How hospitals can turn outdated fax machines into valuable cost savings

Healthcare is a technologically sophisticated industry where robots are used to conduct surgery and telecommunications allow physicians to treat patients remotely from hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away. However, it's also an industry in which many organizations still rely on fax machines for certain communications. 

Integrating modern modes of communication has often taken a backseat to investment in technologies that can support better clinical care. Why should a hospital put its dollars to replace a fax machine or printer when sick patients are filling the beds? 

However, maintaining and housing outdated or unused equipment can become a drain on an organization's financial resources. During a Sept. 30 webinar presented by Becker's Hospital Review and sponsored by Canon, Randal Kendrix, healthcare business development manager at Canon, and Ed Stevens, senior strategist , explain how hospitals and health systems can turn their outdated and unused devices into hard cost savings. 

Challenges IT departments face

At some hospitals and health systems, the answer to older equipment and infrastructure is to buy new. Often, IT personnel are more comfortable with new equipment rather than maintaining the existing systems. Whether it be a computer, a pager or a fax machine, these devices can get pushed into an old supply closet rather than utilized. 

Unused equipment, like outdated printers, scanners or fax machines, cause hospitals to incur costs. According to Mr. Kendrix, up to 70 percent of hospitals and health systems have unused supplies, and 60 percent have unaccounted devices. 

However, it's not as simple as breaking out the equipment in the corner and putting it to use. Hospitals and health systems want devices that can provide multiple input capabilities. Department leaders also have preferences on the best equipment to install. But these wants can often put strains on IT staff. 

"As new solutions continue to roll out, the breadth of what IT staff are responsible for becomes unmanageable," Mr. Stevens said. "Most organizations don't have enough IT staff to manage the scope associated with the implementation."

Additionally, many IT departments, according to Mr. Stevens, want centralized control and management of a network of devices. To be successful, IT experts want to know the devices are online and usable. Like many departments in a hospital, IT teams don't have time to monitor, check status, maintain or manage devices. For this reason, many hospital leaders are looking for a long useful life when investing in scanners, printers and other equipment. 

Canon's effective game plan to restore 90s equipment 

Having long lasting equipment doesn't mean organizations need to start from scratch. Instead, Canon can evaluate and assess a hospital's existing devices and operations, then subsequently develop a plan for new equipment installation. 

"For example, let's say a hospital was looking to evaluate or update its thousand or so scanners," Mr. Kendrix said. "We would go into the building and assess ... from there, we would go analyze each device, checking to see if it's up to date. With all of the information, we would present a plan of attack to the hospital. Then, when agreements are made, the implementation begins." 

After the new equipment is installed or restored, Canon manages the rest. Hospitals and health systems no longer have to worry about training IT staff to manage devices or the ongoing maintenance that is required. Software and firmware updates at hospitals and health systems can be big tasks to overcome. Rather than have a small IT team dedicate tremendous amounts of time to these updates, Canon manages them quickly. 

Hospitals and health systems can also evaluate how the equipment is affecting operations and finances with monthly, quarterly or semi-annual status reports. Typically, Mr. Kendrix says hospital reduce costs by 25 percent to 35 percent. 


Every department within a hospital is thinking about patient care. They are also thinking about costs. Updating printers, fax machines and scanners may seem as unnecessary costs for hospital and health systems. However, these updates can improve patient care while also reducing wasteful spending. 

To learn more about Canon, click here

To view the webinar, click here

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