The humble fax machine has been around in some form or another since the 1800s.

The seemingly innocuous piece of ancient tech has earned itself a ban in the UK’s National Health Services (NHS) and that organisation has been ordered to phase out the use of fax machines by 2020.

The reason for the ban? Security concerns.

A recent report from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) revealed that as many as 9 000 fax machines were in use by the NHS in England. Richard Kerr, the RCS chair was quoted as saying that the use of fax machines was “absurd” by the BBC.

This comes from an RCS report released earlier this year titled Future of Surgery (PDF with automatic download) which points to a wider problem at NHS hospitals.

“Many doctors have difficulty using mobile devices around hospitals due to insufficient wireless capability or mobile coverage. The challenge to upscale the existing digital infrastructure in the NHS must not be underestimated and may be a major barrier to implementing change,” reads an excerpt from the report.

It’s clear that the NHS is trying to modernise its services and trying to get parties to upgrade their capabilities.

As such the NHS will be banned from buying new fax machines from next month. The Department of Health in the UK says that modern communications were needed to improve patient safety and cybersecurity.

The banning of fax machines is rather bizarre to us here at Hypertext. The NHS was one of the biggest organisations affected by the WannaCryptor ransomware in 2017 and having the ability to operate on older pieces of tech can’t have been a bad thing.

Indeed, BBC’s coverage of this story contains mention of the fact that some NHS organisations were able to order blood when the PCs were suffering from a case of malware.

Of course we agree that patient information should be secure but sometimes the low tech option isn’t as bad or archaic as we make it out to be.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]