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Check time/date readings on your fax machine

11:15 a.m., Dec.. 11, 2002--When is the last time that you checked the time and date on the fax machine in your office or home? While it might not seem like critical information, there are important reasons for making sure that fax machines display and print current and correct time and date.

“The same rules that apply to correct time/date stamping on mailed letters also apply to time/date stamping on a fax,” Susan Foster, vice president for information technologies, said. “This is also true for e-mail.”

Legal documents may have specific requirements for time and date stamps, but it’s not just the possible legal consequences that make correct time/date stamping a good idea. Health care professionals, like those in UD’s Student Health Services, rely on the accuracy of information, including time/date stamping, in providing the best possible patient care.

Dr. Joseph Siebold, director of Student Health Services, said it is important that information received by his department bears the correct time/date stamping.

“This may not be an issue for the type of information we typically receive from on-campus services, but it is a critical issue for us when it comes to receiving patient data from outside sources,” Siebold said. “We have to record date and time when we receive it, and we actually study our turn-around time to make sure we get reports and results out in a timely manner.”

While daylight savings time is the most common culprit, other reasons for incorrect time/date stamp displays include power failures, power surges, lack of a back-up battery or battery failure that would default the fax back to its factory setting, similar to a flashing VCR display.

Solutions include connection to time synchronization servers such as Network Time Protocol (NTP), which synchronize reference clock sources worldwide. Other options include consulting owner’s manuals and assigning someone in the office task of performing a periodic check and printing a transaction report to retain records of a machine’s accuracy.

So, take that extra minute and make sure that your fax machine is displaying the proper time/date information.

Article by Jerry Rhodes