November 01, 2016

Guide to Printing in an Epic Environment

Hospitals and healthcare organizations around the world rely on the Epic software suite for a lot. This software maintains their electronic health records (EHR) and other information vital to staff operations and patient care. Although Epic has advantages from an EHR point of view, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Epic print servers (EPSs) are notorious for their lack of robustness and poor print management. As a consequence, these organizations often experience Epic printing issues on a daily basis, as a direct result of having to deploy and operate one or more EPSs. It’s common for them to hire trained professionals with a specialization in Epic healthcare printing. Their job? To maintain some semblance of control over their Epic print servers.

The challenges of Epic printing

Why is Epic healthcare printing so difficult to manage? It’s because the highly distributed Epic printing software leverages the basic print spooler functionality of the operating system. This brings some uniformity to a heterogeneous and shifting environment. Yet, these spoolers are unable to communicate with printers directly, don’t allow for print job auditing, and have very limited functionality.
Epic print servers deal with the heavy lifting, but undergo a lot of stress. With so many print streams running between so many servers and workstations (often running different operating systems), mistakes are bound to happen. You can imagine how it’s not uncommon for an Epic print server to hang or crash.
Quick and patchwork Epic printing solutions are out there. But they usually address this problem by placing restrictions on the print environment. It’s like driving a car so delicate that it can’t make left-hand turns or go above 30mph.
Because of this, any quick fix for Epic printing faces the following issues:

Limited (or zero) print auditing

Tracking print jobs, confirming print output, and viewing aggregate printer usage is as beneficial to establishing an audit trail as it is to budgeting. Yet this is lacking in the native Epic printing software.

Lack of security

With safeguards to patient confidentiality now enshrined in law, printing security on both the front-end and back-end is crucial. Unfortunately, Epic healthcare printing does not provide close administrative oversight or features like pull printing.

Many points of failure

Because print queues are scattered between multiple hosts and Epic print servers require multiple instances for the sake of redundancy, the chances for software and human error rises.

Solutions for Epic printing

For many, the simplest way to address problems is with third-party Epic printing solutions. These solutions attempt to compensate for the shortcomings of the native Epic printing software. This can include introducing improved print management, increased visibility into the print environment, and greater resiliency.
PrinterLogic is the one Epic printing solution that is incredibly easy to deploy. It works seamlessly with the Epic software suite to deliver consistent, reliable, and robust printing in Epic environments.
Through its simple but feature-rich centralized management console, PrinterLogic enables you to manage all the printers and drivers your organization needs. Finally, you’ll be able to manage Epic healthcare printing from a single pane of glass. This centralized management paired with the proven stability of direct IP printing will dramatically improve management and visibility of your print environment.

Interested in eliminating all of your print servers?

We deliver a highly available Serverless Printing Infrastructure using a centrally managed Direct IP printing platform. If you want to empower end users with mobile printing, secure release printing, and many advanced features, we’d love to show you how.

Serverless printing is just one quick demo away.

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Chris Summerhays

Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Product Manager, Chris spent more than five 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.
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