Printer redirection. Seems simple, right? A print job in a client session gets pointed to a local printer—not all that different, in a way, from creating and following a desktop shortcut. In practice, however, printer redirection is a source of numerous Epic printing problems, resulting in untold hours of troubleshooting and chronic Epic printing headaches for end users as well as admins.
To understand why printer redirection is so problematic, it helps to revisit why it exists and what it does. Used in virtual and remote desktop environments, which are common in Epic printing and EMR/EHR scenarios, printer redirection essentially allows end users to print to a locally installed printer. Instead of just printing directly from the client device to the printer, the server is tasked with handling client print queues within the remote or virtual session. Any print jobs generated during that session are passed to the server (or servers), which in turns re-routes those queues to the local printer on the client machine. This somewhat convoluted process opens up the potential for many Epic printing problems, especially when the server doesn't have matching printer drivers or those drivers aren't recognized for some reason.
Printer redirection is further complicated by the very nature of Epic print management. In Epic printing environments, each Epic print server (EPS) requires discrete administration—in other words, every single change has to be carried out manually and separately for each EPS, even for something as routine as editing or deleting printers. And given that Epic printing generally requires multiple servers, this compounds the time and energy needed for basic print management. It also increases the likelihood of mistakes.
As a result, your end users are likely to experience the following Epic printing problems:
- "Vanishing" print jobs: The jobs appear to be queued but don't print out.
- Printer selection: The default printer is wrong and/or end users are unable to choose the correct printer.
- Inability to print: End users can't print from applications outside Epic.
- Printer deployment: Printer deployment is delayed or aborted after the end user has logged into a session.
There are hacks and tips on solving some of these printer redirection issues, but none of them is foolproof. Epic printing is just too cumbersome. The most reliable way to address Epic printing problems like printer redirection is to change how you approach Epic print management.
Believe it or not, that's easier than it sounds. PrinterLogic is a single, scalable enterprise-level solution that integrates seamlessly with Epic printing environments and is capable of restoring control, efficiency and ease of use to Epic print management. With it, you can make a single edit to a printer object and have that edit immediately populated across every EPS in your organization—no more laborious, error-prone discrete changes.
And PrinterLogic's Epic print management paradigm is as intuitive and streamlined as the interface of its centralized management console. You can deploy printers without resorting to group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts and even implement reliable location-based printing based on detailed criteria such as IP address or Active Directory (AD) attributes. That alone has the potential to solve printer redirection issues along with a host of other common Epic printing problems.
If that sounds too good to be true, take a moment to read our case studies for OhioHealth and Guthrie, two large healthcare organizations that relied on Epic printing for their EHR/EMR solution. After struggling with Epic print management and the typical gamut of Epic printing problems, they implemented PrinterLogic and experienced ease of administration and print management features that they never thought possible in an Epic printing environment.
Oh, and MEDITECH users? You don't have to feel left out. Princeton Community Hospital implemented PrinterLogic for the same reason—and with the same outstanding results.
Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Product Manager, Chris spent more than four years as a Technical Product Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Sales Engineer—working side by side with IT professionals to eliminate print servers from their environment. He has a B.S. degree in Information Technology and loves learning about all of the new and innovating solutions that continue to revolutionize the IT industry.