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Dr's office accepts fax, but not scan?
Old 02-26-2016, 10:40 AM   #1
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Dr's office accepts fax, but not scan?

I had to send a bunch of signed forms to a clinic so they would schedule me for a procedure (I could've dropped them off, but we don't live nearby).

The office staff person said I could fax the signed forms, but when I offered to scan and email them instead (since we don't have a fax machine) she said they weren't allowed to accept that.

She was just repeating what she'd been told, so I didn't ask her to explain, but I will ask youse guys:

What is the difference between a faxed signed form, and a scanned/emailed one? They both use electrons.

Amethyst
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:46 AM   #2
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I don't remember the specifics, but unless it's a secure email system that your doctor's office uses, the can't accept 'general email' as it's not secure whereas a fax is (as the government why!) It's one of the HIPPA requirements.

Sent via mobile device. Please excuse any grammatical errors.
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:51 AM   #3
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Yes, I suspect that is it. A couple years ago I had to send some forms to my U.S. Senator's office and they would not accept a scan via email due to security concerns. Fax or snail mail only as I recall.
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Old 02-26-2016, 10:53 AM   #4
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I didn't know it was a legal thing, but it could be. Most DR'S offices don't allow communication via email. I always thought it was their security folks not wanting to open up to Internet traffic. It's a whole lot more challenging to secure networks exposed to the Internet.
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Old 02-26-2016, 11:21 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I had to send a bunch of signed forms to a clinic so they would schedule me for a procedure (I could've dropped them off, but we don't live nearby).

The office staff person said I could fax the signed forms, but when I offered to scan and email them instead (since we don't have a fax machine) she said they weren't allowed to accept that.

She was just repeating what she'd been told, so I didn't ask her to explain, but I will ask youse guys:

What is the difference between a faxed signed form, and a scanned/emailed one? They both use electrons.

Amethyst
Faxes have legal precedent that emails don't. That's all there is to it. For decades Faxes have been accepted for sending legal documents. Emails never were. In addition, Faxes are still considered far more secure than emails.

Some companies work around this by having offering secure email, or providing a secure service for uploading documents.

But many do not.
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Old 02-26-2016, 11:43 AM   #6
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The cheapskate in me gripes at having to put two whole stamps on the envelope
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Old 02-26-2016, 01:26 PM   #7
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It is possible to fax with computer. Still tedious though ...

How to Send and Receive Faxes Online Without a Fax Machine or Phone Line
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:58 AM   #8
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Thanks - to all - I learned something new today!

I've done real estate transactions(leases, sale) using just emailed scans of documents, and those fake signatures where you digitally confirm that it is actually "yours." At the time I did have a few qualms about using a broadcast system (email). Single circuit (fax) would definitely be less insecure.

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Old 02-27-2016, 06:24 AM   #9
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I had some of the same problems, my solution a $15 USB modem.
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:48 AM   #10
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Looks like more trouble than it's worth, but I was thinking there are ways to send a fax from your PC, and evidently there still are. How to Send and Receive Faxes Online Without a Fax Machine or Phone Line
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Old 02-27-2016, 06:54 AM   #11
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I don't remember the specifics, but unless it's a secure email system that your doctor's office uses, the can't accept 'general email' as it's not secure whereas a fax is (as the government why!) It's one of the HIPPA requirements.
I believe the (outdated) thought is that a fax is a point-to-point telephone connection which is less likely to be intercepted. However, there are incoming fax services available so that the subscriber doesn't have to have a physical fax machine, but they get the fax emailed to them as a PDF. This obviously defeats the "more secure" fax argument. Hopefully medical offices don't use these services.

In a similar vein, a couple of years back I made an online reservation at a B&B inn. As always, before entering my credit card info, I made sure I was on a secure web page. The next day I received a confirmation email from the inn containing all the card info I had previously submitted, including CVV code. It turned out the service they were using for secure checkout received the information via the encrypted page, but then just sent that to the inn as an open email, which I only discovered because the inn created their confirmation email by forwarding the one they received from the service. So my card info was exposed in open email twice! I complained strongly to the inn and recommended they find a new service provider.

