Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTHT), the organisation at the forefront of the national Axe the Fax campaign, is implementing an electronic fax solution to tackle its last remaining machines.
In September, the Trust set out a highly ambitious goal to remove the majority of its 350 fax machines by the beginning of 2019 in order to streamline workflows and productivity, improve security and improve the timeliness of patient care.
Since then, LTHT has undertaken a wide-ranging communications initiative, and project teams have conducted trust-wide floor-walking exercises to identify machines and engage with key users.
Helen Hochstrasser, Project Manager at LTHT: “The reception has been positive, and it’s clear that services want to remove fax machines. By reviewing telecom reports, to prioritise high and low usage areas, we found that a significant number of faxes are being sent across internal departments. We now understand whether or not they can be removed and will be looking at how to support our staff to work differently using the alternatives available such as NHSmail or eFax.”
The implementation of eFax will empower LTHT to remove its physical fax machines, and allow the trust to digitally send, receive and store faxes more securely without making major infrastructural changes.
Chris Archer, Computer Services Manager at LTHT, said: “eFax is highly cost-effective and provides a far more secure way of communicating with key stakeholders in a patients’ care. It will support the removal of traditional fax machines and ensure parties, such as GPs and pharmacies, struggling to relinquish their fax still have a simple method of communicating with the trust.”
Leeds Teaching Hospitals, which is one of the largest trusts in the country, has been an integral part of the grass-roots Axe the Fax campaign. The campaign has highlighted the need to remove antiquated machines by using internal communications alongside a popular social media hashtag (#axethefax) to gain campaign awareness and encourage people to share best practice.
It has been instrumental in the decision by the government to ban NHS Trusts from purchasing new fax machines beyond January 2019 and order the phase-out of all fax machines in use across NHS Trusts by April 2020.
Richard Corbridge, Chief Digital Information Officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals, said: “We never underestimated the enormity of the task to remove fax machines across all six of our sites, but we recognise the eFax solution as part of our digital transformation journey, which will eventually see internal referrals made via its electronic health record and subsequently through the Yorkshire and Humber Record via local health care record exemplar (LHCRE) system.
“The initiative has been learning curve, but one that we needed to go through as it will now enable us to help others by sharing our progress, best practice and the lessons we have learned from this ongoing campaign”.