Large Healthcare Systems – Avoid this Gap in Print Management

Large Healthcare Systems – Avoid this Gap in Print Management

Large healthcare organizations that are growing often make a common and costly mistake when assessing their print management. Unfortunately, not all outside print management companies consider this common gap when performing their assessments. 

We have worked with many large healthcare systems, and our experience is there are some common gaps a healthcare provider can make as a result of a lot of rapid growth. We take our experience and customer knowledge into consideration when performing our services to ensure our print management strategy can be a benefit to the hospital or healthcare organization system we are working with.

In this article we will be discussing exactly what the gaps are, and how they are detrimental to your business. This article is written for larger healthcare systems which have at least 100 printing devices, but we have seen up to 10,000 printers and copiers in one account. The bigger the platform, the more the content in this article will help you get the greatest benefit.

Healthcare Industry Example – Case Study

If you take a company and look back over a 5 year period and compare it to where they are at now with their printer fleet, you may find some interesting information. We were working to gain a client that ultimately went with a manufacturer and paid a price in the long run. This healthcare organization had 2,500 devices 5 years ago, and they were generating 8,000,000 prints a month.  5 years later their volume dropped by roughly 25%,  down to 6,000,000 prints a month, yet the number of devices increased from 2,500 to 3,500 devices. 

They are up for a new term so we have been able to compare both notes and we are excited about our opportunity to work with them, because there has been a massive mistake being made which has cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.  (Yet, most hospital organizations are more worried about going from .007 per print on a device to .0065 rather than look at where the huge money is being lost.)

Why Did Prints Fall When the Number of Printers Rose?

The reason for the print volume change is the product life cycle and EHR implementation.  On the one hand, there were devices not getting proper utilization. On the other hand, the problem has been magnified because of new technology which directly affects the need for print. 

A device has 5 main stages in its life cycle. These are:

  • Assessment 
  • Order 
  • Installation 
  • Useful  Life
  • Disposal

What the manufacturer who got the account or client did not consider is the big hole in the middle of a product life cycle; and that is the useful life. The manufacturer came in, then consolidated all of the devices and the needs 5 years ago. While doing this, they put their brand in and replaced all of their competitors.  This is standard and a wasteful practice.  The reps are paid to sell new hardware, not to support existing devices which are working perfectly well today. Meaning, there were a lot of useful devices that were disposed of prematurely, and this cost the healthcare organization a lot of money when they could have simply supported the existing fleet and gradually replaced printers when it was time based on its useful life.

Now remember, we are only talking about the cost of the actual equipment. Add to this the cost of staff as each one of these printers or copiers had to be removed and drivers added to staff computers. This became a massive and unnecessary upgrade procedure that had no real utility to the client, even if it massively benefited the manufacturer of the printers.

Remember, the volume had gone down by 25 percent, but why was the volume down?

The reason for this hospital was their use of Epic as their electronic health records (EHR) system. These health management systems drove down printing, as automation does in most industries. As more and more hospitals and healthcare organizations migrate to electronic solutions to manage patient records, the former print devices have a high likelihood of being under-utilized and often simply stored and removed from offices without the need for paper as the platform gains adoption. Generally, the need for scanning and tablet computers increases, and print goes down, but not totally away. This is something which needs to be thoughtfully considered as part of a print management deployment in a hospital environment.

Useful Life Cycle and Disposal 

As time went by, this healthcare practice acquired another clinic. It is also common to grow a healthcare system.  We have seen this happen very often in nursing home or assisted living facility chains. Sometimes it is a 5 to 7 year cycle to buy, make it more profitable and sell or just use an acquisition to grow the current footprint of the healthcare organization.

They did a managed print assessment, and decided to add new devices. This is where the hole should have become much more obvious, if their rep or internal team were noticing what was happening in the macro. In this process, they never looked at their existing fleet. They did at the beginning when the new manufacturer came in, but it was not an ongoing part of their service, because the people doing the assessment weren’t looking at the existing fleet, they were just looking  to solve the existing problem of the new location. They could have moved some devices around and not bought any new hardware to service the client needs, but sometimes it is just easier to sell another 10 devices than to try and not get new hardware.

Once the company consolidated, they took the old devices and stuck them in a storage room somewhere, essentially removing the devices from any assessments. A printer or copier has to be on the network for the Data Collection Agent (DCA) to be able to discover them.  This meant that they had no way to know what was being under-utilized, and what was in storage. 

The company had devices with life left in them sitting around. Now, if they open another office, they are likely to repeat the situation, get more devices, rather than use what is in a closet somewhere. The more a hospital or healthcare organization does acquisitions and sell offs, the more this problem balloons.

Our Solution

What we offer is cradle to grave monitoring and assessment through every period of a device’s life cycle, including useful life cycle and disposal. This allows us to eliminate the common gaps and provide you with a realistic plan for every device in your fleet. 

Our team will truly manage your existing fleet as well as any new additions, streamlining what you have so there is no waste. This often means we ask you to buy few or no new devices. We work with what you have until that technology is no longer useful. We do look for devices with costs that are high per print and consider the long term costs, and often this results in moving a device from one floor or department to another so that the costs go down without any new hardware needing to be purchased.

We do not sell new hardware and grow our new device revenue just to try and sell more stuff you don’t really need. We understand with medical records going electronic, there is a change in the air that has to be considered in any managed print services (MPS) program. Printing costs for our team are holistic. We consider what you have, and match that to what you need. Our approach to printed documents is not, here is what we would like you to buy, so this is what you should do. This is an outdated strategy and does not help healthcare companies really manage their print environment. 

Our business model is to help you control your costs, manage your inventory and fleet, and provide service so your medical staff are taking care of clients and not fixing printers. Our obligation to your healthcare organization is to help you be responsible in your print spending and be a true partner, giving the advice we would implement ourselves, if we happened to own your company, knowing what we know.

We would love to talk to you about a sensible MPS program to help drive your budget in the right direction by ensuring we are paying tight attention to things others may miss, like device utilization, and healthcare organization technology trends.

Give us a call if you are looking for an MPS partner to help you control print costs and device management.