When you think of hospital and clinic expenditures, your mind probably goes towards expensive equipment and high doctor salaries. But the truth is, administrative supplies make up a huge portion of healthcare budgets. In fact, an average 1500-bed hospital can spend about $3.8 million per year on printing costs.
With printing costs in the millions, this often overlooked area of spending is ripe for savings. Managed print services for healthcare can be the first step toward lowering those numbers, but P3 Cost Analysts can come in after that and help you increase your monthly savings even more.
Healthcare Managed Print Services
Printing management for healthcare is the process of an organization working to streamline healthcare printing, lower average costs, and create a more secure and efficient printing process by creating a cohesive network and centralized printing fleet.
This process can be a massive undertaking for large organizations like hospitals or health clinics. For this reason, many of these institutions turn towards working with a managed print services (MPS) provider. These third-party companies have the knowledge, expertise, and tools to optimize printing solutions from the ground up and create a systematic approach to setting up a printing network. While one of the main goals is to lower costs, there are many other benefits as well.
Challenges In Healthcare Printing
Print management for any business comes with challenges. However, due to both the size and importance of healthcare institutions, these organizations face additional challenges that others don’t have to consider. Some particular issues that these institutions face include:
- Digitization: Gone are the days when all patient files were stored in hard copy folders. While printing is still a huge part of healthcare organizations, they also need to have digitization implemented into their printing services. Staff must be able to digitize and distribute records in an efficient manner. Devices must also be able to seamlessly integrate with electronic medical records software.
- Privacy: Privacy in healthcare printing is paramount due to patient privacy laws. Large organizations with multiple printing locations may struggle to maintain proper privacy procedures.
- Security: When considering patient privacy, it’s not just confidential materials lying around in printing trays that can be a risk to printing network security. Healthcare organizations must also protect this data when it’s on the network.
- Multiple sites: Organizations often have multiple sites, making managing the printer fleet much more difficult for IT. Staff members may also be mobile between these locations and must be able to have access to printing regardless of where they are.
- Downtime: Both administrative duties and patient care can be slowed down by printer downtime. This can especially be an issue during emergencies, when downtime may interfere with essential transfers of sensitive information. In the most extreme instances, this can have a negative effect on patient outcomes.
What to Look For In Managed Print Services for Healthcare
Assuming the best option is managed print services for healthcare, deciding on an MPS company that understands these institutions’ special challenges is crucial. When shopping around for an MPS provider, healthcare administrators should focus on those that offer specific services in the following areas:
- HIPAA compliance: HIPAA is a federal law that requires organizations to be held up to a national standard of care that protects sensitive patient information. None of their patient records can be disclosed without their knowledge and consent. Make sure to consider what steps an MPS provider is taking to offer protection of a patient’s right to privacy.
- Tracking and reporting: To really save money in healthcare printing, organizations must continuously track, analyze, and report printer usage. This way, it’s easy to monitor efficiencies, minimize unauthorized printing, and predict future costs. Check what software a potential MPS provider uses and ask how they will turn data into savings.
- Maintenance: As we mentioned, server downtime can negatively affect patient outcomes and workflows. Because of these consequences, breakdowns are a significant concern for most healthcare institutions. Therefore, it’s crucial to confirm that an MPS company will provide maintenance and technical support in a timely manner.
- Electronic medical record software integration: For healthcare organizations, copiers must be able to seamlessly integrate with the electronic medical record (EMR) software they’re using. EMRs add even more complexity to printing management services. Data needs to flow in both directions so that staff can print secure documents from the EMR, and copiers should be able to upload digitized files to the system.
- Workflow organization: One of the aspects that increases printing costs the most in healthcare organizations is the decentralized printing environments. Look for an MPS company that can help create efficient and automated workflows that can be accessed from all departments and minimize reliance on locally connected devices.
- Secure print release: Another way to prevent issues with patient privacy is with secure print release. This prevents sensitive documents from sitting around on printing trays. With secure print release, staff can use their ID badges or PIN to pull projects from the printer once they’re present and ready. Make sure your potential MPS works with secure print release capable devices.
The Drawbacks of Working with MPS Providers
In general, MPS providers have a lot to offer healthcare institutions. By doing plenty of research while choosing an MPS company and then properly negotiating hospital print management contracts, a healthcare organization can tackle many of the leading printing challenges they face. However, there are a few downsides to working with a third-party MPS provider.
While an institution’s primary goal might be to lower costs, MPS providers are a business, and they’re looking to make money. As a result, they sometimes implement confusing pricing tactics. For example, they may offer pay-per programs that look beneficial but end up costing hospitals more money in the long run. In addition, these companies sometimes bundle unnecessary services so that hospitals and clinics end up paying for functions that don’t actually benefit them. Or, even worse, they may charge for services that should be included automatically.
In addition, healthcare organizations must continue monitoring their MPS providers to ensure they’re holding up their end of the bargain. Buyers are the ones that are required to audit invoices, uncover billing discrepancies, and ensure they’re getting the services that were negotiated in hospital print management contracts.
How Hospitals Can Reduce Managed Print Services Costs
Whether you’re a large hospital working with an MPS company or a small mom-and-pop clinic that works directly with a printing manufacturer, there is likely somewhere you can cut costs. Unfortunately, these money-saving areas can be difficult to locate if that’s not your area of expertise.
Working with a third-party like P3 Cost Analysts is the best way for healthcare organizations to ensure they’re saving as much money as possible in managed print services for healthcare without sacrificing the quality of medical care given. We can step in and help your hospital or clinic ensure you’re operating in the most cost-efficient manner. P3 can bring your healthcare organization tons of savings in different ways through an MPS audit.
- Optimize leasing agreements: With the lack of transparency in the industry, it can be challenging to decide which MPS provider or printing manufacturer to work with. Different pricing structures, confusing language, and complicated contracts make comparing multiple companies nearly impossible. P3 will help you understand the nuances of payment structures between companies and get the best pricing.
- Consolidate contracts: Having arrangements with multiple vendors across multiple departments in your organization makes it problematic to keep track of contracts. Healthcare institutions can reduce the amount of monthly administrative transactions in the printing department by cutting down to one vendor. Bundling services with one supplier can also save lots of money. However, getting out of legally binding contracts before they expire is difficult. P3 Cost Analysts can handle contract consolidation for you and address the many roadblocks that stand in the way.
- Ensure services: MPS providers sometimes don’t follow through on the services they’ve guaranteed within their contract. Healthcare organizations might not realize they’re being shorted or that they need to negotiate specific services in the first place. The industry benchmark is one full-time service provider per one million pages produced. P3 Cost Analysts will ensure that your provider delivers what they promise.
- Uncover billing errors: Once the contracts are wrapped up, it’s up to hospitals and clinics to continue auditing invoices for billing errors. This can be a full-time job with the amount of healthcare printing services necessary to run large organizations. P3 offers detailed reporting on every incoming invoice to highlight any errors or overcharges. We make it clear exactly how we’re saving you money.
How Much Can Hospitals Expect to Save?
Large hospitals can spend millions a year on printing services, and even small clinics must set aside a decent portion of their budget for healthcare printing. The good news is that P3 Cost Analysts can help you get those costs down as much as possible. On average, healthcare organizations can expect to save between 30 and 40 percent on print through a managed print audit. Plus, there are no upfront fees, so you can get control over managed print services for healthcare without spending a penny.
We will help you optimize your lease agreements, consolidate contracts, correct billing mistakes, and save your healthcare organization money on managed print expenses. If you’re ready to get your print solutions running more efficiently and cut costs, schedule a free expense audit with one of our print experts today.