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Quebec health-care network 'digitizing' the fax, says minister

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

Four years ago, Premier François Legault promised to get rid of faxes, a means of communication deemed archaic.

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

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

Questioned on this subject, Dubé said the government was at the stage of 'digitizing faxes' pending the arrival of the Digital Health Record.

"There's one big step we've taken, and that's to digitize faxes," said Dubé. "We have a transitional stage, (...) but the objective is to get rid of them."

The opposition parties see it as a broken promise.

"The fax is here again, another non-achievement by François Legault. It doesn't make sense,” denounced interim Liberal leader Marc Tanguay at a press briefing.

"It's discouraging to see that we're still using fax machines despite promises to get rid of them,” added interim Québec Solidaire (QS) co-spokesperson Christine Labrie.

"If we could see that this project to get rid of fax machines had been temporarily shelved in favour of a considerable improvement in access to services, that would be something else, but there aren't many projects going positively,” she added.

"Once again, great intentions. Where are the results? (...) We're in 2024, not 1998,” added PQ MNA Pascal Paradis.

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

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