Still using faxes? It's time to move on.

Posted by Steve Marriott on 20-Nov-2017 09:51:12

stop using faxes

People would be in a state of amazement to know that GP practices still use fax machines. Practices can receive over 60 faxes each day from care homes and out-of-hours services. There must be a better way.

Scottish inventor Alexander Bain patented his 'Electric Printing Telegraph' in 1843. The first commercial telefax service was in use between Paris and Lyon 22 years later. That's more than 150 years ago.

GP practices accept faxes from various health and social care service providers. The faxes include details of encounters, requests for medication and discharge details. Large practices with more than 15,000 patients might need two fax machines to cope with the load.

Someone at the practice has to process each fax. This can include manual transcription from the fax to the practice's computer system. When incoming faxes consist of many pages this can be a full-time job. We live in the Information Age. Using faxes doesn't sit well, does it?

Smarter. Faster. Better.

We're a good way through modernising Vision with an innovative interface. Our aim is not to refresh old systems, we need to be bolder than that. We are re-imagining how healthcare teams use computers so we can make their lives better. Our motivation is to help those who help others. Our families are patients after all.

Vision's team of user experience (UX) experts investigate NHS pinch points. They analyse how people work and consider their objectives. This feeds the design of natural and intuitive IT solutions that save time and make life easier. Examples of this include:

  • synchronising repeat medicines so patients can request them all at once. This is better for patients and saves time at GP practices.
  • predictive data entry for common observations. This is a bit like predictive texting and it helps clinicians to enter high quality data faster.
  • finding a patient record across many GP practices with a single search. Perfect for federated services.

An alternative to using faxes

The new Vision Tasks app helps the workforce at a GP practice to communicate and collaborate. Sending and tracking electronic tasks is an easy and efficient way of working. Want to ask someone a question? That's easy. Need to ask the first available GP to speak to a patient? No problem.

What happens if we extend this and Vision Tasks is also used by people who work beyond the GP practice?  We're talking about out-of-hours services, care homes and hospitals. People working at these places can use the app instead of faxes to send their notes to GP practices. There's online chat for clarifying details so it can reduce the number of phone calls too. There's an audit trail too so the details and conversations relating to the task are in one place.

Best of all, everyone can stop using faxes and retire their fax machines.

Transformation and shared care

Digital transformation doesn't need to be complex or expensive. Vision Tasks can sit alongside any clinical or admin system at any care setting. Sometimes it's the simple solutions that are most effective.

Vision Tasks is about to go to the first pilot site. Sending and receiving tasks beyond the GP practice is coming early in 2018. In the meantime, why not read the Vision UX eBook?

Download the Vision UX eBook

Topics: UX, shared care, Tasks

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