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Guide to Printing in an Epic Environment

Posted by Chris Summerhays on November 1st, 2016

Hospitals and healthcare organizations around the world rely on the Epic software suite to maintain their electronic health records (EHR) and other information vital to staff operations and patient care. Despite the advantages that Epic provides from an EHR point of view, Epic print servers (EPSs) are widely known 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 not uncommon for them to hire trained professionals with a specialization in Epic healthcare printing just to maintain some semblance of control over their Epic print servers.

Why is Epic healthcare printing so difficult to manage? It's largely because the highly distributed Epic printing software leverages the basic print spooler functionality of the operating system itself. This brings some uniformity to a heterogeneous and shifting environment, but these spoolers are unable to communicate with printers directly, don't allow for print job auditing, and have extremely limited functionality. Epic print servers are tasked with the heavy lifting, but with so many print streams constantly running between so many servers and workstations (possibly running different operating systems) located both centrally and remotely, they are under an incredible amount of stress that can cause them to hang or crash.

Quick and patchwork Epic printing solutions usually address this problem by placing all sorts of restrictions on the print environment—like driving a car so delicate that it can't make left-hand turns or go above 30mph. Therefore, any guide to Epic printing has to account for the following Epic printing 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.
  • Multiple points of failure: Because print queues are scattered between multiple hosts and Epic print servers require multiple instances for the sake of redundancy, there are increased opportunities for both software and human error.

For many organizations, the simplest and most effective way to address these problems is through third-party Epic printing solutions. These solutions attempt to compensate for the shortcomings of the native Epic printing software by 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 and 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 for Epic healthcare printing from a single pane of glass. By combining this centralized management with the proven stability of direct IP printing, you get greater print availability across the organization, dramatically improved ease of management and increased visibility into your print environment. That's why the only guide you need to Epic printing is a free PrinterLogic demo.

Chris Summerhays
Chris Summerhays
Before becoming PrinterLogic's Technical Marketing Engineer, I spent more than two years as as a Systems Engineer and Sales Engineer working side by side with IT professionals to eliminate print servers from their environment. I have a Bachelors in Information Technology and love learning about all of the new and innovating solutions that continue to revolutionize the IT industry. .

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