Thursday, February 15, 2018
Even Apple Suspects The Fax Machine Is A Long Way From Dead It Seems!
This appeared last week:
Apple may have finally found a way to enable the large-scale sharing of electronic medical record information on mobile devices. But its tools won't replace the old tried-and-true fax for data-sharing in healthcare.
Lucas Mearian (Computerworld (US))06 February, 2018 07:55
Apple's Health Records feature in the upcoming iOS 11.3 rollout may be the most high-profile attempt at sharing healthcare data between caregiver and patient, but it won't succeed without industry's cooperation.
What is new is the mass market Apple commands with its iPhone and iPad and the company's efforts to take advantage of new industry standards and collaborative alliances for aggregating and sharing patient data from disparate healthcare systems.
Even with all the electrification of healthcare data and advances in networks for sharing that data, however, one industry stalwart is unlikely to be replaced: the fax.
Virtually all US healthcare organizations continue to use the facsimile, even as the industry has been forced to adopt modern electronic medical records (EMRs) and online data-sharing methods. The fax protocol is used to transmit laboratory reports, send prescriptions and authorizations and transmit payment information between hospitals and insurance companies.
The reason the fax isn't going away anytime soon is that it's simply too well ingrained in back office systems. "People use it as lowest common denominator. You could call it the great unifier in letting all these disparate systems talk to each other," said Bill Ho, CEO of Biscom. "And, healthcare is ... a little bit conservative when it comes to adoption of new technology."
In 1980, Biscom launched the fax server industry, turning what was previously all paper-based fax machine systems into electronic file sharing. Even today, many of Biscom's healthcare customers send tens of thousands of faxes per month.
For example, the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance sends and receives an average of 10,000 faxes every month, and Massachusetts General Hospital sends 25,000 to 30,000 faxes per year using Biscom's service.
And all EMR systems have a fax tool embedded in them, or at the very least a computer system's "print" command allows for a fax option.
The screenshot is from a test server using GE Centricity's EMR. The screenshot shows the process of going into a patient record and performing a prescription refill via the fax protocol.
"People have this image in their head of someone standing in front of a fax machine and sticking paper in to it. Today it's all digital. Most faxes never hit paper," Ho said.
Eventually, as Apple envisions, a new electronic document system will prevail. But it's going to be a very slow changeover, according to Ho, whose company does offer other forms of electronic file exhange.
"Healthcare is a large, complex, multi-faceted system, and I don't think we're going to see rapid disruption," Ho said.
There is a vast amount more here:
So it seems Tim Kelsey’s wish is to be put off a little longer.
Makes one wonder just how the fax elimination plan is going. I have not heard much about it recently!
Posted by Dr David G More MB PhD at Thursday, February 15, 2018