Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Misdirected faxes plague hospitals and others

I should probably stop passing along these stories, since they happen pretty frequently. On the other hand, they serve as a regular reminder that faxes can easily be misdirected. From the article below, it appears the hospital in question has been pretty diligent in trying to stem the problem of misdirected faxes. Nevertheless, mistakes continue to happen.

HeraldNet: Hospital works to cut number of fax problems:

"Providence Everett Medical Center mistakenly faxed patient information to The Herald.

By Sharon Salyer
Herald Writer

Providence Everett Medical Center, which set up new faxing policies last year after medical information was mistakenly faxed to the home of a Marysville man, has had the problem occur again.

This time, the fax, containing confidential patient medical information, was accidentally sent to The Herald's newsroom.

The problem occurred when an employee was trying to fax medical information using a list of fax numbers for 650 area physicians who have credentials to treat hospital patients, hospital spokeswoman Cheri Russum said..."

I know that many hospitals that I've been in contact with have implemented a policy that faxes can only be sent using "speed dial" codes, to prevent mis-dialled numbers. If you hit the wrong button, it'll go to another medical professional but at least you know it is unlikely to end up on the front page of the paper. (This strategy only really works if you do not have the newsroom on the speed dial!) Perhaps smarter faxes are needed that will ask "did you really want to send this to the New York Times?" before they actually dial.

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