The Fax Machine – An Ancient Technology

 In Operations, Technology

When was the last time you heard someone talk about faxing a document? Years ago, faxing was the newest technology to send documents in minutes. While faxing was a foundational part of healthcare and business communication for years, technology has advanced and made the fax machine an ancient technology.

The History of Fax Machines

You might be surprised to learn that the fax machine has been around longer than you think. In 1843, Alexander Bain invented the “Electric Printing Telegraph,” which was the earliest documented faxing technology. These tools transformed over the years, with different iterations offering improved results over time.

At the beginning of the 20th-century, fax technology was used as a wire transmission for sending photos. During this time, the first successful fax was sent across the Atlantic Ocean, opening up new opportunities for communication around the world.

The modern, commercialized fax machine was brought online by Xerox Corporation in 1964. The Long Distance Xerograph fax machine was able to send full-page documents anywhere globally, at a pace of about 6 minutes for transmission.

Eventually, internet faxing was introduced in 1996. The technology has continued to improve over the years.

Digital Technology in Today’s Industry

While faxes were helpful for many decades, this form of communication has largely been replaced by other types of digital technology. Developments in email and cloud-based tools have outpaced fax technology. As a result, faxes are an inefficient method of communicating in the business and healthcare industries.

Paper-based faxing shifted to internet faxing as technology advanced. Eventually, better tools took priority because of improved features and security.

Why Faxing is No Longer Viable in the Healthcare Industry

If you need to share documents or patient records, then faxing is a deprecated option in the healthcare industry. Here’s why:

  • HIPAA Compliance: Traditional fax machines and the information they deliver may not meet HIPAA requirements for patient privacy. Faxed information may be sent to the wrong recipient, or individuals could take the delivered paper off the machine.
  • Speed: There’s no need to wait for transmissions that take minutes when you can send digital documents instantly using secure, cloud-based tools.
  • File Size: Long files and multiple pages can be tedious to transmit via fax. It’s less burdensome to share this information through digital communications.
  • Connectivity: You can usually access a reliable internet connection from almost anywhere in the world. This connectivity allows instant communication without the need to locate a fax machine.
  • Cost: The expense of faxing is often higher-priced compared to other digital forms of communication. The cost of paper, ink, and general maintenance for faxing is an unnecessary expense for most organizations.

Faxing in the Healthcare Industry

Even though there are many reasons why faxing is no longer viable in our modern world, it’s surprising to see that many businesses and people continue sharing information via fax technology. The healthcare industry is one area where faxing is still being used. Many hospitals and medical practices continue using this outdated technology because they haven’t updated their systems or workflows to modern solutions.

The truth is that this inefficient technology is negatively impacting the healthcare industry as a whole. If you are still sending information through fax machines instead of using more efficient technology, it may be time to reconsider your internal operations.

Not only do updated systems boost employee morale, but they positively impact your patients as well. As you select the appropriate technology solutions, make sure you are leveraging software that is HIPAA compliant, improves your internal operations, and benefits your patients. Alternatives for healthcare organizations include patient management solutions, EMR software, email communication, and more.

At RecordQuest, our goal is to help healthcare providers streamline their ROI process through a combination of secure HIPAA-compliant software, industry experience, and personable customer service. Learn more about our efficient ROI solutions and contact us to request a demo.

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