Last week, we asked readers whether they thought a local axe the fax campaign, based on a similar one launched in the UK to rid the NHS of its fax machines, would work on this side of the planet. While the majority of respondents to our poll did – 64.5 per cent said yes, versus 35.5 per cent saying no – many of the resulting comments on the blog and on our Facebook Chat site were not so sure. It was not so much about whether a campaign would work, but whether we should even bother.
Many of the commenters, GPs and practice staff in the main, were of the opinion that faxes were entrenched in the healthcare system for very good reason: they are quick, easy, and everyone knows how to use them. Certainly there is a recognition that they were not exactly secure and there are plenty of GPs who detest them, but there are also plenty who say they are still the easiest, most reliable form of communication.
It's just over two years ago now that the RACGP put its foot down on the continuing use of the fax in general practice, issuing a position paper calling for healthcare services and government agencies that communicate patient information with general practice to cut out the paper and move instead to secure electronic means.
The college had high hopes that this could happen in three years, what with alternative means such as secure messaging already a mature technology. But while progress has been made by the industry to achieve interoperability between secure messaging providers, the fax machines are still there, cranking out as much paper as ever.
Our top story for the week concerns an issue that has been bubbling away for a couple of years now and has raised its head again with the news that the RACGP has agreed to partner with a Canadian vendor called Myca Health to help it survey GP views on practice management systems.
Myca sells a PMS called Hello Health into the US market and is planning on making an advance on the Australian market in future. To do this, it's looking to tailor the existing technology for local requirements, and has entered into an arrangement with the RACGP to get its help in facilitating a conversation between members and Myca on what they'd like to see from a PMS.