Written by Emily Cheslock

Hospital IT teams focus on data security, ensuring that patient data is confidential and private. Many times, IT teams overlook the risks of fax machines, copiers and printers. Printed documents often contain HIPAA protected information. Having them lying on a printer or copier can lead to an unintended breach in patient privacy.

Eric Reed

“Printing is typically not at the forefront of an IT team’s minds. Compliance, end-point security and the core infrastructure of the hospital are IT’s critical mission,” said Eric Reed, Director of Healthcare Accounts at UBEO. “Printers and scanners may be vital to your day-to-day operations, but they should not be on IT’s radar.”

A quality printing vendor can ensure that not only are your printers functional but also provide quick service if they should stop working. UBEO offers turnkey solutions and in-house expertise for anything that relates to a hospital’s business documentation needs.

Employ Secure Printing Strategies

Ensuring compliance with laws around data protection and privacy is at the forefront of hospital administrators’ minds. Fines for HIPAA violations can range from $100 to $50,000 for each occurrence. Hospital administrators need to be looking at every aspect of their hospital to avoid fines.

Cybersecurity software can secure digital documents and data systems. But when it comes to paper documents, security is not so straightforward.

“Any number of days you could walk through a hospital and see documents sitting on printers and copiers that haven’t yet been picked up. This can leave private patient data vulnerable to anyone who walks by,” said Reed.

‘Follow Me’ is a secure printing solution that allows for documents to follow an employee to their preferred printer. Once the employee sends their document to print, it is held in a queue until the employee scans their badge at the printer. Once the employee scans their badge, the document prints.

“Many vendors are not currently offering this solution. They either lack the expertise to implement the software properly, or they don’t understand the nuances of different ERM systems in the health care industry,” said Reed. UBEO has a team of specialists that are experts in the industry. This team assists in launching a ‘Follow Me’ printing strategy and acts as a continuous support team.

Standardization Saves Time and Money

When hospitals and health care systems don’t have a standardized printing strategy, departments are often left to purchase their own print devices. This leads to confusion between different areas of the hospital and takes up much time to manage the various drives.

“We see this all the time. We walk into a hospital and notice upward of 80 different devices. All with thousands of dollars’ worth of cartridges,” said Reed. “While this scenario is common, it should not be the norm.”

By having one printing system, administrators can ensure that all printing is done cost-effectively. UBEO’s fleet of printers allows administrators to set black and white or double-sided by default.

Besides saving money on resources, a standardized printing and documentation process can ensure that payments for services rendered are being received quicker. According to a study by Gartner, a global research and advisory firm, 3% to 5% of controllable expenses are tied up in printing. This number is likely even higher in the health care industry because of the amount of paperwork involved in patient care.

Business documents can be digital, paper-based or sometimes a marriage of the two. Sometimes, preferences between digital and paper documents vary across a health system. Ensuring that all materials – print or digital – can be found within the same ERM is crucial for saving time and providing a better patient experience. The efficiency in which documents are added into a system also can lead to better cash flow.

UBEO’s technology provides solutions for standardizing these processes. “Whether it be a digital intake form or written patient notes that need to be scanned and uploaded to a patient file, we have the technology to make that integration seamless,” said Reed. “We conduct an assessment of work-flow to show hospitals where they need to make improvements and how we can make those adjustments.”

Hiring a vendor that focuses solely on printers can help bring a hospital or health system’s paper documents into the 21st century. The shift to a new and improved system will not only help save time and money but also ensure that even paper documents are HIPAA compliant.

This sponsored section is underwritten by THA Member Solutions. UBEO has been endorsed by the Texas Hospital Association since 2020. For more information, visit www.ubeo.com.