How to Achieve the Printing Efficiency You Need with Rule-Based Automation

Output Management Rules & Routing

Your electronic medical record system, enterprise resource planning, and other large-scale applications your organization relies on form critical parts of business processes. It’s crucial the output from those systems ends up in the right place, in the correct format, and on time.

With Vasion’s introduction of Output Management comes higher reliability, speed of delivery, and unification of management for both office and back-end application print management when printing from these systems, but still leaves the opportunity to further increase the efficiency, accuracy, and reliability of print and workflow tasks. 

 

Our customers stress that better efficiency is necessary for their output processes.

One of the concerns commonly brought up by customers I’ve spoken to has been ensuring uptime for critical printing with their printers themselves. If the printer designated for shipping labels or customer invoices breaks, it can put a serious dent in productivity while it’s down, and it’s not always easy to redirect traffic to a new printer within a customer’s application, resulting in unacceptable downtime.

Additionally, these environments often bring processes requiring manual intervention. A healthcare organization we worked with hoped to reduce costs by printing the majority of their documents in black and white, with only after-visit summaries printed in color to maintain a positive patient experience. Now, a manual touchpoint is introduced into the printing process, and it’s up to the individual clinician to remember to select the correct setting for just that type of job every time. 

 

These, and many other examples, drove Rules & Routing, a rule-based automation feature, as part of our Output Management Bundle. 

I challenge you to look deeper into your printing processes–you’ll notice those manual touchpoints often arise in your print environment, like manually converting documents to print-ready PDFs, paper notes taped to the printer reminding employees to print only in black and white, and attaching digital files to emails after scanning. These can all be automated as rules that trigger specific actions based on a set of behaviors. 


The three main components of Rules & Routing: 

  • Triggers are used to watch for specific events that should prompt the Rules & Routing service to decide which course of action to take.
  • Conditions provide the qualifying attributes that decide whether or not an action should be performed.
  • Actions are the actual behavior applied when conditions are met. 

These automated rules reduce or even eliminate any manual intervention, alter print data, increase document security, ensure proper delivery of documents, and more. In addition, document delivery goes beyond printers, including delivery direct to storage folders or through email, eliminating the manual touchpoint for your coworkers. 

 

Let’s look back at the example above from our customer needing to ensure continuous uptime for their printing processes. 

To solve this issue, I would create a rule that automatically reroutes my print data to a backup printer in the event we detect print failures on the primary printer to avoid long periods of downtime by following these steps:

  1. Create a rule with the trigger “Print Job Failed”
  2. Choose a condition selecting the primary printer(s) you are watching for failures
  3. And the “Redirect print job” action, where you’d select the backup printer
  4. Optionally, you could also add an additional action to email the originating user to alert them their job is located on a new printer

Managing Your Clinical Printing with Epic from a Unified Platform

This blog is part of a three-part Output Management series about the Oracle Health EHR , Epic, and SAP connectors. Read the other installments on Oracle Health EHR and SAP

Epic Systems Inc. is the leading supplier of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software in the U.S. and is expanding its customer base worldwide. It’s a highly trusted solution for many healthcare organizations. 

Despite Epic’s many strengths, managing printing in this environment is often challenging for IT because Epic queues are handled separately from other forms of (non-clinical) printing. There’s a way to unify the management of both administrative and clinical printing in a single Administrative (Admin) Console, with additional secure print methods—I’ll explain below.

But first, how can Epic host your environment?

Epic has two primary hosting architecture options: an on-premises, customer-hosted model and a cloud-based, Epic-hosted model. Customers may choose either model based on their infrastructure and the amount of control they want to have over their environment.

On-premises

An on-premises, customer-hosted model is a traditional method for Epic installations. It offers IT admins more control but requires more infrastructure and resources. Print management can be labor-intensive. Because printing is mission-critical, IT admins must create and manage multiple identical print servers for load balancing. They monitor their status and keep them synchronized.

