Data Security & Compliance

HIPAA Fax: Protect Patients & Your Business

Alohi Team
November 1, 2022
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5 min read

World-class security, strong ethics, and a dedication to privacy have always been at the core of FAX.PLUS services. Ensuring that you are able to send faxes with ease and the assurance that your security needs are being met. Nowhere is this more crucial than with sensitive healthcare data, particularly as healthcare organizations are ethically and legally obliged to protect this data under HIPAA. 

What is HIPAA compliant electronic fax?

The 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) stipulates how healthcare organizations should maintain, transfer, and protect patient data. As a general rule, HIPAA prohibits healthcare providers from disclosing patient information to anyone other than authorized medical staff without the express permission of the patient. 

Remaining HIPAA compliant can be difficult when it comes to transmitting patient data. It is not always easy to prevent unauthorized staff from seeing PHI or ePHI during transmission. HIPAA compliant online fax services like FAX.PLUS eliminate the dangers of breaking HIPAA during transmission. These services often include certain extra features to keep PHI safe. For example, a HIPAA fax cover sheet will include the usual sender and receiver details as well as a disclaimer stating that the subsequent information is confidential and that unauthorized viewing of the document is prohibited by privacy rules or laws.

However, there are multiple sophisticated and precise safeguarding techniques that HIPAA faxing services use to protect patient data. FAX.PLUS, in particular, offers Enterprise users advanced security controls over their accounts and the ability to sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA).

HIPAA compliant fax services from FAX.PLUS

Fully HIPAA compliant

FAX.PLUS fulfills all requirements for HIPAA fax compliance. ePHI is kept perfectly secure and confidential when sent via FAX.PLUS. So, you can rely on FAX.PLUS for compliant faxing for healthcare.

Industry leading data encryption

FAX.PLUS offers industry-leading security and privacy protections, including 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) combined with Transport Layer Security (TLS). This keeps data perfectly safe during transit, and provides a fully HIPAA compliant cloud fax service.

Swiss privacy laws

Swiss privacy laws are among the very best in the world. FAX.PLUS follows the stipulations of Swiss privacy laws to ensure that all HIPAA cloud fax services offered with an Enterprise account are as strict and effective as they can possibly be when it comes to data security.

Cross-device functionality

You can access FAX.PLUS and send HIPAA-compliant faxes from any device, including mobile smart devices. This makes faxing much easier and more efficient while retaining sophisticated security measures at all times.

Unparalleled ease of use

The enterprise fax solution is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. With web and mobile apps that are built to enable simple, fast, and secure faxing without the need for extensive training. 

APIs and integrations

FAX.PLUS has a programmable fax API, enabling you to integrate FAX.PLUS with virtually any of your own software. Further integrations with popular apps and platforms like Google and Slack are also available.

Why is it important for your online fax solution to be HIPAA compliant?

Failure to comply with HIPAA is a very serious matter. The minimum an organization can be fined for criminal HIPAA violations is $50,000. An individual who criminally violates HIPAA can be fined up to $250,000. 

Anyone that breaches HIPAA criminally or unintentionally may have to pay restitution to the victims of the violation. This can run into hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, depending on the severity of the breach. HIPAA violations are also punishable by jail time. HIPAA violations that occur as a result of negligence can incur a prison term of 1 year. Knowingly breaching HIPAA for any reason can send you to jail for up to 10 years. HIPAA violations can also have serious consequences within the workplace. Depending on your HIPAA status (i.e., whether you are a Business Associate, Covered Entity, or member of the regular workforce), you could be subject to sanctions from your employers or the governing bodies of your industry.

There are also many benefits to having a HIPAA compliant fax service. Clients will feel far safer and have more trust in you if they know that you have picked a HIPAA compliant fax technology. Similarly, HIPAA compliant electronic faxing protects you against the loss of PHI without you having to install your own security protocols. While establishing your own protocols is important for developing a patient safety culture, there’s no need to make this harder than it needs to be.

