The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has released a position paper calling for all healthcare services and government agencies that communicate patient information with general practices to eliminate paper forms and faxes within the next three years and to replace them with highly secure digital communications.

The RACGP’s position statement on the use of secure electronic communication within healthcare calls for it to be the preferred and default method of communication for all health services and government agencies communicating with general practice and patients.

In a fairly recent inquest, communication about a patient via ordinary mail was described by the coroner as “archaic” and was identified as a contributing factor in the patient’s death. The RACGP’s position statement addresses safety issues where the lack of timely communication between healthcare services and general practice can result in medical errors that can cause severe injury or unexpected death.