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Quebec health network ‘digitises’ fax, says minister

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Quebec Health Minister Christian Dubé defended the continued use of fax machines in the health network on Wednesday.

Four years ago, Prime Minister François Legault promised to abolish the fax, a means of communication considered archaic.

However, as Le Journal de Montréal revealed on Wednesday, several lucrative contracts have been awarded since 2020 for the use of XM Fax, a software program that allows faxes to be sent via computer.

For example, a prescription can be sent electronically and received by fax at the hospital.

When asked about this issue, Dubé said the government is in the phase of “digitising faxes” until the digital health record comes out.

“We have taken a big step, namely the digitization of faxes,” said Dubé. “We are in a transition phase, (…) but the goal is to eliminate them.”

The opposition parties see this as a broken promise.

“The fax is back, another failure by François Legault. It makes no sense,” said interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay at a press conference.

“It is disheartening to see that we still use fax machines despite promises to abolish them,” added Québec Solidaire (QS) acting co-spokesperson Christine Labrie.

“If we could see this project to eliminate fax machines temporarily put on hold to significantly improve access to services, that would be a different matter, but there are not many projects that are going positively,” she added.

“Again, great intentions. Where are the results? (…) We are in 2024, not 1998,” added PQ MNA Pascal Paradis.

– This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 29, 2024.