The Recipe for Making Managed Print Services (MPS) Work for You in Healthcare

Simon Vermooten, EVP, Auxilio
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Simon Vermooten, EVP, Auxilio

Managed Print Services (MPS) plays an instrumental role in the day-to-day operations of hospital efficiency. If performed correctly, MPS programs greatly reduce costs, remove print waste, improve workflows and mitigate risk of PHI.

A MPS program is a highly integrated and customizable approach that manages everything related to print – devices (printers, copiers, fax, thermal), break/fix, toner, invoicing, reporting, security and workflow improvements. Through a strategic MPS program, hospitals are able to cut costs up to 20-30 percent without impacting daily operations.

It’s hard to believe a 1,500-bed hospital system prints enough paper each month to reach the height of the tallest building in the world, BurjKhalifa in Dubai. The building stands 2,717 feet tall equaling 8 million pages. Many would think, with the implementation of EHR systems, paper should be a thing of the past and it’s simply not true. Experts suggest hospitals are experiencing up to 11 percent increase in annual print volume due to Meaningful Use and the adoption of (EMR/EHR) systems.

As the healthcare industry transitions from fee-for-service to a value-based care model, hospital leadership will be looking for ways to remove waste as reimbursements costs are cut. And now more than ever, implementing or upgrading an existing MPS program is recognized as a simple way to remove waste, enhance the flow of information, reallocate resources, and safeguard PHI.

Recipe for Success: 4 Must Haves

1. Assessing the Current State and Understanding the Total Cost of Ownership

Analyzing and understanding a hospital’s print environment is not a simple task. It takes time and expertise to inventory all devices, gather data on print volume, review current print processes and identify all the costs associated with print. There are always more devices on the hospital floor than what the needs of administrative and clinical staff warrant, tying up valuable capital that is needed elsewhere.

The goal of this exercise is to determine the cost per device, the cost per page and support cost resulting in the total cost of ownership – typically not completed in all MPS assessments. This process identifies areas of cost-savings and improvement in efficiency.

Establishing a current state baseline helps measure the effectiveness of the MPS program.

  ‚ÄčOver the years, MPS programs have been commoditized as hospitals turn to RFP’s without defining the goals and objectives of a MPS program beyond pricing for devices and service   

2. Understanding Why Your Hospital Prints

Between administrative paperwork, test results, physician communication, patient documentation, patient statements, etc., printed documents are not a thing of the past.

Understanding why documents are printed is the first step in uncovering workflow improvement opportunities. A value-add service of MPS providers, is the ability to move paper processes that can easily be transferred to a simplified and streamlined digital workflow.

Administrative and clinical staff efficiency is greatly impacted as they over compensate for poor document workflows. For example, nearly 8-12 percent of a hospital’s print volume is from faxes. Staff spends time sending and receiving, and inputting and exporting fax information that can easily become a digital workflow.

Some MPS providers have the expertise needed to review workflows, gather data and analyze the details to uncover opportunities to remove waste and improve efficiency. Often this is accomplished through implementing software solutions at a low cost-to-high-value ratio. Workflow improvement is often talked about but rarely implemented.

3. Driving the Initiative

Over the years, MPS programs have been commoditized as hospitals turn to RFP’s without defining the goals and objectives of a MPS program beyond pricing for devices and service. A MPS program RFP needs to include a roadmap that identifies volume, cost, and device reductions along with an implementation plan, as most MPS programs fail due to poor implementation.

The solution is for the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to be instrumental in creating and maintaining a MPS program. Print devices should fall under the responsibility of IT and a MPS program should be integrated into the IT department rather than Supply Chain, the most common structure today.

Without IT’s involvement and an integrated MPS approach hospitals experience a few key challenges, including:

• Too many devices and brands
• Lack of transparency into what is printed by department and user
• High print related costs–if known
• Too much time spent on print related processes
• Insufficient knowledge on how to transform document information to digital workflows
• Lack of security at the user and network level

4. Safeguarding PHI

The challenge facing CIOs is how to protect PHI and remain HIPAA compliant according to the HIPAA Privacy Rule, with hundreds of devices to manage.

Typically, securing PHI at the printer (user) and network level are not included in the SLA of a MPS program and the management of securing these devices are left to the overburdened security team.

3 Important Questions to Ask Your Internal Team:

1. How vulnerable are my print devices?
2. Who is managing these devices?
3. What steps or solutions are in place to mitigate the risk of PHI exposure?

If the answers to these questions are concerning, connect with a MPS provider who is making security a priority and part of the overall program. Aspects of security to consider are:

1. Print/User-Level Security – technology built-in or installed on the device ensuring PHI ends up with its intended owner.
2. Networked Print Device Security – service to remediate and maintain highly configurable devices to ensure they are up-to-date.
3. Hardware Security – service to track, remove or destroy PHI stored on devices.

These four must-haves are the key ingredients for success.

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