Serving three northwestern New Jersey counties—namely, Warren, Sussex, Morris and Pike County, Pennsylvania, The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey is a large healthcare provider specializing in such fields as sports medicine, rheumatology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and joint replacement. All told, the organization operates about ten offices including satellite locations.
“We’re focused on delivering innovative, high-quality, and cost efficient orthopedic care to our region and all the patients we serve,” explains Systems Manager Aaron Orchard, who is also the organization’s HIPAA security officer.
As Orchard is quick to point out, the ability to deliver that high-quality care depends on being nimble and “forward-thinking.”
“We are pretty fast-paced,” he says. “We like to think that we adapt with the times. Obviously, healthcare is ever-changing, and to be number one in our market, we always have to be ahead of the game.”
Although the skilled physicians and providers at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey had little trouble remaining at the forefront of medicine, their multi-location print environment was making it hard to keep pace from a technological standpoint. Mostly centralized through a Windows 2008 R2 print server and supplemented by a handful of executive-level direct IP printers, the fleet of Lexmark, Kyocera, and HP devices suffered regular downtime owing to spooler crashes and basic maintenance routines.
“It didn’t work out so great,” says Orchard. “We have patient-sensitive documents that need to be handed out, progress notes for patients, return-to-work letters, physical therapy scripts, and so on, so we rely heavily on our printers to be able to produce those documents. When we had to patch the servers or there were reboots, we ended up having to take down a whole server. And when our print server is down, that equates to a poor customer experience because we can’t print out those documents.”
Another problem was resources. Orchard handles most of the organization’s print management single-handedly, increasing the need and urgency for a simpler, more efficient print management solution—particularly in light of The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey’s steady expansion. Even a few support calls a week had a negative impact on his productivity, not to mention that of the end users. Simplifying deployments in a dynamic environment therefore become a top priority.
“I really wanted to take a baseball bat and just smash my print server,” he laughs. “But my boss wouldn’t let me do that.”
He began consulting online resources like Spiceworks and found that PrinterLogic came highly recommended by other IT professionals, especially those in the healthcare industry. After demoing PrinterLogic’s next-generation print management solution and determining that it had the desired functionality and worked seamlessly with the organization’s existing electronic medical records (EMR) solution, Orchard chose to implement it.
“Was I a little skeptical at first? Sure. But setting up a demo within a week [of getting in touch] proved that PrinterLogic knew the software could do what we wanted it to do. It far surpassed our expectations.”
Deploying printers accurately and reliably to mobile end users is very much like trying to hit a moving target. In conventional print environments that rely on group policy objects (GPOs) or scripts, precise dynamic and automatic printer deployments based on compound criteria can be close to impossible, as Orchard discovered firsthand.
“We have a lot of mobile users. All our physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and medical assistants have a company-issued tablet. Before Advanced Group Deployments, if I did a straight [printer] deployment to the subnet, my desktop users would also get this clinical printer by default because it fell within the scope of that subnet. And my desktop users didn’t need access to the clinical printer. It just added another printer that they don’t need.”
This led to improper or failed deployments as well as confusion among end users.
“Just being able to show them how to get to the self-service portal saves a large amount of support calls.”
The Advanced Group Deployment feature in PrinterLogic’s print management solution offers IP-and MAC-based parameters while fully supporting Active Directory parameters such as organizational unit (OU), users or containers, allowing admins to create multiple contingent criteria for printer deployments. This means they can easily create complex logical rules to ensure printers are delivered automatically to the exact end users that need them—with zero effort on their part.
“In our case, I made a new advanced group for a clinical printer and my three OUs: a Physician OU, a Medical Assistant OU, and a Physician Assistant and Nurse Practitioner OU. It asks, is the computer in the IP range and is the user in the Physician OU and is the computer in the Physician OU? All conditions must be met or the printer will not be deployed. The idea is that a Physician could log onto their tablet, the tablet would fall into the IP range by default, and then the Physician would get mapped to the nearest clinical printer. It’s very straightforward and very easy to use.”
Like any organization with plans for future growth, The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey wanted a print environment that could easily accommodate expansion over time. The signs that it had already outgrown the restrictions of its centralized print server-based environment were clear.
