WO2010048343A2 - System and method for accepting and processing a facsimile image - Google Patents

System and method for accepting and processing a facsimile image Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2010048343A2
WO2010048343A2 PCT/US2009/061558 US2009061558W WO2010048343A2 WO 2010048343 A2 WO2010048343 A2 WO 2010048343A2 US 2009061558 W US2009061558 W US 2009061558W WO 2010048343 A2 WO2010048343 A2 WO 2010048343A2
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
digital file
system
method
file
facsimile
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/US2009/061558
Other languages
French (fr)
Other versions
WO2010048343A3 (en
Inventor
Robert Bruce Dennis
Donald Livsey
James D. Morrison
Guichang Tian
Original Assignee
Children's Hospital & Research Center At Oakland
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to US10729908P priority Critical
Priority to US61/107,299 priority
Application filed by Children's Hospital & Research Center At Oakland filed Critical Children's Hospital & Research Center At Oakland
Publication of WO2010048343A2 publication Critical patent/WO2010048343A2/en
Publication of WO2010048343A3 publication Critical patent/WO2010048343A3/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/00127Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture
    • H04N1/00204Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture with a digital computer or a digital computer system, e.g. an internet server
    • H04N1/00209Transmitting or receiving image data, e.g. facsimile data, via a computer, e.g. using e-mail, a computer network, the internet, I-fax
    • H04N1/00214Transmitting or receiving image data, e.g. facsimile data, via a computer, e.g. using e-mail, a computer network, the internet, I-fax details of transmission
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N1/00Scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, e.g. facsimile transmission; Details thereof
    • H04N1/00127Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture
    • H04N1/00204Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus, e.g. for storage, processing or transmission of still picture signals or of information associated with a still picture with a digital computer or a digital computer system, e.g. an internet server
    • H04N1/00209Transmitting or receiving image data, e.g. facsimile data, via a computer, e.g. using e-mail, a computer network, the internet, I-fax
    • H04N1/00214Transmitting or receiving image data, e.g. facsimile data, via a computer, e.g. using e-mail, a computer network, the internet, I-fax details of transmission
    • H04N1/0022Transmitting or receiving image data, e.g. facsimile data, via a computer, e.g. using e-mail, a computer network, the internet, I-fax details of transmission involving facsimile protocols or a combination of facsimile protocols and computer data transmission protocols
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N2201/00Indexing scheme relating to scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, and to details thereof
    • H04N2201/0008Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus
    • H04N2201/0065Converting image data to a format usable by the connected apparatus or vice versa
    • H04N2201/0067Converting to still picture data
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N2201/00Indexing scheme relating to scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, and to details thereof
    • H04N2201/0008Connection or combination of a still picture apparatus with another apparatus
    • H04N2201/0065Converting image data to a format usable by the connected apparatus or vice versa
    • H04N2201/0068Converting from still picture data
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04NPICTORIAL COMMUNICATION, e.g. TELEVISION
    • H04N2201/00Indexing scheme relating to scanning, transmission or reproduction of documents or the like, and to details thereof
    • H04N2201/0077Types of the still picture apparatus
    • H04N2201/0093Facsimile machine

Abstract

Provided is a system, device and related method for accepting a signal from a facsimile device locally via a dial tone generator, and converting the facsimile signal into a digital image file. The digital file may then be appended and reformatted with metatdata, and transmitted to a server for further processing.

Description

System and Method for Accepting and Processing a Facsimile Image

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] In the medical services industry, numerous patient records are communicated from one office to another each day. For example, a physician may refer a patient from his clinic to a hospital for surgery, further testing, or medical treatment. The physician usually has medical records for the patient in his office file, the contents of which may aid medical professionals at the hospital in treating the patient. These medical records are often in hard copy form on paper, and it is a common practice to fax the records to the hospital. This may result in a large multitude of papers transmitted via facsimile, related to perhaps hundreds of thousands of referred patients every year. This collection of data may become unmanageable to the extent that the efficiency of communication, expected from the use of facsimile transmission, is no longer feasible. In addition, records may even become lost altogether, since the human process of receiving a fax and filing it appropriately is not infallible. [0002] Fax servers have been used to allow for the automatic conversion of a fax transmission into a digital file. Often, the sender places a document into a fax machine and the recipient receives the document as an attachment file via email. However, using a fax server alone does not necessarily alleviate the potential delay and inaccuracy of channeling documents to their appropriate files, or coordinating them in an organized fashion, once received by a hospital. In addition, the process may be relatively expensive in implementation, and may not be a cost-effective solution for a hospital interfacing with a large number of doctor's offices.

