The dedicated staff at healthcare facilities generally enter the profession out of a deep sense of wanting to help care for patients and improve their wellbeing. Often, however, much of their time is spent handling paperwork.
While regulations and HIPAA compliance are vitally important to help ensure patients are properly cared for and that their personal information is protected, the added administrative work revolving around many of these regulations can sometimes reduce efficiency and diminish worker morale.
Finding ways to minimize unnecessary paperwork helps reduce worker stress and improve job satisfaction, which leads to better care for patients. Implementing a Managed Print program also can play a critical role in creating efficiencies for workers, improving compliance and reducing costs for healthcare organizations. Here’s how.
To determine a healthcare facility’s needs, an expert managed print professional will first evaluate existing print equipment including desktop printers, copiers and any multifunction devices. They also will discuss current printing processes and protocols to help determine where improvements can be made.
Other factors including printer supplies, ordering processes and frequency, current print-related costs, the ages of existing equipment, and their abilities to keep networks secure. Once challenges are revealed, a strategic plan for how to overcome them will be developed.
Despite perceived high costs for healthcare, hospitals and other facilities continue to face increased financial pressures, partly due to changing laws, rising costs and increased oversight. The growing demand for qualified healthcare workers is also forcing many facilities to offer more competitive wages. Print supply and maintenance costs can cut into tight budgets where every dollar counts.
Managed Print can help reduce waste and inefficiency by implementing default settings to print on both sides of the paper and printing in draft mode to significantly reduce toner usage. Print-to-scan capabilities can instantly create a digital file of a document and email or fax it to approved recipients to further reduce unnecessary printing, and remote monitoring of supplies can help ensure your facility never runs out of toner or that excess supplies take up valuable space (and resources).
After a thorough evaluation, it may be determined that a facility can consolidate the number of printers it uses, resulting in significant savings. Outdated printers may also contribute to draining profits due to poor energy efficiency or excessive toner usage. Another benefit of Managed Print is the consistent monthly billing which helps organizations even out cash flow and more accurately forecast expenses.
In light of recent security breaches in the healthcare industry, efforts to protect patient data must continually be assessed and improved upon. With a heavy emphasis on computers, email scams and network security, the print environment is sometimes overlooked. However, copiers, printers and fax machines must have security measures in place as required by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The consequences of failing to do so are evidenced by the Affinity Health data breach in 2010, where confidential data was not erased from leased copy machines prior to returning them to the provider. It resulted in more than 33,000 records being compromised and a $1.2 million settlement.
Print devices must be kept in secure locations, encrypt data and deploy robust permission-based print capabilities. These can include print-to-scan, PIN access, password protection, card-reader access and more. Working with a provider who can implement these measures and also work with you to ensure proper removal and destruction of hard drives prior to recycling or return of devices can help ensure your facility remains in compliance with strict HIPAA laws.
Reduced IT Workloads
The technology infrastructure of most healthcare facilities is highly complex and requires consistent oversight from a dedicated IT department. Printer problems — from paper jams to network issues — can distract them from their normal duties. A Managed Print provider proactively addresses most printer problems by deploying a service technician for routine maintenance so issues are less likely to arise. If they do, a 24/7 Help Desk is available to quickly assess the situation and handle most problems remotely. Downtime is reduced and IT staff is able to dedicate their time to critical functions.
A strategic Managed Print solution will work seamlessly with existing systems, such as an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system, which stores data in a central repository and mitigates risks by integrating with existing electronic medical records (EMR) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Implementing Managed Print should not be an independent initiative; rather, part of an enterprise-wide strategy that integrates with other organizational infrastructures. To do so requires partnering with an experienced provider that can navigate the complex regulations and requirements that are prominent in the healthcare industry.
Patient care is of utmost importance, and allowing workers to focus on their well-being instead of frustrating and costly print issues and compliance concerns can play a major role in improving worker satisfaction and reduce distractions. The Gordon Flesch Company has the experience and expertise to assist your healthcare facility, and would be happy to provide a free, no-obligation consultation. Reach out to one of our experts today.