“We are a hub-and-spoke topology using site-to-site VPN,” says Orchard, “so spooling the print jobs over some limited [WAN] connections definitely caused some issues. And that led to other issues, like the print spooler crashing. And when you’re a one-person shop, you don’t want to be spending all your time writing GPOs and trying to troubleshoot why it isn’t working, because it just equated to my time being lost.”
However, the organization didn’t want the costs normally associated with expansion—primarily in the form of additional IT staff and infrastructure—to present an additional strain.
“As we grew, we knew that as we added more printers, it just wouldn’t be realistic to keep on using the centralized environment, mainly because of the load on our VPN and not being able to have multiple machines for local spooling,” says Orchard. “Obviously, we have to keep an eye on the budget, too, so having a decent-ralized model with a physical server or even a nanoserver at every site is just not practical for smaller businesses like ourselves.”
PrinterLogic offers the unique double benefit of direct IP printing with intuitive centralized management. This helped to reduce the load on the WAN and the VPN by keeping data-heavy print traffic localized while also making it easier for Orchard to deploy and administer printers anywhere in the organization from a single pane of glass.
“I’m definitely seeing the value of the solution being able to grow with our company. If we decide to open a new satellite office, all I need to do is go into the admin portal and set up the new printer—give it a name, the IP address, the drivers, and basically just plug in the printer and I’m ready to go. I don’t have to write a new policy. I can go to the ‘Deployment’ tab, pick who I need it to go to, and see you later. It’s definitely scalable for sure, and being able to add more printers on the fly is very attractive for our growth.” Furthermore, the frontend medical staff is also making use of PrinterLogic’s acclaimed self-service portal, which enables end users to identify and install nearby printers themselves with a single click.
“PrinterLogic definitely reduced my calls dramatically,” Orchard says. “I usually just get IMs because they know it’s so quick for me to fix an issue. Before, you would have to tell them, ‘Okay, you’ve got to go to this network share, you’ve got to click on this printer, backslash backslash the server name, type in this.’ Just being able to show them how to get to the self-service portal saves a large amount of support calls. And now that we have Advanced Group Deployments, the calls went down even more.”
The medical staff of The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey relies on data to diagnose physical ailments and determine the best course of treatment for their patients. When it came to the print environment, however, the lack of data-driven insight prevented Orchard from applying the same principles. For example, with the Windows-based print server, he had no way of monitoring consumables usage among network and USB printers.
With PrinterLogic, Orchard and his organization now have a clear window onto the entire print environment and quantifiable statistics on which to base efficiency initiatives.
“Each month I usually run a usage report so we can see and evaluate where our prints are coming from. Last week we were talking about replacing a device, so the first thing I did was pull a report for the past three months on what the usage of this device was. And with the printing costs set up in PrinterLogic, I could tell you how much it cost for us to operate the printer. Then as an admin I could say, ‘Listen, this device costs us, say, 250 dollars a month to operate, and if we switch to another printer with a lower cost per impression, the [new] device would pay for itself in less than six months.’ Being able to run those reports and make informed business decisions is going to help us in the long run.”
PrinterLogic’s built-in support for Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) monitoring has also enabled Orchard to be alerted before the toner runs out, not after, which means he can be more intentional in purchasing supplies.
The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey has not yet carried out a comprehensive cost-saving audit following its implementation of PrinterLogic’s print management solution, but Orchard says that he has already witnessed a marked decline in print-related support calls and consumables usage.
“The biggest saving was with my time,” he says. “We’ve also seen some dollar savings with changing some profiles on the printers using PrinterLogic, specifically reducing toner darkness and turning on EcoPrint on various printers. Using PrinterLogic’s built in reporting, I could equate real dollar savings by running monthly print cost reports and evaluating our higher cost per impression devices, and then was able to swap out the high cost per impression devices with lower cost per impression devices. For example, one printer we saved about 50 dollars a month by swapping out the device. If we didn’t have that [PrinterLogic] report, we wouldn’t have known. We would have just kept on buying the toner and buying the toner. We saved 600 dollars for the year on that printer alone. That time and those dollar amounts add up.”
Beyond that, PrinterLogic has saved him from the headache of print management using cumbersome traditional solutions.