[0003] Another available solution includes the use of a digital scanner in conjunction with traditional email. The doctor's office may scan a patient's records into digital format, and then email the digital files to the hospital. Again, this process alone does not aid in organizing the files appropriately, once received. There are also practical considerations that make this implementation undesirable. Many doctor's clinics may not have a scanner available. Also, a flatbed scanner is an inefficient solution for scanning multiple pages of patient files, and a reliable sheetfed scanner may be above the price range that a clinic may be willing to spend for the purpose of transmitting patient files. [0004] Hence, it is desirable to have a solution, without the above-described disadvantages, for use both within the medical industry and also in any environment in which a multitude of records are transmitted. As will be seen, the invention provides such a solution in an elegant manner.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] In order that the advantages of the invention will be readily understood, a more particular description of the invention briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific examples illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical examples of the invention and are not therefore to be considered limiting of its scope, the invention will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through use of the accompanying drawings, in which:

[0006] Figure 1 illustrates an embodiment of the invention.

[0007] Figure 2 illustrates another embodiment of the invention.

[0008] Figure 3 illustrates another embodiment of the invention.

[0009] Figure 4 illustrates another embodiment of the invention.

[0010] Figure 5 illustrates another embodiment of the invention.

[0011] Figure 6 illustrates another embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0012] The invention has been developed in response to the present state of the art, and in particular, in response to the problems and needs in the art that have not yet been fully solved by currently available system configurations. Accordingly, the invention has been developed to provide novel apparatus and methods for locally accepting an image received via facsimile, and converting the image into a digital file. The features and advantages of the invention will become more fully apparent from the following description and appended claims and their equivalents, and also any subsequent claims or amendments presented, or may be learned by practice of the invention as set forth hereinafter. [0013] In the interest of clarity, not all of the routine features of the implementations described herein are shown and described. It will, of course, be appreciated that in the development of any such actual implementation, numerous implementation-specific decisions must be made in order to achieve the developer's specific goals, such as compliance with application- and business-related constraints, and that these specific goals will vary from one implementation to another and from one developer to another. Moreover, it will be appreciated that such a development effort might be complex and time-consuming, but would nevertheless be a routine undertaking of engineering for those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of this disclosure.

[0014] The embodiments discussed herein generally relate to an apparatus, system and method to process a facsimile message. The control may, in one embodiment, be access control. In one embodiment, the control may be customization control, for a device which may be utilized by multiple users. Referring to the Figures, exemplary embodiments will now be described. The exemplary embodiments of the invention are provided to illustrate the embodiments and should not be construed as limiting the scope of the embodiments. [0015] In the following disclosure, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the present invention. However, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the present invention may be practiced without such specific details. In other instances, well-known elements have been illustrated in schematic or block diagram form in order not to obscure the present invention in unnecessary detail. Additionally, for the most part, details concerning network communications, electromagnetic signaling techniques, and the like, have been omitted inasmuch as such details are not considered necessary to obtain a complete understanding of the present invention, and are considered to be within the understanding of persons of ordinary skill in the relevant art. It is further noted that all functions described herein may be performed in either hardware or software, or a combination thereof, unless indicated otherwise. Certain terms are used throughout the following description and claims to refer to particular system components. As one skilled in the art will appreciate, components may be referred to by different names. This document does not intend to distinguish between components that differ in name, but not function. In the following discussion and in the claims, the terms "including" and "comprising" are used in an open-ended fashion, and thus should be interpreted to mean "including, but not limited to . . . ". Also, the term "couple" or "couples" is intended to mean either an indirect or direct electrical or communicative connection. Thus, if a first device couples to a second device, that connection may be through a direct connection, or through an indirect connection via other devices and connections.

