Faxing for Fun and Profit

Faxing? This must be a post about healthcare! Oh that toner-eating ancient beast, destined to live on only the in windowless back offices of health care offices. Recently, John Wilbanks actually caught this fax-inspired health care executive out in the wild.

You might ask, how do I know it’s an executive? Check out that parking job. I’m from Massachusetts and we’re not that big of assholes (unless it’s about the Sox. Or Sports in general. Or New York. Or Driving. Or Clam Chowder. Okay, you’re right we are assholes. Sorry mom.)

Side note: Given the Massachusetts plates, I know I speak for everyone when I say I really, really want this to be Jonathan Bush’s weekend troll car. And let’s be honest, it’s like 85% possible Jonathan has a troll car. If this is him, I take back all the parking comments, because it’s on-brand and I love everything about it.

However, I digress. At this point, there’s agreement that paper (used for any purpose) and faxing as the canonical example, is the bane of many of a workflow in healthcare.

Often the “faxing and pager” argument is simply people repeating what they hear — and what they know will get nodding heads at a conference. We all easily rally around faxes as an example of the laggart healthcare industry.

However, most of the founders starting Digital Health companies today have never sent a fax, never worn a pager, and never experienced what health care operations feel like.

[Sadly, they have never actually seen an EMR in action except for their own doctor — but that’s a discussion for another time]

For fun and profit you say?

The team at Paubox make secure email communication and DLP for health care. They have a goal — no, a mission — of replacing fax machines by modernizing communication in health care. Their CEO, Hoala Greevy, and I were talking and he said “Look, most of my people have never sent a fax, how can they have customer empathy and motivation if they can’t feel the pain? I’m going to make them all go send a bunch of faxes, most of them for the first time. Can we send them to you?

First of all, I was a little offended that he thought I could receive a fax. Then I remembered I’m old and been in health care forever, so OF COURSE I CAN RECEIVE A FAX. As they often do, the team made a pretty hilarious video, embedded below, of people struggling with cover sheets, paper direction, and which button to press.

More importantly, though, I thought it was pretty genius leadership from someone unwilling to just lean on health care cliche but really make the team experience what it’s like to live in that world. We need more of this with patients, we need more of this in back office operations, and we need more of it across the whole spectrum of health care if we are going to build products that solve real problems.

Disclosure: I’m an advisor for Paubox. I don’t often write about companies I advise, especially when I call myself and an entire state assholes and pray that Jonathan Bush has a troll car, but I really love that they were self-deprecating and fun — two things we don’t have enough of in health care.