Although the use of fax machines has decreased with the rise of digital communication technologies, faxes remain a popular method of transmitting sensitive information in certain key industries. Unlike emails, faxes are transmitted over a dedicated phone line, making them less visible for interception or hacking. They’re also more reliable in areas with poor internet connectivity since they don’t require an internet connection.
For those reasons, several industries in the United States still rely heavily on faxes for transmitting documents.
Leading industries still relying on fax
Faxes remain a common means of communication in the healthcare industry, with many healthcare organizations using them to transmit patient records, prescriptions, and other sensitive medical documents.
A recent survey by Updox found that 63% of healthcare organizations still rely on fax machines to transmit patient information, with smaller providers being more likely to use faxes. Specifically, 71% of practices with ten or fewer providers reported using fax machines to some extent. In the absence of digital communication methods or when such methods are not preferred, faxes remain a critical way of transmitting patient records, referrals, and other clinical documentation.
Faxes are still widely used in the real estate industry, particularly by real estate agents who need to send and receive purchase agreements, lease agreements, and other documents related to real estate transactions.
People working in the Real Estate industry feel that faxes help facilitate the sale of properties and ensure that all parties involved in a transaction are on the same page. Various documents such as purchase agreements, inspection reports, property disclosures, loan documents, and title documents may need to be faxed between the buyer, the seller, the broker, and their respective attorneys.
Government and Legal
Although the specific requirements for document transmission may vary depending on the state or jurisdiction, faxes are widely used within government agencies, courts, and legal practices. A survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Counsel in 2019 found that 63% of legal departments still use faxes to transmit sensitive documents.
There are several examples of government agencies and courts in the United States that require faxes for certain types of documents. For instance, the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) require faxes to transmit certain types of documents and tax forms. In addition, state and federal courts also require faxes for legal filings, such as pleadings, motions, orders, and emergency motions and orders.
Finance and Banking
Some financial institutions, such as banks and insurance companies, still rely on fax machines to transmit documents that require signatures and other forms of verification. For instance, loan applications and agreements require physical signatures to be legally binding, and faxing can ensure that these documents can be received and printed by any machine, regardless of the type or age of the technology.
Main reasons why fax is still in use in these industries
They are used to it
Industries that still use faxes often do so out of habit because they don’t want to change their existing infrastructure or learn new technology. Replacing legacy systems and training staff to use new technologies is a costly and disruptive process. Resistance and tension often arise when introducing these changes, which is especially true in the finance and banking industry, renowned for being cautious about new technologies and slow to adopt them.
Also, industries with older employees can be more comfortable using faxes than newer digital technologies. Despite faxes being seen by some as an old and outdated way of transmitting documents, changing established workflows can be difficult and require significant investment in both tech and training. An investment that is often more necessary elsewhere.
Overall, faxes are relatively easy to use and require minimal technical expertise. Most people are familiar with fax machines and how to send and receive faxes, which can help to minimize errors and misunderstandings. Additionally, faxes can be sent and received quickly, without needing an internet connection or specialized software.
They rely on paper
One one the greatest advantages of faxes is that they provide a hard copy of the document being transmitted. This can be especially beneficial in fields like healthcare and law, where physical documentation is often mandatory for legal and regulatory purposes. Additionally, having a hard copy can make it easier to read and review the information, as well as to share it with others. They provide a paper trail that can be efficiently tracked and authenticated.
In hospitals, nurses can just place the document in the fax machine and type a fax number to send a prescription to the pharmacy. Compare that to having to place a document in a computer’s scanner, then scanning it, attaching it to an email and sending the email.
It’s also particularly predominant in the restaurant industry, where it’s common for food delivery services to send faxes to restaurants. These restaurants automatically get a printed copy of the order, which they can pin above their workbench and immediately start working on.
They perceive them as more secure
The healthcare and finance industries place great trust in faxes, as they are seen as a secure and dependable means of transmitting crucial and sensitive information. While emails have become more popular in recent years, faxes offer a quick and secure way for these industries to transmit important and sensitive information, which is paramount when dealing with patient privacy and financial data.
Users generally consider faxes to be more secure than emails because they are sent over a dedicated analog phone line rather than the internet and are transmitted as an image, making it more difficult for hackers to modify the contents of the message. Additionally, faxes can be printed and stored in a physical file, providing an extra layer of security.
However, faxes can still be intercepted or lost if not properly handled, and emails can also be encrypted for added security. They can be more convenient and faster to send and receive than faxes and more and more industries rely on emails to share important information. Whatever your industry, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of fax and email communication and choose the option that fits your needs best.
We are currently in a transitional period for faxing, where it’s becoming rarer to fax a document, yet faxes are still needed in some cases. We created Genius Fax to bridge the gap between this older technology and the convenience of smartphones so that you can confidently interact with industries that still rely on faxes.
Genius Fax can also help you increase productivity by benefiting from the advantages of mobility. By centralizing your fax machine in your pocket, you can consult all the faxes you have received or sent anywhere and at any time of the day.