[0016] Consistent with the forgoing, disclosed herein is a method for accepting a signal from a facsimile device locally via a dial tone generator, and converting the facsimile signal into a digital image file. The digital file may then be appended with metatdata, and transmitted to a server for further processing.

[0017] Thus, a method configured according to the invention detects a dial tone from a tone generator, wherein the tone generator is configured to receive a facsimile signal. The facsimile signal is then received from the tone generator and converted into a digital file.

[0018] Another method configured according to the invention receives a digital file.

Metadata is then added to the digital file to form a composite file. A data tag may then be received via user input, wherein the data tag includes information related to a data field independent of the added metadata, and the data tag may then be appended dynamically to the composite file.

[0019] Yet another method configured according to the invention generates a dial tone, and receives a facsimile signal including analog data from a facsimile device, wherein the facsimile device is coupled to the tone generator. The facsimile signal may then be transmitted to a client.

[0020] A system configured according to the invention may include a facsimile machine to receive a user input and output a facsimile signal; a tone generator, coupled to the facsimile machine, configured to generate a dial tone, receive a facsimile signal, and transmit the facsimile signal; a client, coupled to the tone generator, on which an image manager application is executed, wherein the image manager application is configured to detect the generated dial tone, receive the facsimile signal from the tone generator, and convert the facsimile signal to a digital file.

[0021] One method according to the invention may include a process by which the digital file is of a first format. The method would further include converting the digital file to a second format, and possibly storing the digital file in a local system. An indication of the digital file may be displayed, and user input may be received that indicates selection of the digital file. The digital file may then be transmitted to a server for further processing or storage. This transmission may be prompted based on a user input, or, alternatively, may be performed automatically.

[0022] In another method, a system or device may receive a digital file, add metadata to the digital file to form a composite file, receive a data tag via user input, wherein the data tag includes information related to a data field independent of the added metadata, and then append dynamically the data tag to the composite file.

[0023] In this method, the process may include receiving a user inquiry, then performing a search, in response to the user inquiry, through the added metadata and the appended data tag. The method may further include querying a third-party system for a unique identifier if the digital file is received during a third-party transaction, receiving the unique identifier from the third-party system, and adding the unique identifier to the composite file. Data may be parsed from the data stream.

[0024] In yet another method, the process may first include generating a dial tone, then receiving a facsimile signal including analog data from a facsimile device, wherein the facsimile device is coupled to the tone generator, and then transmitting the facsimile signal to a client.

[0025] A system configured according to the invention may include a facsimile machine to receive a user input and output a facsimile signal, a tone generator, coupled to the facsimile machine, configured to generate a dial tone, receive a facsimile signal, and transmit the facsimile signal, and a client, coupled to the tone generator, on which an image manager application is executed, wherein the image manager application is configured to detect the generated dial tone, receive the facsimile signal from the tone generator, and convert the facsimile signal to a digital file.

[0026] The system manager application may be further configured to add metadata to the digital file. The digital file may be of a first format, and the image manager application may be further configured to convert the digital file to a second format, and then store the digital file in a local system. The image manager application may be further configured to display an indication of the digital file and receive user input indicating selection of the digital file, and then to transmit the digital file to a server, which may be prompted by a user or done automatically in response to an event.

[0027] The system may be considered to include two distinct sets of components: a client architecture and a server architecture. The client architecture, described in further detail below in reference to figure 5, may include any commercial fax machine, an analog dialtone generator, a conventional PC modem, a PC codec, and a basic PC image filing tool. [0028] The fax machine may include analog or digital output and may be serially connected to a telephone line via a standard RJ-Il cable. In one embodiment, a multi-page scanner may be substituted for the fax machine. In this embodiment, the flow of communication may byass the dialtone generator, the PC modem, and the PC codec, sending pre-formatted data to the PC image filing tool.

