GPs say the days of the fax are numbered

The GP college (RACGP) is calling time on the era of the fax machine and the letter, officially telling the government and other health services to catch up and integrate with the electronic communication systems of general practices.

The shift should happen within three years, the college says in a new position statement, citing cases where a lack of timely communication between general practice and other health services have put patient safety at risk.

In one well-known case, a South Australian coroner found that a specialist's "archaic" practice of sending a letter by ordinary post contributed to the warfarin-related death of an elderly Adelaide woman.

The statement says general practice has led the way in moving towards electronic clinical and administrative