Guidelines for the Transmission of Personal Health Information by Facsimile Machine

Applicable to: The Guideline is applicable to all persons employed in WA Health including contractors, sub-contractors and agency personnel, incorporating the following entities: Department of Health Divisions, Metropolitan Health Services and WA Country Health Services.

The Guidelines for the Transmission of Personal Health Information by Facsimile Machine (Guidelines) are intended as a guide to WA Health staff using the fax machine to transfer personal health information. The Guidelines highlights the circumstances under which faxing may be deemed appropriate and outline measures that promote the security and integrity of the information being transferred.

Guidelines for the Transmission of Personal Health Information by Facsimile Machine

WA Health provides health care to many people in a variety of ways as it fulfils its core purpose. Processing personal health information is a routine part of a health care service. On many occasions facsimile (fax) machines are used to transfer personal health information both to and from internal and external locations.

Whilst the benefits of faxing are well recognised, the potential for compromise to the integrity and confidentiality of health information is also evident. Errors in transmission, miss-dialled numbers and the unknown location of a recipient’s fax machine are just some of the inherent problems associated with faxing.

The Guidelines for the Transmission of Personal Health Information by Facsimile Machine (Guidelines) provides guidance to WA Health staff using the fax machine to transfer personal health information. The Guidelines highlights the circumstances under which faxing may be deemed appropriate and outline measures that promote the security and integrity of the information being transferred. The underlying premise of these Guidelines is that personal health information should only be transferred by the use of a fax machine where:

  • no other secure and sufficiently rapid transmission method is available between a source and destination
  • reasonable and appropriate measures are undertaken to ensure confidentiality is maintained.

Whilst the Guidelines may not address every possible scenario concerning the use of a fax machine for transferring personal health information, they may be used as the basis for the development of more detailed faxing protocols at the local facility level.


Colin Xanthis
DIRECTOR
PERFORMANCE ACTIVITY AND QUALITY

Date of effect: 14 February 2014 to 14 February 2019

Policy Framework

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Supporting information