6 questions health IT leaders should ask
July 26, 2015 in Medical Technology
In the past, IT was often viewed as a cost center. But today’s healthcare IT professionals are business-savvy executives responsible for bottom-line results. They are important members of the corporate management team, tasked with improving productivity and efficiency. However, many IT leaders may be surprised to find a significant business loss caused by their own departments.
For example, a healthcare organization with 500 employees can potentially recover more than $100k per year by asking six key questions and making simple changes that often require zero development costs. They’re easy fixes that many IT professionals may be overlooking.
How does your company compare? Run through these questions and find out.
1. Approximately what percentage of your workflow is paperless?
A self-assessment tool users offered by Brother International Corporation has shown that paper is still critical to business operations in most industries. On average, only 36 percent of respondents are utilizing paperless workflow. While paper will likely never go away entirely, healthcare organizations can utilize technology to help reduce the paper, increase efficiency and minimize printing-related costs.
To potentially do this, consider adopting electronic document capture and sharing, enabling mobile-based printing and scanning, leveraging cloud-based services and moving to sustainable/“green” printing.
2. Do you currently utilize output management software to help secure, redirect or track print jobs in your office?
Output management software can help control costs and reduce paper usage, yet data collected from the self-assessment tool shows that only 19 percent of businesses are making use of these valuable tools. An InfoTrends whitepaper titled “Device Underuse and Unbalanced Fleets” reports that organizations can maximize cost savings and productivity through print management/cost recovery solutions to automate a range of print, copy, and scan tasks, including activity tracking, cost allocation, quota setting/enforcement, secure printing, job redirect and reporting.
Healthcare-specific solutions are also available. For example, organizations can deploy software that securely integrates printers with electronic medical records or claims management systems, enabling jobs to be properly transmitted to the appropriate repositories.
3. How many pages does your organization print per month?
InfoTrends research shows a steady decline in printing, which can be attributed to a number of factors. Many healthcare employees choose to work from smartphones and tablets rather than from printed documents. Most print jobs are now five pages or fewer, and the decline in print volumes will persist as more operations move from paper to digital. This knowledge can translate into big savings for your organization.
Here’s a trick to aid in improving your bottom line: Many multifunction printers are capable of printing at least 100,000 pages per month. However, many SMBs typically print no more than 10,000 pages per month. For organizations committed to a common 100,000-page per month contract, this 90 percent underuse wastes valuable capital. Determine your total print volume, recalibrate to match the needs and help curb the monthly losses.
4. Which best describes your current document output environment?
A) Printers for Every Desktop, B) Mix of desktop printers, shared printers and standalone copiers, C) Primarily a shared standalone printer / copier? The ideal solution is a mix of desktop printers, shared printers and standalone copiers. Current self-assessment results show that 18 percent of companies provide a printer for each employee and 25 percent have a mix. However more than half (57 percent) rely on a shared standalone printer / copier – a strategy that may kill productivity and hurt the bottom line.
5. What is the approximate number of printers and printer/copiers in use at your organization?
To optimize productivity, maintain a worker-to-device ratio of approximately 8-1. A survey conducted by Clarus Research Group reveals that workers with more shared printers are also more digitally engaged. A greater number of these respondents say their companies encourage the use of digital documents, use multiple screens, find reading on screen easier, use more mobile devices than they used to and are more environmentally conscious. Those that have centralized printers are more than two times more likely to say their company printers take too long to finish printing jobs.
But just adding more printers won’t solve your challenges. This leads to question 6…
6. Estimate the average distance an employee needs to walk to use a standalone printer/copier.
Printer placement is the most critical step in maximizing your cost savings. InfoTrends data shows that poor allocation of office devices is a drain to corporate profits, wasting more than 4,000 hours and nearly $130,000 per year in long walks to and from copiers and printers. The solution? It’s simple – Make sure you have one printer within 25 feet of every workgroup.
The Clarus surveyshows that trips to the printer can also be a significant drain on productivity. Non-work conversations at the printer are 98 percent more likely to result in stops to chat with other colleagues about personal things, but only 28 percent more likely to chat about work. In fact, 61 percent of employees have conversations at the copier/printer versus just 31 percent who have conversations at the water cooler. This wasted time could be costly to healthcare institutions. As the technology manager, you can easily mitigate these business losses with more appropriate device allocation.
Many IT leaders overlook office devices when optimizing for cost and efficiency. If your company is like most, your printers may be too big, too far away and too expensive. A balanced deployment strategy the results in right-sizing your printer fleet can help you save time and money, and it’s surprisingly easy.