Panama City Surgery Center is a multi-specialty, state-of-the-art medical outpatient facility located in Panama City, Florida. Its team of board-certified surgeons—specializing in fields such as gastroenterology, podiatry, orthopedics and pain management—work alongside a highly trained staff of nurses and healthcare professionals to deliver outstanding patient care.
About 50 doctors are associated with the surgery center, augmented by roughly the same number of staff. Together they serve approximately 800 patients per month through the facility's four operating rooms and two joint endoscopy/gastroenterology rooms.
Like many medical facilities, Panama City Surgery Center's environment is fluid and dynamic, with a large team of doctors in scheduled rotation and a steady flow of new and returning patients. This poses certain challenges to the IT onboarding process and routine printing for doctors and staff—challenges that have to be overcome in order for the center to continue delivering the top-quality care its patients expect.
"We have limited IT resources," says Shawn Smith, IT manager for the Panama City Surgery Center. "The surgery center doesn't have any offsite facilities, but we do manage other doctors' care centers that are within a five-or ten-mile radius. So we’re definitely busy trying to handle the surgery center's network and other doctors’ office networks as well."
For several years, the center's print environment—primarily Hewlett-Packard printers with a few specialized Brother and Kyocera devices—was powered by a Windows 2012 R2 print server. But Smith wanted a more lightweight solution that was easier to manage, particularly when it came to time-consuming installs and deployments.
While researching cloud-based print-management solutions online, he discovered PrinterCloud. Smith took advantage of PrinterLogic's free demo period and used PrinterCloud in place of the center's print server on a trial basis.
"It was love at first sight," he says. "Everything worked flawlessly out of the gate. We liked the feature set, and the price point was right where we needed it to be."
As the center’s only onsite IT professional, a large part of Smith's job is figuring out how to get things done in less time. Unfortunately, he found he was spending far too many hours manually installing and deploying printers to new users or PCs.
"The driving need for a new solution was that we were looking for a more automated way to have the printers installed on the machines as we were deploying or reimaging or rebuilding," he says.
It wasn't just that the installation process was time-consuming, either. On occasion he would overlook an install task on his to-do list, which meant an end user wouldn't receive the correct printer. That would then turn into a support ticket, compounding Smith's workload.
“If you need to update your printer driver, instead of going to all 50,000 computers in your organization, you throw it into PrinterCloud. Once it uploads, it automatically deploys the new driver to all of your clients at one time. That alone is going to save you a lot of time and money.”
Some of Smith’s IT colleagues recommended using group policy, but he wanted to avoid the complexity of GPOs. The ideal solution needed to be cloud-based and full-featured, but also have easy-to-use automation capabilities—precisely the combination that PrinterCloud offered.
Now Smith is able to automate printer installations and deployments to new clients. Even when dealing with a heavy workload, he can count on the client-side PrinterCloud agent to deliver the right printers to the right users automatically.
"PrinterCloud took away the need to remember to install printers on people's machines when we deploy a new machine or rebuild one," he says, "which has been great for me."
Smith maintains that he didn't suffer the usual headaches associated with print servers, such as spooler crashes, hangs and intermittent downtime.
"The print server worked fine," he says. All the same, the appeal of a low-overhead SaaS print-management solution with wide compatibility was clear, especially as the center was preparing to roll out a brand-new EMR solution.
For Smith, moving the center's print management to the cloud would also mean improved print-management efficiency, a future-proof solution with optional advanced functionality like mobile printing, and no related physical hardware to maintain ever again.
PrinterCloud's zero-footprint requirement, along with its unique synthesis of direct IP printing and cloud administration has given the Panama City Surgery Center a cutting-edge advantage when it comes to print management.
First, PrinterCloud has eliminated unnecessary infrastructure and the related costs of ongoing maintenance and upgrades. Second, it has vastly improved accessibility and ease of administration. Any changes to printer settings or drivers go into effect seamlessly and in real time.
"I like the idea that if a user needs the billing printer, I can use PrinterCloud to add either that username or that computer to deploy that printer," Smith says. "Within seconds that printer is fully functional and available to that user, and I didn't actually have to take control of the user's desktop and have them stop working. It all happens behind the scenes."
When Smith began researching innovative print-management solutions, his main priorities were cloud capabilities and automation.
That changed after implementing PrinterCloud. The "bells and whistles of the product," he says, are now essential to the Panama City Surgery Center's print-management strategy. He points to features like SNMP monitoring and alerts, which can identify minor device issues before they snowball into major support problems.
"SNMP alerts will let me know if there's a paper jam, or a printer's offline, or the toner levels are low," he says. "If somebody accidentally kicks the power cable on the printer, I get an e-mail alert saying that the printer is unreachable. Then I can call down to that area and quickly get the printer back online."
When coupled with other native PrinterCloud features like print auditing, SNMP monitoring is providing Smith and the Panama City Surgery Center with convenient and unprecedented insight into the organization's print environment.
"As I'm starting to work with the product, I can see all these nice features that are able to help me in my day-to-day IT situations or decision-making. That's just the icing on the cake for me."
The Panama City Surgery Center has yet to run any rigorous, long-term ROI analysis on PrinterCloud. Smith describes the solution as a "personal project" that was first and foremost designed to save him time, and he can cite numerous anecdotal examples to that effect.
"You almost have to geek out with another IT person about printing and explain how great PrinterCloud is," he says. "If you need to update your printer driver, instead of going to all 50,000 computers in your organization, you throw it into PrinterCloud. Once it uploads, it automatically deploys that new driver to all of your clients at one time. That alone is going to save you a lot of time and money."
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