Technology – from telehealth services to wearable medical devices – has been a driving force in healthcare for decades. Doctors are overwhelmingly early tech adopters (think Apple Watch), yet we hear a lot of complaints about technology in healthcare: younger doctors are frustrated because they’re forced to use ancient technologies in the workplace (think fax machines), still others are challenged by digital health/medical records (EHRs or EMRs).
What is a fax machine, and how do I make it work? The tech-dinosaurs of the industry.
A recent CNBC article tells the story of a second-year medical student who was asked by his hospital supervisor to obtain a new patient’s medical records. He completed the request form, got the patient’s signature, then had to fax it over. Problem was, the student had no idea how to use a fax machine. In fact, thousands of medical students across the country have never seen a fax machine – let alone operated one – until they enter a hospital for the first time (one reason the illustration of the dinosaur on the article is amusing).
Yes, fax machines (and pagers) have virtually disappeared everywhere else, but they are far, far from obsolete in healthcare. Vox writer, Sarah Kliff, says the fax machine is “the cockroach of American medicine: hated by doctors and medical professionals but able to survive – even thrive – in a hostile environment.” One private firm estimates that faxing accounts for about 75 percent of all medical communication.
"Every hospital, no matter how small, has a fax machine, so it's the safest and easiest way to get the information you need," says Nate Gross, a physician and co-founder of Doximity. “It will take another decade or two before healthcare is no longer reliant on the fax machine.”
Newly minted doctors may curse fax machines, but almost every other doctor will lovingly clutch manila folders filled with paper records and tell you it’s not faxing, but EHRs that are the bane of their existence. “If you got together the best user experience professionals in Silicon Valley and invested billions into the creation of The Best EHR in the World, doctors would still hate it,” says Bryan Vartabedian, MD.
Melding technology and patient privacy is what prompted Doximity to create two of their most frequently used Doximity features, the HIPAA-compliant fax tool and the Doximity Dial integration with Epic. Licensed Physicians/registered Doximity users are assigned a lifetime fax number that lets them send and receive secure fax messages between offices and pharmacies – right from the app. And the Epic integration allows doctors to use the Doximity Dial phone tool from inside Epic’s mobile app, Haiku. The services are free, too.
Bridging the technology gap in recruiting
Effective EHR use, especially familiarity and comfort using a specific EHR, can go a long way in matching the right doctor to your opportunities. Doximity member physicians have the option to list their EHR experience within their digital CV. So, to discover physician candidates with specific system experience, recruiters can search Talent Finder by vendor names or keywords (e.g., “Epic” or “Cerner”). Doctors may complain about different systems, but EHR skills can help your candidates land great jobs.
If you want to take advantage of the digital fax line on Doximity (which now has over one million verified members!), you should be using DocMails to reach physicians. DocMails are delivered to the same locations that the digital faxes are - the Doximity inbox and the member’s email.
There are undeniable differences among physician candidates when it comes to technology. It’s time for recruiters to take advantage of some of the answers to the technology dinosaurs in the industry. If you’re not using Doximity Talent Finder to source great doctors, you’re missing out. Try it for free today.