFax. But if you have any questions about how online fax can work best for your business, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 1800 283 361 so we can answer them for you.

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