This is another short feature introduction and explanation in my series on new features usage.
Introduced in the v5.0.2 patch 1 is the option to install a fax/sms module.
Despite an opportunity for financial gain to me due to anyone who signs up with a vendor and uses this module, I can assure you that neither myself or OpenEMR receives any monies or other considerations due to a community members use. Members accounts are in no way linked or shared with anyone and are as private as the vendors privacy allows.
Let’s thank some folks
As many may know, we are striving to clean up and modernize OpenEMR(Rember how long we’ve been around) and one key part of this effort, which is generally agreed needed by most, is providing the core functionality so vendors and community members can develop modules or plugins that integrate and are maintained outside of our source master core.
Some of the this core modules support functionality required and used by this module were developed and contributed by myself, Stephen Nielson @adunsulag , Ken Chapple @ken and Robert Down @robert.down . I think I got everyone whose parts i’ve used. As always @brady.miller for his astute conformance audits, review and suggestions. Fax module also serves as guidance and example for potential module contributors.
Special thanks to Sohail Mirza, MD MPH Spine Surgeon at PEERClinic for his sponsorship to complete this feature with Twilio and the integration into OpenEMR project.
Also note Dr. Mirza is sponsoring and spearheading a new feature coming very soon for Patient Reported Outcomes measures (PROs). A less involved description is: OpenEMR will send a FHIR request for a specific questionnaire to the Peer server which will notify patient. Then using Peers mobile application, patient completes questionnaire returning answers to Peer. Once Peer receives answers, an assessment is scored and return to OpenEMR via a Fhir QuestionnaireResponse resource becoming part of patient chart. Now a part of patient chart, the assessment scoring can be used in Clinical Decisions Rules (CDR) or analytics.
Users have two vendor options, RingCentral or Twilio. Which to use depends on a clinics specialty or whether user may already have one of these accounts so, i’ll leave it to the reader to decide which vendor would be best. Here is a screenshot of interface. This is sent history:
And Uploading documents to fax:
With the clinics Address Book available for contacts:
Currently i’ve included a fax button in two areas of OpenEMR; Patient Documents and Demographic Report(custom report). I’ll just show you Custom Report as patient documents is obvious:
Accounts Setup (Either Vendors):
And Appointment SMS Notifications (This is a test run to show what would be sent on Live run):
Remember, for notifications the Allow SMS and a valid Mobile number must be include in patient chart.
So, now you have a general idea concerning this feature and remembering too that this is an introduction and not a detailed how to (This will be available soon as a README in the modules git repository at GitHub - openemr/oe-module-faxsms: Fax and SMS feature for OpenEMR) here are the general steps to install.
- First and very Important, do not attempt to install until after any production upgrades and the install of patch 1.
- From a command/terminal prompt inside of your openemr root directory/folder execute
** composer require openemr/oe-module-faxsms
- That’s all on command prompt. Now let’s get to familiar ground. Log into OpenEMR and get into Globals->Modules Enable Fax SMS Module and select Vendor. Twilio is set as default and it’s a no folks as to doesn’t mean it’s my preferred vendor.
- Next select from top action bar Modules->Manage Modules and click Unregistered tab in hopes of finding OpenEMR Fax Module listed. Register the module then going back to Registered tab, install and enable the feature.
- Now select to run the module from Modules->Fax Module. Once done, select from the modules title bar Actions->Account Credentials entering all the appropriate entries for the selected vendor twilio…oops .
So let’s conclude with some general pearls/nuggets or obvious points.
- For either vendor we do not maintain any fax documents on site. All fax info in UI is from metadata from users vendor portal/account which you may access from our modules UI for RingCentral. Not sure why I didn’t include portal access for Twilio.
- Due to Twilios limited API for fax(they are known best for MMS/SMS which I want to include some their of great features in future), I treated Twilio as a fax machine. They don’t track sender/recipient names. Nor do they provide API for generating cover page and only allow PDF documents for sending fax. For the cover page if enough interest is shown(so far, everybody i’ve spoken with don’t care)
- RingCentral provides for all of previous mentioned Twilio limitations(if indeed are) but requires prior testing before turnup. Unless OpenEMR/oeFax module is approved for a preferred application status which then gets into looking like OpenEMR is collecting gratuities for use. We don’t want that! I am however, still badgering (I mean politely asking) to authorize OpenEMR so users won’t have to do any pre testing for account turnup. Ho hummm, I can’t force yo yo’s to make good business decisions.
- Using Twilio I automatically delete any sent or received fax after 48 hours. Any failed fax status, 24 hours.
- RingCentrals Hipaa feature auto deletes after 90 days I believe so, don’t hold me to that.
I’ll probably add to this but this is all I can think of at the moment. Please ask question if you need clarifications.
For me, I don’t get why fax is still used so much in the healthcare industry and is slowly waning in use, meantime, I hope this module will prove useful for some of you folks.
Next in series will be: How to take Credit Card payments in Patient Portal. Showing also how payments are posted during payment audit by billing.