Using an Encrypted PDF with Internet Fax offers HIPAA Compliant efax solution for receiving inbound

Published: 23rd April 2010
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Sending and receiving fax using an online fax service is extremely fast and efficient from a user perspective; but can it be used when receiving PHI while remaining HIPAA compliant? The answer is yes, if you use a fax solution with adobe acrobat functionality integrated into its fax platform.

How it works

A toll free number is provisioned and associated with an email address. So when someone sends you a fax, it gets converted to an image by a fax server in the cloud and then sent to your email address. The scale offered by using internet fax offers never busy inbound fax service as an additional benefit to your customers. If HIPAA compliance is needed, the users can turn-on the encrypted PDF functionality in the user preferences for their fax account and set their password. Now, every fax that comes into your account will be a password protected PDF, keeping PHI in compliance. All this is needed is a free Adobe reader download in conjunction with the internet fax service.

Not only with this make the receipt of fax more efficient and productive but it will get you one step closer to being able to integrate the PHI form with your electronic records solutions.

What is Protected Health Information? The Privacy Rule protects all "individually identifiable health information" held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral. The Privacy Rule calls this information "protected health information (PHI)."12

"Individually identifiable health information" is information, including demographic data, that relates to:

· the individual's past, present or future physical or mental health or condition,

· the provision of health care to the individual, or

· the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual,

and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe it can be used to identify the individual.13 Individually identifiable health information includes many common identifiers (e.g., name, address, birth date, Social Security Number).

The Privacy Rule excludes from protected health information employment records that a covered entity maintains in its capacity as an employer and education and certain other records subject to, or defined in, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. §1232g.

Because of the challenges of receiving HIPAA compliant internet fax, it's been difficult for the small end user having many possible inbound faxes from a variety of customers to benefit from internet faxing. However, password protected PDF's integrated with your online fax solution changes that by offering a solution from small to large end users. Many fax service providers are claiming to have a HIPAA compliant fax solution, unless they can explain how the image of PHI is not traveling over the public internet, they are incorrect. Go to for the source on HIPAA compliance.

For more information or how to get your HIPAA complaint fax solution, go to

Author Kevin V. McQueen Internet Fax and SaaS OCR Professional offering HIPAA compliant fax solution.

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