Epic Systems Inc. is the leading supplier of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software in the U.S. and is expanding its customer base worldwide. It’s a highly trusted solution for many healthcare organizations.
Despite Epic’s many strengths, managing printing in this environment is often challenging for IT because Epic queues are handled separately from other forms of (non-clinical) printing. There’s a way to unify the management of both administrative and clinical printing in a single Administrative (Admin) Console, with additional secure print methods—I’ll explain below.
But first, how can Epic host your environment?
Epic has two primary hosting architecture options: an on-premises, customer-hosted model and a cloud-based, Epic-hosted model. Customers may choose either model based on their infrastructure and the amount of control they want to have over their environment.
An on-premises, customer-hosted model is a traditional method for Epic installations. It offers IT admins more control but requires more infrastructure and resources. Print management can be labor-intensive. Because printing is mission-critical, IT admins must create and manage multiple identical print servers for load balancing. They monitor their status and keep them synchronized.
When Epic hosts the solution in the cloud, print servers are no longer controlled by the healthcare client, and administrators can no longer add to, remove from, or make changes to their print queues. Nor can they install software to help them manage their environment. They must contact Epic to open a ticket for every change. The response can be fast, but in some cases, there are delays. Many admins we work with want a more straightforward solution they can control.
Either model has upsides and downsides. In any case, managing printing can be cumbersome without a solution to reduce the complications of multiple asynchronous servers and limited administrative access.
That’s where PrinterLogic comes in.
PrinterLogic gives IT full control and allows healthcare organizations to manage all of their printing from one Admin Console—both for the clinical Epic environment and business-management office printing.
There are two ways PrinterLogic manages printing for Epic customers. One involves keeping the traditional Epic print servers but providing a powerful Admin Console for managing drivers and print settings across the Epic infrastructure. The other method is available by installing the PrinterLogic Epic Connector. Our Epic Connector eliminates the need to deploy drivers and queues to print servers altogether, unifying all forms of healthcare print management—including clinical and general office printing—from a single pane of glass. I’ll explain how it works.
How does the PrinterLogic Epic Connector work?
The PrinterLogic Epic Connector reroutes print jobs so that, rather than flowing through a web of disconnected servers and drivers, it’s directed through PrinterLogic to the destination printers. The PrinterLogic Admin Console then becomes “mission control,” enabling you to manage the various servers, drivers, and queues across both Epic and clinical printing without the need for third-party equipment or services.
Here’s how it works in 4 steps:
- The Epic Connector utilizes Epic’s Output Management API to receive documents to be printed directly from Epic, sent via HTTPS.
- These documents are sent with an XML file specifying the destination printer, print settings, the user who sent the job, and additional metadata.
- The Epic Connector then uses driverless IPP technology to process and print the job, without needing to spool and render the job with a traditional driver. If a driver is needed for specialty printers like label printers, the Connector will fall back to a selected driver for direct IP printing.
- Once printed, the Connector will use the included metadata to properly report user-level printing records and respond back to Epic that the job was successfully printed. This service includes automatic redundancy to protect against failures ensuring business-critical Epic printing is not interrupted.
This architecture can be used with either on-premises or cloud-hosted instances of Epic on version 2018 or later.
This solution allows end users to securely hold their print jobs, which requires the user to authenticate their identity at the printer with an employee badge swipe, QR code scan from a mobile device, pin or password, and other release mechanisms, for the job to print. Secure Release can reduce print volume by up to 20 percent and prevent PHI or PII from being exposed to unintended viewers.
Off-Network Printing is another method—allowing any traveling or contracted providers working in a hospital or clinic temporarily to still access networked printers and print, while not having official network access. When a job is printed via an off-network print queue, the job travels through the cloud, is received by an Internal Routing Service on the network, then pulled to the destination printer.
How is the Epic Connector set up with an existing environment?
Setting up centralized management of printer drivers and settings for all Epic print servers is very straightforward. It only requires one simple step: The administrator installs the PrinterLogic agent on each server and allows the agent to import all existing print queues and their settings.
Once imported, the administrator can work completely from PrinterLogic’s web-based Admin Console to update drivers, change settings, add or remove queues, and more, to gain more granular control over their environment.
These changes automatically apply to all appropriate print servers to keep them in sync with one another without the need for manual changes or scripting. This method is only supported with on-premises instances of Epic.
Interested in eliminating all of your print servers?
We deliver a highly available serverless printing infrastructure, all managed from a cloud-based centralized Admin Console. We’d love to show you how. Schedule a demo here to learn more.