[0029] The dialtone generator may be addressable with dual-tone multi-frequency signaling and include the ability to go "off-hook" and provide a dial tone or go "on-hook" and wait to be dialed again. In one embodiment, the dialtone generator may be a telephone line simulator configured to "answer" only calls from a pre-defined set of numbers. In another embodiment, the dialtone generator may be functionally modified to auto-switch the fax machine between the public switched telephone netwoek and PC communication. The dialtone generator may also include the ability to signal a PC-based modem to begin the automatic baud rate detection process.

[0030] The PC modem may be onboard or connected to the computer serially, and operated by the computer via software drivers located within the computer's RAM. In one embodiment, the modem may be connected to the PC via a universal serial bus (USB) interface. The PC modem may employ a standard RJ-11 telephone line. The PC modem may poll for inbound messages and manage the automatic baud rate detection process by which the computer receives incoming data. The PC modem may thus serve as a conduit by which the fax data stream is linked to the PC codec.

[0031] The PC codec may interpret the data stream according to a standardized fax protocol and forms a digital image from a bounded dataset. In one embodiment, the PC codec may comprise a standard fax software application that comes bundled with the PC operating system. The PC codec may also provide header and image data to be appended to the digital image. The basic PC image filing tool may communicate with and manages the PC codec and handle the transfer of converted images to the PC file system.

[0032] In one embodiment, the server architecture, described in further detail below in reference to figure 6, may receive and manage data through the use of unique identifiers known as foreign keys. The server receives a record from a third-party source that may be in a distinct input format. Either through the use of format specification metadata accompanying the record or format reference specifications pre-loaded within the system, the server converts the record to a normalized format. The system then binds additional information fields to the converted records and populates said fields with unique identifiers from the third-party sources. The system includes a means to dynamically capture third-party identifiers, designated as foreign keys, either with or without a pre-defined programming interface. The server may include a web services component that provides an interface to search, view, copy, or print filed images. The server may further provide an interface to add metadata or link images to third party records.

[0033] Referring to the figures, and first to Figure 1, a system 100 is shown configured according to the invention. A user may feed document 102 into facsimile device 104. Fax 104 scans in document 102, and proceeds to transmit a signal embodying document 102 to tone generator 106. Tone generator 106 generates a dial tone to "answer" fax machine 104 and accept the fax signal. Tone generator 106 may then transmit the fax signal to a computing device, such as local PC 108, via, for example, modem 110. Local PC 108 may include, for example, an image manager module 112 to process the fax data and transmit the processed data to server 120, as described below in reference to Figure 2. The original analog fax data may be converted to digital format using an A/D converter. The conversion may take place in any appropriate device, such as tone generator 106 or local PC 108. Server 120 may include various modules 122/124/126/128 for performing various functions, including, for example, data manager module 122. Data manager 122 may further process the file as described in below in reference to Figure 3.

[0034] As an example, as shown in flowchart 200 of Figure 2, client software such as image manager 112 of, for example, local PC 108 listens for a dial tone from the tone generator. Once a user scans a document through the fax machine at step 202, the tone generator "answers" the fax machine with a dial tone and patches the fax signals through to the PC at step 204. This prompts a detection of the dial tone by the PC client at 206, and a synchronization of the fax to the modem, via for example an industry standard "auto-baud" routine, at 208. The fax analog data may then be converted to a digital image file via for example a fax protocol conversion routine, at 210.

[0035] At 212, a header may be added to the image file to, for example, uniquely identify the file. The header may be based on one or more parameters such as but not limited to date and time of transfer. Optionally, at step 214, the image file may be converted to an easily viewable format such as PDF or one of various other file types. This conversion step may alternatively be performed on the server side later in the process (such as by the data manager module 122 of Figure 1).

