Why Fax is Still the Right Tool for the Current Crisis
A recent article published in La Presse (French only) quoted Quebec’s Premier, François Legault, blaming fax for the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec’s difficulty in presenting accurate COVID death counts. He refers to fax machines as archaic, argues that it’s absurd to continue to use fax and physical mail in the modern era for reporting statistics, and demands change.
Not Wrong, But Only Half Right
Like the UK National Health Service’s Axe the Fax campaign, this is another example of organizations looking at the aging fax machines they depend upon and deciding that it is past time to get rid of them. However, it’s key to remember why we still use fax, and discover how to keep the good while getting rid of the (very) bad.
Fax Machines are Archaic
There’s no denying the fax machine is a dinosaur whose time has come and gone. They break, they lose faxes, they gobble toner and paper, they require expensive phone lines…they make IT professionals want to tear their hair out.
But fax is not the machine any more than a telephone is a big wooden box that you crank and talk to an operator through. Technology evolves, and just like your phone is now a small computer in your pocket, fax has changed to powerful digital technology.
Why Fax is Worth Keeping
Fax has persisted for decades because it’s easy and secure, qualities that make it an ideal way to keep people in touch now. Anyone with a phone line and a machine can receive a fax, and the message will be immutable and difficult to intercept.
Privacy mandates like HIPAA, FERPA, and GDPR haven’t been waived in the age of COVID. In fact, with the spikes in fraudulent activity that have been happening as fraudsters look for identities to steal for unemployment benefits, etc, security has become more important, not less.
Because of these laws and fax’s long history of getting the job done, it remains the critical communications medium of industries like healthcare, education, finance and government. Pivoting away from fax now can break organizations’ ability to talk to each other.
The Solution? Junk the Machines, But Keep the Fax
Fax machines have long since outlived their usefulness, but fax as a secure transmissions medium still has massive strengths that actually make it ideal for healthcare communications in the age of COVID.
The answer? Implement a digital fax (aka Fax over IP, FoIP) solution to rid of fax machines, but keep using fax. These tools utilize your organization’s existing computers and internet connection to send and receive faxes. Connectors are available to integrate them directly into mobile devices, EMR/EHR solutions, and MFPs – bringing fax to where your staff needs it (even when they’re working from home) rather than requiring a trip to the machine.
By omitting the moving parts of a traditional fax machine and the need to print everything that comes in or goes out, maintenance, repair, and consumable costs are dramatically reduced. Reliability is increased, and sending a fax becomes as convenient as sending an email, but still dramatically more secure.
The beauty of upgrading to a digital fax solution is that you get rid of fax machine problems, but maintain your connection with all other fax-using organizations. From their perspective nothing will have changed (beyond the increased reliability of your communications).
Start Your Pivot
If trading in your organization’s fax machines for a modern, reliable, cost-effective digital solution is a step you’re ready to take, OpenText offers a range of options. From on-premises installs that give you full physical control of your data to cloud solutions that can be quickly implemented and expanded to suit shifting needs. Reach out to us to get started with answers to your questions, a customized demonstration, or even a free trial.