What prompted you to start your ‘axe the fax’ campaign? Was it in response to Hancock’s ban? Or was it already on the agenda?
It was already on our agenda as a transition project, however after attending the HETT event in 2018 we followed the lead of Leeds Teaching Hospital. We saw it was a great opportunity to use some of the ideas and advice you gave in your presentation and started the ball rolling quickly.
How many fax machines did you have in your organisation?
What were fax machines predominantly used for in your organisation?
Prescriptions, time sheets, clinic lists and pharmaceutical orders.
Have you managed to reduce this number? If so, how many fax machines are still in use?
We have seven remaining to be removed, so less than 10% left to go.
Are you confident of meeting Matt Hancock’s deadline to remove all fax machines in use by 31st March 2020?
With only seven fax machines to remove, we are confident we will meet our own internal target to remove fax machines by the end of 2019. Our pledge was to remove all fax machines by end of 2019; this was endorsed by our lead executive, David Noyes.
Did you have a strategy in place for your ‘axe the fax’ campaign?
The campaign has been service-led. We wanted to work with services to develop alternative systems to using the fax machine. Our IT team has been providing support to services to make sure they had everything in place before they ‘axe the fax’.
Did you use any resources from the axe the fax campaign? Pledge cards? Stickers? Top tips?
We did use some of the ideas from the campaign, specifically we sought stakeholders buy-in, had many two way conversations with services and asked Solent’s Trust Board to set our own deadline. We also made use of email@example.com email address to ask questions to help us overcome hurdles.
How did you engage staff with your axe the fax journey?
It was really important that executives and service leads understood the idea behind, and benefits of, ‘axing the fax’. We used our internal communication channels to spread the messages widely. We also used our already established Service Engagement forums to support services with process redesign and to keep ‘axe the fax’ high on the agenda.
What alternatives to fax did you find/implement?
We didn’t purchase an alternative system; we eradicated the need for the fax functionality and championed different ways of working.
What was your biggest challenge?
We are still working with our final seven users on different ways of working. The key concern was/is around business continuity, but we have worked to improve understanding of system resilience to alleviate fears of not owning a fax machine.
Has anyone been hesitant about moving on from fax?
We still have some hesitation from colleagues, but we work with them to try and find alternative solutions.
Have you kept any fax machines for business continuity?
In line with the request of our executive lead, and Matt Hancock, we are aiming to remove all fax machines.
Why do you think it’s important to ‘axe the fax’?
It’s a number one priority to secure patient confidentiality and protect patient details and avoids the risk of actions being left unnoticed on an unattended fax machine.
Do you have any advice for other organisations looking to get rid of their fax machines?
A few key tips:
- First and foremost, get buy-in from senior people and a set date to work to.
- Identify the location of each fax machine
- Instruct your Patient Systems Teams and your corporate teams to remove the fax numbers from your templates and clinical letters
- Remove machines not in use and log traffic sent and received for one month on remaining devices
- Seek alternative ways of working, inform your ICT department of analogue lines no longer in use so they can be cancelled and you can realise the benefits.
Have you realised any benefits since making the switch from fax?
Benefits from the patients point of view assures that their personal information is secure and not left unattended for the wrong people to see. Benefits from the Trust point of view are that at financial year end, we will have saved approximately £14,000 by decommissioning the analogue lines, therefore removing the line rental charges and their monthly operating and usage charges too.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
The majority of people were happy to remove their fax devices and move away from historic ways of working. Our community and mental health trust supports mobile working and the majority of our employees either have a managed print and scanning device, access to a laptop device with a plug and play scanner or a Smart phone.
The final seven faxes are going to be a joy to remove and destroy, watch this space for a photo next time.