I have been attending the annual HIMSS conference for more than a decade because I find it to be forward thinking and thought inspiring, but I have to offer one little complaint that is more of an indictment of the industry than HIMSS itself: Why in the world, in the year 2016, are fax machines still ubiquitous in hospitals and physician offices?
The use of the fax machine is like connecting to the Internet using a 14.4K modem on a POTS line. It’s like going to Blockbuster to rent a VHS tape or DVD. It’s like riding a horse to work… you get the idea.
Why is there not an outrage in health IT to kill the use of this outdated technology in healthcare?
The HIMSS Interoperability Showcase has been in place at the conference for years, and there is an entire section of content and exhibitors under the heading of “Connected Health,” yet facilities continue to deploy fax machines in the clinical care setting as a significant part of their clinical communication strategy.
I want to suggest a hashtag for HIMSS16: #HITtheFax. If you’re going to HIMSS this year and you see an application or technology that has the potential to bring a quick death to the use of fax machines in healthcare, tweet it out with tag #HITtheFax.
I believe that we can promote interoperability and connected health with these rather simple steps:
- Stop using the fax machine to communicate between the ED and Med/Surge floor.
- Stop faxing referring physician orders to the coding department.
- Stop accidentally faxing grandma’s prescription to the local hardware store.
Let’s make 2016 the year the fax machine becomes a thing of the past. And, if anyone wants to tweet out a picture of a retired, destroyed fax machine to keep the movement going, that would be great! The more the better!
I work daily with community health IT departments and I’m excited to be attending HIMSS16 for inspiration that can help smaller hospitals and clinics improve patient care. I’ll be tweeting my thoughts from the show (tweet me @PhilStravers) and will provide future reports from the conference on Health Standards that will focus on technologies that can improve the great patient care community hospitals provide every day.
In the meantime, #HITtheFax!
Latest posts by Phil Stravers (see all)
- Competition Beats Compliance For Data Sharing - March 8, 2016
- #HITtheFax at #HIMSS16: Let’s end the use of the fax machine in healthcare - February 25, 2016