[0036] The converted file may be temporarily stored in the local PC at 216. The file may be automatically transmitted to a server immediately or at a later time. Alternatively, the file may be displayed, by name or icon for example, in a preview interface at step 218, from which a user may select the file at 220 to be uploaded to the server at 222. [0037] On the server side, the data manager 122 may perform various functions such as that illustrated in flowchart 300 of Figure 3. At step 302, input may be received from a user, and the user's identify and role may be verified. Metadata such as but not limited to patient demographics may be added to a temporary data cache for new record creation at 304. After establishing a connection with, for example the image manager of the client PC at 318, the image file may be uploaded. The metadata may be appended to the image file to create a new composite file at step 306. The composite file may then be stored at step 320 in database 301.

[0038] Should user input be received to designate additional data tags, these data tags may also be appended to the composite file at step 308. The data tags may include, for example, information related to a data field independent of the already added metadata. Thus, if the metadata included data corresponding to preset fields such as name, birthdate, and gender, the user-identified data tags could include the field of "favorite sport" and the corresponding data particular to a patient, such as "basketball." The field and data would then be appended dynamically to the composite file, and may be stored in database 301. [0039] An example of the structure of the composite file with appended metadata and tags is shown in Figure 4. Thus, the composite file for a patient 402 may include the medical record 404, as well as metadata 406/408/416. In addition, dynamically added data 410 may include the data field 412 (e.g., favorite sport) and the patient's corresponding data 414 (e.g., basketball).

[0040] At step 310, the data manager may query whether the image is being uploaded during a third-party application's transaction. If not, the process may end at 312. If so, the third-party system may be queried at 314 for a unique identifier for the current transaction. When received, the identifier may be added to the composite file at 316, and stored into database 301.

[0041] Once a patient's medical records are processed and tagged as described above, a user may perform searches within the database. For example, at step 322, the data manager may receive user input and accordingly search existing patient records via the pre-defined data fields and/or user-defined metadata tags. The results may be displayed and/or printed at 324, and output at 326, such as via email, either automatically or in response to a user prompt.

[0042] In addition, a user may update his profile at 328, configure rights and/or roles at

330, and log out of the application at 332. [0043] An optional aspect of the server-side process may include the conversion of the image file to an easily viewable format such as PDF or one of various other file types, as discussed above from the point of view of the image manager, with reference to step 214 of Figure 2. Thus, this step may be alternatively performed by the data manager or another module of the server. Shadow copies may be stored in a temporary file on the server. This allows for more scalability in, for example, a browsing process such as where the user selects an imaging for tagging, and also enables the system to function without a custom plug-in to each of different browsers. A synchronization process may be implemented to trigger the server to pull up the latest "batch" of image files stored on the local PC at, for example, user- prompted or fixed intervals.

[0044] An example of a client system configured according to the invention is illustrated in Figure 5. The system 500 of Figure 5 includes a client computer 502 incorporating local converted record storage 504. Client computer 502 is connected to a scanning device 508 via a scanner to computer interface device 510. The scanning device is configured to receive paper records 506. Client computer 502 is connected to a data network 512 via a communications link 516. Third-party system 514 is connected to data network 512 via a communications link 518.

[0045] An example of a server system is illustrated as system 600 in Figure 6. System

600 comprises components for user authentication and session management, namely, an access control module 602, a user session management module 604, and a transaction logging module 606. A digital image handler 608 and a temporary image cache 610 collectively process image data received from a client. Client side metadata is saved in a storage module 612. Any data processed by the system is parced by dynamic data parser module 614. The system contains a dedicated third-party communications management module 616 that interfaces with external data sources. Foreign keys extracted from data received from external sources is stored in a temporary foreign key cache 618. A dedicated module 620 combines digital images, metadata, and foreign keys into a single patent record. Input and output functions relating to the processed record are handled by a dedicated module 622. Special conditions and error control are handled by a dedicated exception handler module 624. Processed records are stored in a persistent processed record storage module 628 and, for redundancy, a data backup module 626.

