Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, and with clinics across the U.S., Dialysis Clinic, Inc. (DCI) is a nonprofit medical corporation specializing in the research, care, and treatment of patients with kidney disease.
The organization was founded in 1971, and its history has been one of sustained growth coupled with an unwavering commitment to high-quality patient care. It has since expanded far beyond the 1,000-square-foot refurbished home in Nashville where it began. DCI is now the fourth-largest dialysis provider in the U.S. and operates approximately 275 local clinics in 28 states.
Printing is integral to DCI's operations because its patient-focused care hinges on what's called a flow sheet—printed pages that contain personal information, medications and other critical data for each individual patient. Flow sheets are the reason why printing downtime is to be avoided at all costs.
But that was difficult in DCI's print environment. The organization has 850 network printers spread across its locations, and for several years at least one aging print server was stationed at each site. Nearly all of these printers and print servers had to be managed remotely by a small IT staff from DCI's Chicago office, which could be problematic and impractical. This situation was exacerbated by the organization's Citrix environment and the requirements of its in-house EMR system.
"We had a real challenge managing, maintaining, and supporting that many printers and print servers across the country remotely," says Jason Alexovich, an infrastructure supervisor at DCI. "That was the main reason for moving to a centralized printer-management solution."
In 2016, exhausted by the constant struggle with printers and damage control, Alexovich started researching enterprise print-management software that could deliver effortless centralized control. He found his solution in PrinterLogic.
"PrinterLogic met all our requirements. We felt comfortable with what it had to offer, and the price was right. So we moved forward with getting PrinterLogic rolled out," he says—a "very easy" migration process that took "just a couple clicks."
Dialysis Clinic locations are found in 28 states across the U.S. A relatively small team is responsible for the organization's WAN/ LAN architecture—from major hardware and software purchases down to routine help-desk support.
For years, DCI used a traditional approach to print management. Each location was equipped with a Windows computer that functioned as a remotely managed print server. As the servers aged, however, printing issues became more common, and a lack of dedicated onsite support staff led to a feeling of helplessness among medical staff.
"Whenever we created a new printer, we had to go to whatever computer was designated as the print server, install it, and if the clinic accidentally powered down, or if there was a problem with that particular computer, it affected the entire clinic from a printing standpoint," says Alexovich. "In worst-case scenarios, we had to get on a plane and travel."
“This experience helped everyone focus more on what's really important to DCI—and that's patient care. By removing day-to-day problems with printer support, PrinterLogic allowed us more time to focus our energy on bigger and better things.”
Instead of replacing 300 print servers (only to face many of the same print-management issues), Alexovich and his team opted for PrinterLogic's centralized print-management approach.
PrinterLogic provides DCI with complete control over its print environment, allowing the modest IT staff to administer printers, drivers, and profiles down to the finest detail across the entire organization—all through an intuitive console. Better still, PrinterLogic's direct-IP printing approach eliminated the need for print servers, thereby removing the expense and frustration of trouble-prone infrastructure. That's led to increased printing uptime and less reliance on local power users to sort out printing problems.
"The nice part is, since we implemented PrinterLogic, the IT staff hasn't had to travel for printer issues," he says.
DCI uses Citrix to provision its custom EMR application, called Darwin, to desktops and laptops throughout the organization. This posed two interrelated challenges: getting printers and their drivers to work seamlessly with Citrix, and getting printers and their drivers to work seamlessly with Darwin.
The firm’s situation was further complicated by a wide variety of printer brands—Sharp, Ricoh, HP, Brother and Xerox to name just a few—that DCI uses in its print environment. A systemwide upgrade to Citrix in 2016 also jeopardized some existing compatibility.
"One big challenge during the upgrade was managing the printers and having them work successfully with Citrix," says Alexovich. "It was a bear until PrinterLogic came along. If you had the wrong driver set on one printer and Citrix didn't like it, or if Citrix froze when the printers were trying to map to the computers, it could kill the printing process for the entire location."
Since installing PrinterLogic, DCI has taken the worries of compatibility and complexity out of Citrix printing. PrinterLogic's tight integration with Active Directory allows Alexovich and his team to configure precise, automated printer deployments based on organizational units (OUs) without having to rely on the cumbersome rights management of group policy.
"We linked printer policies between PrinterLogic and Active Directory to deploy printers to locations based on where the printers are. And that follows pretty much across the country; it's standard across the board," he says. DCI also felt comfortable enough to migrate to universal print drivers by default.
"PrinterLogic helped us streamline and eliminate a lot of printing support. For example, being able to standardize the print drivers and standardize the printers was a godsend when it came to our Citrix environment."
The combined challenges of print-server shortcomings, Citrix printing, remote administration, and day-to-day print management were a big drain on Alexovich and his team.
"If you look at the call log from back then, there was a high percentage of support tickets related to printers and Citrix. It was eating up way too many resources and time, and it was a serious concern," he says.
But it wasn't just an IT issue. DCI's high quality of patient care depends on reliable printing.
"Our flow sheets are very important documents, and that system has to function properly and consistently. Anytime there was an interruption with that, we had to focus our attention on making sure it was resolved immediately."
Alexovich estimates that PrinterLogic has reduced the number of printer-related support tickets by 90 percent, compared with the firm’s previous print-management architecture.
"There was a dramatic decrease in printer-related support issues after we implemented PrinterLogic, and the word dramatic is not an exaggeration," he says.
"Once we got PrinterLogic fine-tuned, it took care of itself. Part of the tuning process was the ability to set up universal print drivers for every printer. If we had 575 HP printers, we could go into PrinterLogic and set the HP universal print drivers as the standard for those models with an easy drop-down menu. Then we did the same for the Xeroxes and the Sharps and so on. PrinterLogic handles all the heavy lifting."
Implementing PrinterLogic has benefited Dialysis Clinic, Inc. in several key ways that are hard to express in terms of ROI. It has minimized infrastructure, eliminated nagging printing issues and help-desk tickets, and streamlined print management. Above all, PrinterLogic has freed up enough resources so the organization can focus on other priorities that weren't getting enough attention.
"With the sheer volume of printing we do and the problems that we were seeing, print management was our focus for a long time. PrinterLogic took care of that. We were able to begin work on more interesting and important IT-related projects for DCI because we had more staff availability and more resources," Alexovich says.
"This experience helped everyone focus more on what's really important to DCI—and that's patient care. By removing day-to-day problems with printer support, PrinterLogic allowed us more time to focus our energy on bigger and better things."
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