Managed Print Services (MPS) is a concept that has been around for a long time and has many different definitions and even more approaches. At its very core, Managed Print Services is about controlling costs, providing transparency to utilization, and supporting the technical print environment. With that said there are many misconceptions when it comes to Managed Print Services overall and especially within healthcare.
The healthcare environment is quite unique and provides challenges to many of the core concepts of managed print. This industry is a 24 x 7 operation and therefore cannot be managed or evaluated by using metrics from other industries. This challenge is compounded by the critical nature that print plays within a healthcare delivery process, the disjointed nature of print ownership in healthcare, and the fact that the sheer number of applications utilized within a single healthcare organization can wreak havoc on a print environment’s requirements. All these factors mean it is imperative to identify the anomalies, acknowledge their existence, and use different methodologies for overcoming them to fully achieve the benefit of Managed Print Services in healthcare.
3 Misconceptions About Managed Print Services
There are three major misconceptions about Managed Print Services that healthcare can address by utilizing less traditional methods, allowing organizations to exceed the benefits traditionally realized in healthcare entities.
1. All Programs are the Same
“If you have tried one program you have tried them all.” I cannot begin to count how many times I have heard this from my peers in healthcare, and every time it amazes me. It is surprising how most organizations have very different programs, and most are equally broken. Most programs only cover certain devices within an organization — either by the manufacturer, class of device (printer vs. copier), whether the device is networked or not, or by location. The most disappointing part of looking at MPS programs are seeing that the shared aspects across different programs are detrimental, not beneficial. For example, most programs do not provide a single point of support for the end-users, the service levels are not aligned with healthcare (most use dispatch staff with two- to four-hour SLAs not reflective of a healthcare environment), and most, unfortunately, cannot provide full visibility to utilization and cost since the program is not all-inclusive.
To easily identify a difference between programs just look at the incentive that drives the service provider. Are they interested in selling more devices, are they looking at selling more software-based applications, or is their goal just simply to move more toner? Incentive drives behavior and determines the benefits the program can deliver to the client.
2. Print is on the Decline Now with EHRs
This misconception is a very close second, maybe even tied for first. This is based on a natural assumption that the implementation of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) should have had a significant impact on overall utilization. According to studies done by logicalis.com, healthcare has seen an 11 percent increase in overall volume post-EHR. Additionally, according to Print Audit, healthcare has seen a 118 percent increase in average pages per day per user in the last year. Printing is on the rise, costs are increasing, and most organizations are not even aware of it, which is typically the responsibility of their MPS partner.
What kind of visibility to utilization does the program provide? Is that data actionable to effect a positive change in utilization? Do you have transparent views of all costs associated with print and alignment of these costs with your utilization?
3. My MPS Program has the Security and Confidentiality of the Devices and Data Covered
This is a more recent misconception and may be one of the largest. While the level of interest in security for printers and printed documents is relatively new, it is increasing and needs to increase even more. A big problem is most organizations think that either the MPS partner or their IT department, or some combination of those two, has this fully covered. The data tells us otherwise:
– 61 percent of organizations reported at least a single print-related data breach in the past year. Quocirca, “Managed Print Services Landscape, 2016” quocirca.com/content/managed-print-services-landscape-2016, July 2016.
– 43 percent of companies ignore printers in their endpoint security practices. Spiceworks survey of 309 IT decision-makers in North America, EMEA, and APAC, on behalf of HP, November 2016
– 21 percent of all breaches impacting over 500 individuals or more are the result of paper. Office for Civil Rights, September 2016
Organizations are reporting print-related data breaches and companies are ignoring printers in their plans, resulting in paper causing a significant percentage of breaches.
After identifying three of the most common misconceptions related to Managed Print Services the question is: What can organizations do to address it? To sum it up in one word that addresses all three of these misconceptions, the answer is volume! All MPS efforts should start with and concentrate on reducing volume. This single driver, when focused on and driven down, will allow any organization to make traction in their MPS Program.
Focusing on volume means putting processes, systems, or programs in place to provide full visibility to everything that is print. Make sure it includes printers, copiers, scanners, and faxes. Organizations should evaluate current or potential MPS partners to determine how they can help accomplish volume reduction.
Once you have visibility the next step is to identify methods to decrease the volume. Accomplishing a decrease in volume means fewer devices are needed to produce less paper. Fewer devices mean less risk per device or a smaller threat landscape. Less volume also means less data being printed, which means less risk of a breach associated with paper. This will allow healthcare to concentrate on securing a smaller fleet and further protecting data.
Volume is the key and not all MPS programs focus on volume and volume reduction. Healthcare is a complex and unique environment and the business processes and technology architectures deployed within healthcare organizations mandate that an MPS partner have a deep understanding of these to drive volume reduction so choose carefully who you entrust to drive your program.
Sean Hughes is the EVP of Managed Print Services at CynergisTek, a cybersecurity and information management consulting firm dedicated to serving the healthcare industry. Hughes has over 25 years of experience in healthcare delivery systems and specializes in developing highly efficient, cost-effective services, including managed print. His understanding of the business needs and challenges of today’s healthcare organizations, coupled with his extensive experience, contributes toCynergisTek’s reputation as a leader in healthcare cybersecurity and information management. Follow him on Twitter at @seanauxops.