While it might seem antiquated, fax is still the preferred method for medical communication in the United States. Even though modern electronic communication is faster, cheaper, and generally better (how many times have you seen a jammed fax machine or a faxed paper that gets torn or shows up blank?), most medical centers still have all of their old records on paper. To his credit, President Barack Obama got the U.S. government to spend $30 billion USD to make doctor's offices and hospitals go digital, and in one respect, it was a great success -- by 2015, 83 percent of all hospitals were keeping records digitally. The problem, however, is sharing. Faxing the documents still seems to be the best way for medical departments to send records back and forth.
Just the "fax":
- The earliest version of the fax machine was developed in the 1840s by Scottish inventor Alexander Bain, who received a British patent for his "Electric Printing Telegraph."
- In the 1920s, it took six minutes to send a single page by fax; today, it takes 1.7 seconds.
- There were 30,000 fax machines in the United States in 1970; as of 2018, approximately 18 million fax machines are in use.