Cloud-based

When Epic hosts the solution in the cloud, print servers are no longer controlled by the healthcare client, and administrators can no longer add to, remove from, or make changes to their print queues. Nor can they install software to help them manage their environment. They must contact Epic to open a ticket for every change. The response can be fast, but in some cases, there are delays. Many admins we work with want a more straightforward solution they can control. 

Either model has upsides and downsides. In any case, managing printing can be cumbersome without a solution to reduce the complications of multiple asynchronous servers and limited administrative access.

That’s where PrinterLogic comes in. 

PrinterLogic gives IT full control and allows healthcare organizations to manage all of their printing from one Admin Console—both for the clinical Epic environment and business-management office printing.

There are two ways PrinterLogic manages printing for Epic customers. One involves keeping the traditional Epic print servers but providing a powerful Admin Console for managing drivers and print settings across the Epic infrastructure. The other method is available by installing the PrinterLogic Epic Connector. Our Epic Connector eliminates the need to deploy drivers and queues to print servers altogether, unifying all forms of healthcare print management—including clinical and general office printing—from a single pane of glass. I’ll explain how it works. 

How does the PrinterLogic Epic Connector work?

The PrinterLogic Epic Connector reroutes print jobs so that, rather than flowing through a web of disconnected servers and drivers, it’s directed through PrinterLogic to the destination printers. The PrinterLogic Admin Console then becomes “mission control,” enabling you to manage the various servers, drivers, and queues across both Epic and clinical printing without the need for third-party equipment or services. 

Here’s how it works in 4 steps:

  1. The Epic Connector utilizes Epic’s Output Management API to receive documents to be printed directly from Epic, sent via HTTPS.
  2. These documents are sent with an XML file specifying the destination printer, print settings, the user who sent the job, and additional metadata. 
  3. The Epic Connector processes the job without a driver, eliminating the need to spool and render the job as with a traditional driver. If a driver is needed for specialty printers like label printers, the Connector will fall back to a selected driver for direct IP printing.
  4. Once printed, the Connector will use the included metadata to properly report user-level printing records and respond back to Epic that the job was successfully printed. This service includes automatic redundancy to protect against failures ensuring business-critical Epic printing is not interrupted. 

 

 

This architecture can be used with either on-premises or cloud-hosted instances of Epic on version 2018 or later.

This solution allows end users to securely hold their print jobs, which requires the user to authenticate their identity at the printer with an employee badge swipe, QR code scan from a mobile device, pin or password, and other release mechanisms, for the job to print. Secure Release can reduce print volume by up to 20 percent and prevent PHI or PII from being exposed to unintended viewers. 

Off-Network Printing is another method—allowing any traveling or contracted providers working in a hospital or clinic temporarily to still access networked printers and print, while not having official network access. When a job is printed via an off-network print queue, the job travels through the cloud, is received by an Internal Routing Service on the network, then pulled to the destination printer. 

How is the Epic Connector set up with an existing environment?

Setting up centralized management of printer drivers and settings for all Epic print servers is very straightforward. It only requires one simple step: The administrator installs the PrinterLogic agent on each server and allows the agent to import all existing print queues and their settings. 

Once imported, the administrator can work completely from PrinterLogic’s web-based Admin Console to update drivers, change settings, add or remove queues, and more, to gain more granular control over their environment. 

These changes automatically apply to all appropriate print servers to keep them in sync with one another without the need for manual changes or scripting. This method is only supported with on-premises instances of Epic.

Interested in eliminating all of your print servers?

We deliver a highly available serverless printing infrastructure, all managed from a cloud-based centralized Admin Console. We’d love to show you how. Schedule a demo here to learn more. 

How the Epic Connector Allows Healthcare Organizations To Manage All Printing From One Admin Console

Epic Systems Inc. is the leading supplier of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) software in the U.S. and is expanding its customer base worldwide. It’s a highly trusted solution for many healthcare organizations. 

Despite Epic’s many strengths, managing printing in this environment is often challenging for IT because Epic queues are handled separately from other forms of (non-clinical) printing. 

