Fax technology has been around a very long time, with most of its history tracing back to 1843 when Alexander Bain received a British patent for the technology that would eventually become today’s fax machine. It took the fax machine quite a while to integrate its way into the business world, but according to Higgins International’s “History of the Fax Machine,” between 1973 and 1983, the number of fax machines in the United States increased from 30,000 to 300,000. By 1989, the number had jumped to 4 million.
In a Ring Central blog post by Jemma Garrett in March 2013, there is a reference to an infographic that represents more than 17 million fax machines in the U.S. alone. The key takeaway is that the number of fax machines has continued to grow even with the increased use of alternative information-sharing technologies.
While these numbers don’t specifically show how healthcare as an industry performs relative to its reliance on fax as a communication technology, there are several other sources of data to get a feel for that. According to recent studies, fax machines account for 75 percent of all medical communication even after the rush to implement EHRs.
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