Category: Copiers/Printers, Document Management, Managed Services, Security

Watching a show or movie that takes place in a hospital or another healthcare setting, one might conclude that paper is dead. In many of these scenes, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals walk around with tablets—entering patient notes electronically and pulling up patient records just as easily.

Paper patient charts are usually nowhere to be seen.

To some extent, this is true. Medicine is definitely moving toward electronic patient records, whether in a hospital, doctor’s office, or ambulance. But the shift to fully digital medical document management still hasn’t occurred in many organizations, sometimes driven by the cost of the transition and other times for convenience, patient satisfaction, or cultural reasons.

The point is that print is far from dead; it’s unlikely it will disappear anytime soon. In fact, Keypoint Intelligence’s research shows that healthcare organizations in the United States are still generating over 100 billion prints annually. These include such forms and documents as consent forms, patient medical records, doctor’s orders, lab results, insurance and billing documents, and prescriptions—just to point out a few.

In addition to printing, faxing is still widely used in healthcare settings—especially when it comes to medical providers sharing patient data with other medical providers (including specialists).

In many cases, printed information is the “lowest common denominator” that all parties can easily access and use. This includes lower-income and older patients who may not have access to computers and the Internet at home to complete or view information electronically.

Given the importance of patient confidentiality in healthcare, it’s important that healthcare organizations ensure their document technology devices—including single-function printers, multifunction printers (MFPs), and scanners—are protected from potential security threats.

This includes network security threats in remote environments, where a good deal of medical staff—including administrative employees—are now working out of. Securing the document infrastructure also includes leveraging technology and best practices to guarantee that prints aren’t just sitting atop a printer or MFP unattended.

Your office technology dealer can help your organization assess the security of your print and scan devices and environment and make recommendations where any gaps may exist. They can also help answer questions about the latest features in today’s print devices, including tablet-like touchscreens, productivity apps, and smartphone printing.

Furthermore, many have knowledge about solutions for printing on alternative media, including patient wristbands and medical labels.

Dealers can also provide advice and product recommendations for solutions that make organizations more digital, including document management systems and telemedicine solutions. While the healthcare industry is certainly moving more in the direction of these digital tools, they don’t have to completely replace print by any means.