Frequently Asked Questions

What precautions should I take when faxing patient information?

Answer

Information regarding sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, abuse of drugs or alcohol, and mental health should never be faxed. Likewise, it is recommended that physicians avoid routinely faxing patient information to insurance companies, attorneys or other non-health care entities if the information can be effectively sent by mail or messenger service. The best practice is to only fax patient information for an immediate patient-care encounter.

If it is necessary to fax patient information, it is recommended that the intended receiver be called just prior to sending the fax to ensure the information is received and promptly removed from the fax machine. We recommend that you include a cover sheet with the name of the intended receiver and instructions to destroy the information should it accidentally be sent to the wrong number. The cover sheet should also request that anyone incorrectly receiving the fax call the sender and notify him or her that this has occurred. To avoid sending information to a wrong number, we suggest you take a moment to confirm that the correct number has been entered prior to pressing the “send” button. If it is suspected that a fax was sent to the wrong number, retrieve the number from the machine’s internal logging system and fax a request to destroy the information.

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