[0046] The invention may also involve a number of functions to be performed by a computer processor, such as a microprocessor. The microprocessor may be a specialized or dedicated microprocessor that is configured to perform particular tasks according to the invention, by executing machine-readable software code that defines the particular tasks embodied by the invention. The microprocessor may also be configured to operate and communicate with other devices such as direct memory access modules, memory storage devices, Internet related hardware, and other devices that relate to the transmission of data in accordance with the invention. The software code may be configured using software formats such as Java, C++, XML (Extensible Mark-up Language) and other languages that may be used to define functions that relate to operations of devices required to carry out the functional operations related to the invention. The code may be written in different forms and styles, many of which are known to those skilled in the art. Different code formats, code configurations, styles and forms of software programs and other means of configuring code to define the operations of a microprocessor in accordance with the invention will not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention.

[0047] Within the different types of devices, such as laptop or desktop computers, hand held devices with processors or processing logic, and also possibly computer servers or other devices that utilize the invention, there exist different types of memory devices for storing and retrieving information while performing functions according to the invention. Cache memory devices are often included in such computers for use by the central processing unit as a convenient storage location for information that is frequently stored and retrieved. Similarly, a persistent memory is also frequently used with such computers for maintaining information that is frequently retrieved by the central processing unit, but that is not often altered within the persistent memory, unlike the cache memory. Main memory is also usually included for storing and retrieving larger amounts of information such as data and software applications configured to perform functions according to the invention when executed by the central processing unit. These memory devices may be configured as random access memory (RAM), static random access memory (SRAM), dynamic random access memory (DRAM), flash memory, and other memory storage devices that may be accessed by a central processing unit to store and retrieve information. During data storage and retrieval operations, these memory devices are transformed to have different states, such as different electrical charges, different magnetic polarity, and the like. Thus, systems and methods configured according to the invention as described herein enable the physical transformation of these memory devices. Accordingly, the invention as described herein is directed to novel and useful systems and methods that, in one or more embodiments, are able to transform the memory device into a different state. The invention is not limited to any particular type of memory device, or any commonly used protocol for storing and retrieving information to and from these memory devices, respectively.

[0048] The term "machine-readable medium" should be taken to include a single medium or multiple media (e.g., a centralized or distributed database, and/or associated caches and servers) that store the one or more sets of instructions. The term "machine- readable medium" shall also be taken to include any medium that is capable of storing, encoding or carrying a set of instructions for execution by the machine and that causes the machine to perform any one or more of the methodologies of the present invention. The machine-readable medium includes any mechanism that provides (i.e., stores and/or transmits) information in a form readable by a machine (e.g., a computer, PDA, cellular telephone, etc.). For example, a machine-readable medium includes memory (such as described above); magnetic disk storage media; optical storage media; flash memory devices; biological electrical, mechanical systems; electrical, optical, acoustical or other form of propagated signals (e.g., carrier waves, infrared signals, digital signals, etc.). The device or machine-readable medium may include a micro-electromechanical system (MEMS), nanotechnology devices, organic, holographic, solid-state memory device and/or a rotating magnetic or optical disk. The device or machine-readable medium may be distributed when partitions of instructions have been separated into different machines, such as across an interconnection of computers or as different virtual machines.

[0049] While certain exemplary embodiments have been described and shown in the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that such embodiments are merely illustrative of and not restrictive on the broad invention, and that this invention not be limited to the specific constructions and arrangements shown and described, since various other modifications may occur to those ordinarily skilled in the art. Accordingly, the specification and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense. [0050] Reference in the specification to "an embodiment," "one embodiment," "some embodiments," or "other embodiments" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiments is included in at least some embodiments, but not necessarily all embodiments. The various appearances "an embodiment," "one embodiment," or "some embodiments" are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiments. If the specification states a component, feature, structure, or characteristic "may", "might", or "could" be included, that particular component, feature, structure, or characteristic is not required to be included. If the specification or claim refers to "a" or "an" element, that does not mean there is only one of the element. If the specification or claims refer to "an additional" element, that does not preclude there being more than one of the additional element.

