A recent study conducted by YouGov on behalf of ITK provider Avaya reveals interesting insights into digital communication within German hospitals. While exploring the extent of digital tools, it emerged that faxing is still a daily practice.
50 percent of hospital staff surveyed by YouGov disclosed that they fax daily, and an additional 18 percent still do it weekly. The types of documents that are still sent via fax are varied, ranging from doctor’s letters to colleagues to laboratory findings and certificates. Uwe Pranghofer, Head of Healthcare Business at Avaya, explains that the reasons for the continued popularity of faxing are multifaceted. Concerns about digital solutions’ security and the fundamental challenge of internet availability play a significant role.
34 percent of respondents described the WLAN in their healthcare facility as “rather bad” or “very bad.” Pranghofer concludes that a lack of WLAN availability and poor internet stability is an obstacle to implementing digital communication tools, suggesting that hospitals should prioritize their expansion.
Looking at the internal communication results, a significant amount of communication is still handled in personal conversation (75 percent), followed by landline phones (65 percent) and mobile phones (47 percent). Only 3 percent communicated through video calling via apps. Pranghofer points out that communication via mobile devices, including video calling, would simplify workflow, improving staff reachability without dependence on location, thereby saving effort and time.
When it comes to documenting care, 68 percent use a desktop PC or laptop, five percent use a tablet or smartphone, but 24 percent still use paper and pen. Also, scheduling staff is still paper and phone-heavy. Pranghofer sketches a potential solution, envisioning an automated query of available staff with immediate visibility of positive or negative responses.
In this landscape, the fax machine stands as an essential communication tool, reflecting not just a technological choice but a necessity shaped by various factors in the healthcare environment.
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