In this blog, we’ll describe Epic’s two primary hosting models and explain how PrinterLogic’s new Epic Connector can unify the management of both administrative and clinical printing in a single Administrative Console. 

Epic Hosting Architectures

Epic has two primary hosting architecture options: an on-premises customer-hosted model and a cloud-based Epic-hosted model. Customers may choose either model based on their infrastructure and the amount of control they want to have over their environment.

On-premises

An on-premises customer-hosted model is a traditional method for Epic installations. It offers IT admins more control but requires more infrastructure and resources. Print management can be labor-intensive. Because printing is mission-critical, IT admins must create and manage multiple identical print servers for load balancing. They monitor their status and keep them synchronized.

Cloud-based

When Epic hosts the solution in the cloud, print servers are no longer controlled by the healthcare client, and administrators can no longer add to, remove from, or make changes to, their print queues. Nor can they install software to help them manage their environment. They must contact Epic to open a ticket for every change. The response can be fast, but in some cases, there are delays. Many admins we talk to want a more straightforward solution they can control.

Either model has upsides and downsides. In any case, managing printing can be complicated without a solution to reduce the complications of multiple asynchronous servers and limited administrative access.

That’s where PrinterLogic comes in. 

How PrinterLogic Solves Challenges with Epic

PrinterLogic gives IT full control and allows healthcare organizations to manage all of their printing from one Admin Console—both for the clinical Epic environment and business-management office printing.

There are two ways PrinterLogic manages printing for Epic customers. One involves keeping the traditional Epic print servers but providing a powerful Admin Console for managing drivers and print settings across the Epic infrastructure. The other method, announced this month, is by installing the PrinterLogic Epic Connector. The Epic Connector eliminates the need to deploy drivers and queues to print servers altogether. Below we’ll explain how the new Epic Connector works and unifies all forms of healthcare print management—including clinical and general office printing—from a single pane of glass.

The PrinterLogic Epic Connector

The PrinterLogic Epic Connector reroutes print jobs so that, rather than flowing through a web of disconnected servers and drivers, they flow through PrinterLogic directly to the destination printers. PrinterLogic then becomes “mission control,” enabling you to manage the various servers, drivers, and queues across both Epic and clinical printing without the need for third-party equipment or services. Here’s how it works.

      1. The Epic Connector utilizes Epic’s Output Management API to receive documents to be printed directly from Epic, sent via HTTPS.
      2. These documents are sent with an XML file specifying the destination printer, print settings, the user who sent the job, and other metadata. 
      3. The Epic Connector then uses driverless technology to process and print the job without needing to spool and render the job with a traditional driver. If a driver is needed for specialty printers like label printers, the Connector will automatically detect this and will fall back to a selected driver for these cases. 
      4. Once printed, the Connector will use the included metadata to properly report user-level printing records and will respond back to Epic that the job was successfully printed. This service includes automatic redundancy to protect against failures to ensure business-critical Epic printing is not interrupted. 

 

epic connector diagram

This architecture can be used with either on-premises or cloud-hosted instances of Epic on version 2018 or later.

Additionally, this method can provide pull or secure printing, allowing end-users to securely hold their print jobs, which prevents the job from being printed until the user releases the print job with a badge swipe, QR code scan from a mobile device, pin or password, and other release mechanisms. Secure printing can reduce print volume by up to 20-percent and prevent print jobs lying on print trays with potential PHI or PII from being exposed to unintended viewers. 

Setting up PrinterLogic with Epic

Setting up management of printer drivers and settings for all Epic print servers is very straightforward. It only requires one simple step: The administrator installs the PrinterLogic agent on each server and allows the agent to import all existing print queues and their settings. 

Once imported, the administrator can now work completely from PrinterLogic’s web-based Administrative Console to accomplish the following tasks:

    • Update drivers
    • Change settings
    • Add or remove queues
    • And more

These changes automatically apply to all appropriate print servers to keep them in sync with one another without the need for manual changes or scripting. This method is only supported with on-premises instances of Epic.