[0051] Although specific embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated, the invention is not to be limited to the specific forms or arrangements of parts so described and illustrated. The scope of the invention is to be defined by the claims appended hereto and their equivalents.

Claims

What is claimed is:
1. A method, comprising: detecting a dial tone from a tone generator, wherein the tone generator is configured to receive a facsimile signal; receiving the facsimile signal from the tone generator; and converting the facsimile signal to a digital file.
2. The method of Claim 1, further comprising: adding metadata to the digital file.
3. The method of Claim 1, wherein the digital file is of a first format, and further comprising: converting the digital file to a second format.
4. The method of Claim 1, further comprising: storing the digital file in a local system.
5. The method of Claim 1, further comprising: displaying an indication of the digital file; and receiving user input indicating selection of the digital file.
6. The method of Claim 1, further comprising: transmitting the digital file to a server.
7. The method of Claim 6, wherein the transmitting is prompted based on a user input.
8. The method of Claim 6, wherein the transmitting is performed automatically.
9. A method, comprising: receiving a digital file; adding metadata to the digital file to form a composite file; receiving a data tag via user input, wherein the data tag includes information related to a data field independent of the added metadata; and appending dynamically the data tag to the composite file.
10. The method of Claim 9, further comprising: receiving a user inquiry; performing a search, in response to the user inquiry, through the added metadata and the appended data tag.
11. The method of Claim 9, further comprising: querying a third-party system for a unique identifier if the digital file is received during a third-party transaction; receiving the unique identifier from the third-party system; and adding the unique identifier to the composite file.
12. The method of Claim 11, further comprising: parsing data from a datastream.
13. A method, comprising: generating a dial tone; receiving a facsimile signal including analog data from a facsimile device, wherein the facsimile device is coupled to the tone generator; and transmitting the facsimile signal to a client.
14. A system, comprising: a facsimile machine to receive a user input and output a facsimile signal; a tone generator, coupled to the facsimile machine, configured to generate a dial tone, receive a facsimile signal, and transmit the facsimile signal; a client, coupled to the tone generator, on which an image manager application is executed, wherein the image manager application is configured to detect the generated dial tone, receive the facsimile signal from the tone generator, and convert the facsimile signal to a digital file.
15. The system of Claim 14, wherein the image manager application is further configured to add metadata to the digital file.
16. The system of Claim 14, wherein the digital file is of a first format, and wherein the image manager application is further configured to convert the digital file to a second format.
17. The system of Claim 14, wherein the image manager application is further configured to store the digital file in a local system.
18. The system of Claim 14, wherein the image manager application is further configured to display an indication of the digital file and receive user input indicating selection of the digital file.
19. The system of Claim 14, wherein the image manager application is further configured to transmit the digital file to a server.
20. The system of Claim 19, wherein the image manager application is prompted to transmit the digital file based on a user input.
21. The system of Claim 19, wherein the image manager application automatically transmits the digital file.
PCT/US2009/061558 2008-10-21 2009-10-21 System and method for accepting and processing a facsimile image WO2010048343A2 (en)

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Citations (4)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5838460A (en) * 1994-05-12 1998-11-17 Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha Facsimile machine
US6404773B1 (en) * 1998-03-13 2002-06-11 Nortel Networks Limited Carrying speech-band signals over a power line communications system
US20030086124A1 (en) * 2001-11-07 2003-05-08 Parry Travis J. Method and system for distributing facsimiles
US20040036907A1 (en) * 2002-08-21 2004-02-26 Simpson Shell S. Identity-based imaging inbound facsimile service

Patent Citations (4)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US5838460A (en) * 1994-05-12 1998-11-17 Brother Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha Facsimile machine
US6404773B1 (en) * 1998-03-13 2002-06-11 Nortel Networks Limited Carrying speech-band signals over a power line communications system
US20030086124A1 (en) * 2001-11-07 2003-05-08 Parry Travis J. Method and system for distributing facsimiles
US20040036907A1 (en) * 2002-08-21 2004-02-26 Simpson Shell S. Identity-based imaging inbound facsimile service

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