Can you get free HIPAA compliant fax services?

It is always worth paying for a quality product, and perhaps the cheapest HIPAA fax service isn’t the best option. If you want to be sure that your HIPAA compliant fax to email service has the very best security and encryption features, it is best to get a paid plan like the FAX.PLUS Enterprise Plan.  It is theoretically possible to get HIPAA compliant online faxing for free, but remember that free plans will lack many of the sophisticated features of a paid plan, and will not be updated as often. If your organization does not need to be 100% HIPAA compliant (perhaps if you only occasionally handle PHI or ePHI), a free plan may be a good option for you.

Therefore, if you want a fully secure and HIPAA compliant cloud fax service, it is best to opt for FAX.PLUS’ Enterprise plan, which is covered under HIPAA. 

FAX.PLUS: Secure, reliable, and HIPAA compliant fax

HIPAA compliance is essential for anyone dealing with PHI and ePHI. However, HIPAA compliance is often harder when you are transferring data from one place, person, or format to another. Things can get lost in transmission, and with cybercrime on the rise, data theft is always a concern.

With FAX.PLUS, you can carry out secure online faxing from your phone, tablet, or desktop computer, safe in the knowledge that the process is fully HIPAA compliant. With industry-leading encryption technology and dedication to keeping your data secure, you can rely on FAX.PLUS to keep you on the right side of HIPAA.


Is fax a HIPAA compliant means of communication?

Faxing is not always HIPAA compliant. In order to make it HIPAA compliant, certain measures and protocols have to be followed. For example, during and after printing, PHI is vulnerable. To ensure that HIPAA is not breached during this time, it is important that only authorized people have access to the relevant fax machine and that the printed fax is stored securely. It is also very important that your online fax provider is HIPAA compliant. This involves having top-of-the-range, regularly updated security measures, including encryption, Transport Layer Security, and more.

Is FAX.PLUS HIPAA compliant?

FAX.PLUS is fully HIPAA compliant for Business Associate customers on the Enterprise Plan. When registering with FAX.PLUS as a Business Associate, you will get a package with industry-leading security measures designed to safeguard your patients’ PHI and ePHI.

Healthcare providers, insurance companies, and anyone whose work falls under HIPAA can trust FAX.PLUS with your most sensitive documents. FAX.PLUS covers all the administrative, technical, and physical safeguards needed to keep PHI and ePHI safe and secure during sending and transmission. FAX.PLUS also ensures that the technology is updated on an ongoing basis. FAX.PLUS will remain HIPAA compliant even as technology advances and legislation is altered.

What happens if I don’t maintain HIPAA compliance?

The penalties for violating or failing to maintain HIPAA compliance can be severe. Intentionally violating HIPAA can be considered a criminal act, subject to very heavy fines and potentially carrying a jail sentence of up to 10 years (depending on the severity of the violation).

Even unintentional HIPAA violations are a serious matter. Negligence resulting in a HIPAA breach can be treated as criminal, depending on the severity of the breach. Less severe breaches could result in disciplinary action, payment of restitution to victims, loss of reputation, and more. All in all, it is best to be diligent and vigilant when it comes to HIPAA compliance. Failing to maintain HIPAA compliance can have very serious consequences. 

When does a fax need to be HIPAA compliant?

Fax needs to be HIPAA compliant whenever it is transmitting PHI (Protected Health Information) and/or ePHI (electronic Protected Health Information).

PHI is a wide-ranging term covering a multitude of data. Data that may be considered PHI and ePHI includes (but is not limited to):

  • Demographic information
  • Contact information
  • Social security number
  • Medical record number
  • Test results
  • Medical history
  • Details of patient/professional conversations
  • Insurance details
  • Current diagnoses
  • Speculative diagnoses
  • Patient notes of any kind
  • Vehicle identifiers
  • Biometric factors (fingerprints or blood type data, for example)
  • Photographs of an individual or any part of an individual

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