Build a Paperless Incoming Fax Workflow

Faxing is in a very strange place as we begin 2018.  While the general public is usually surprised when they find out fax machines exist, it’s much different for those of us in the know.  We understand that incoming faxes are a critical (and unavoidable) part of many modern workflows.  The unfortunate truth of these workflows is that they generate a significant amount of waste in both materials and FTE time.  The obvious waste is paper, but FTE time is a little trickier to quantify. 

When a fax comes in it needs to be evaluated to find out where it needs to end up in an organization, then action needs to be taken on it.  That action might be scanning the document, it might be sorting it into interoffice mail, it might even be throwing it in the garbage.  In almost every case the paper document will end up shredded or thrown away in favor of a scanned image down line.  OCR and electronic document classification can improve these workflows to great effect.

The first and most obvious benefit is that the fax will no longer be printed.  This in and of itself can be huge, but could also be handled with a basic fax server.  Electronic document classification can be used to automatically route documents into downstream workflows without the need for a person to review every incoming fax. Having the document OCR means that at the very least a searchable document can be delivered to the downstream workflow, but much more can be done.

By leveraging OCR data, it is also possible to pull pertinent information from a fax and leverage it in the downstream workflow.  Need to extract patient or client info and insert it into a database? No problem.  Need to redact sensitive PII or PHI from incoming documents? No problem.  By leveraging OCR, any of these workflow complexities can be solved.

Printing incoming faxes shouldn’t be a part of any modern workflow, and with modern technology like the Extract Systems platform, neither should manually sorting documents.


Kevin Tschopik works in Professional Services at Extract and has over 10 years of experience deploying and supporting IT systems. He holds a BS in Computer Science and is currently pursuing certification in Project Management. Kevin specializes in workflow planning/management and is involved with customers in every step of the process, from project kickoff to post live support. He resides in Madison WI where he enjoys the vibrant restaurant and craft brewing scene.