Oral Health Group

Please Don’t Take My Fax Machine Away

October 29, 2021
by Bruce R. Pynn, MSC, DDS, FRCD

I remember going to Expo ‘67 in Montreal when I was 10 years old. In one of the pavilions, they showcased a push-button phone where you could see the person you were talking to on the other end. I thought, wow this is magical. It was just like watching “The Jetsons” or “Star Trek”. This push-button phone was just like the TV shows that seemed so farfetched – surely none of those
futuristic ideas would ever come to fruition.

Here we are, more than 50 years later, and these “magical” technologies are omnipresent – even though I regularly tell my kids, “I am not sure this Internet and Google stuff is going to catch on,” which is then followed by a big eyeroll. My wife encourages me to learn more, so I know just enough to not be made fun of by our children. She takes the time to figure things out, whereas I just say, “It doesn’t work!”


Some may call me old fashioned. I constantly complain that the new-age TV remote is far too complicated and all I want to do at the end of a busy day is to press one button to turn on the TV and change the channel. Thank goodness I have mastered being able to talk to my TV remote, so it allows me to be able to maneuver around a bit better. I also have a very tech savvy son on speed dial who has had to troubleshoot for me on many occasions, even when we were across the world from each other! I am certain this just isn’t me who feels this way, but rather those of us who aren’t yet ready to leave what we always remembered to work for all this new-fangled technology.

I must admit I have also been a bit slow to embrace the modern technologies in my office. When I arrived in Thunder Bay 25 years ago, all our office and OR bookings were done by phone and then penciled in the “big appointment book.” This system worked like a charm and, therefore, I was reluctant to change. I also believed this provided a more personal approach, although it was more time consuming and required more manpower to complete these tasks.

It was a decade before my staff had convinced me to switch to a computer bookings system. With a lot of coaxing and a lot more training, we have recently upgraded our systems, and the current technologies/booking programs have allowed our staff to be much more efficient with all aspects of the practice. The newer programs allow for immediate billings/reimbursement, patient contact pre/post-surgery with online scheduling.

Embarrassingly, I must say that even though the entire office has come to grasp the new technology, I still cannot even open the computerized booking system when the staff is not around, nor dare I try should I do something wrong.

I will close by saying this: please do not take my fax machine away. It grounds me and I feel like its master. I know how to send necessary information to somewhere else without having to turn on a computer, remember a password or reset the system because it’s not working. I feel safe with my fax machine and while the world around me continues to advance their technological prowess I will continue to coddle my old friend, my fax machine. He has done me no wrong!

About the Author

Bruce Pynn is Oral Health’s editorial board member for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. He maintains a private practice in Thunder Bay, ON. He is an Associate Professor, North Ontario School of Medicine, Lakehead University, and Chief of Dentistry, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre. He is also the Past President of the Ontario Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

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