Just goes to show you that what appears to be secure isn't necessarily so.
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Old 02-27-2016, 07:17 AM   #12
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I had some of the same problems, my solution a $15 USB modem.
+1.

I got a USB modem sitting around too. I bought that when I had DSL and my connection would constantly drop out so I ending up relying on dial up as backup. Before I switched my internet provider .
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Old 02-27-2016, 08:51 AM   #13
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But if your phone is VOIP as many people now have what is the difference between faxing and scan/email?

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:33 AM   #14
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But if your phone is VOIP as many people now have what is the difference between faxing and scan/email? ..
Yep, I think the idea that a fax is more secure is very questionable.

It is almost child's play to find the telephone lines going into a doctor's office, stop by at night and attach an RF transmitter to their fax lines and place a receiver nearby (in a parked car?).

I think that is harder to do with an internet connection.

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Old 02-27-2016, 09:37 AM   #15
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Physician regulating bodies are not known for their tendency to keep up to date with current technology. Their policies may be outdated. I suggest asking for the regulation or procedure manual where it states that a scan is not acceptable. That is, if you have the time to challenge it. Or, you could just mail it.
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Old 02-27-2016, 09:53 AM   #16
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Physician regulating bodies are not known for their tendency to keep up to date with current technology. Their policies may be outdated. I suggest asking for the regulation or procedure manual where it states that a scan is not acceptable. That is, if you have the time to challenge it. Or, you could just mail it.
Its not just Physician bodies. In the US the SEC has regulations that no one can follow, technically impossible to be compliment. I'm of the opinion that these(sometimes valid) decisions are made at a point in time then never challenged.
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:40 PM   #17
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I had some of the same problems, my solution a $15 USB modem.
That assumes you have a landline. Some of us don't have a landline.
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:50 PM   #18
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Physician regulating bodies are not known for their tendency to keep up to date with current technology. Their policies may be outdated. I suggest asking for the regulation or procedure manual where it states that a scan is not acceptable. That is, if you have the time to challenge it. Or, you could just mail it.
Yes - but financial institutions like Fidelity Investments do the same thing. I can FAX in instructions, or mail them. But I can't email them.

At least I don't think they have a secure document upload system yet. You'd think Fidelity would have such a thing in place, but I don't think they do. This would be much more convenient for me, because I don't have a landline to send a FAX from my computer. And I don't like to take it to any office, because it's always a very sensitive document, and I don't like anyone else to see it let alone have an image saved in the local memory of a public FAX machine. So I pretty much have to mail it.

I've dealt with insurance companies who have document signing and upload capabilities that are secure.

A long legal history allows use of FAX for sending and receiving financial and legal documents.
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:47 AM   #19
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I use FaxZero for all such requirements. 5 pages is free. Anywhere Canada/US.

Being in Mexico, post is not a practical option. Even verifying holdings with auditors.

And I use the autosign feature of Adobe PDF to avoid ever printing. (Must print the signed document to a PDF Printer with the free version to save it.)
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Old 03-07-2016, 10:53 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I've done real estate transactions(leases, sale) using just emailed scans of documents, and those fake signatures where you digitally confirm that it is actually "yours." At the time I did have a few qualms about using a broadcast system (email). Single circuit (fax) would definitely be less insecure.

Amethyst

Yup. We completed the sale of our condo remotely. We did have to get the final documents notarized and mailed, but every other document we had to sign we e-signed and sent via e-mail.

Doctor's and hospitals have resisted most of the changes that have occurred throughout the rest of the economy. I think it's because they don't have to change. They face such little competition.

We just got a bill from a lab where the only way to pay was by mailing in a physical check. Forget about paying online. They wouldn't take credit cards at all, even over the phone. Ridiculous.
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