We frequently hear that healthcare lags behind other industries when it comes to digital transformation. Rob Klein of Klein & Partners has often said that retail has learned healthcare faster than healthcare has learned retail. Despite the huge leaps healthcare has made towards digital transformation, there is one thing we just can’t seem to shake – at least, not completely.
What is this “giant red flag” in healthcare’s digital transformation? According to Jason Joseph, CIO at Spectrum Health System, it is the near-ancient technology of faxing. "There is still a lot of variation in care processes that gets in the way of digital transformation," says Joseph. "For example, while we have a high degree of automation and digitization within our health system, we still use faxes in healthcare to communicate with other providers. That fax is essentially a giant red flag sticking up saying a process somewhere around here is broken because I have now resorted to the least common denominator of communications."
Using a process that still requires a fax, paper and/or manual input defeats digitization. Joseph calls faxing the “least common denominator of communications.” When you consider the digital innovations of the past two decades, it’s hard to fathom why healthcare continues to rely on faxing for so much of its communications. While human interactions can never be cut completely out of healthcare – after all, it is a “people-intensive” industry – we do need to examine our processes closely to digitize as much as possible.
Does your organization continue to use faxing? If so, are you considering other options for replacement?