Smart printing: the centuries old technology helping healthcare professionals

Written by Jerry Mead, Managing Director, Mead & Co 

There’s no doubt that 2020 was a difficult and testing year for healthcare institutions across the globe, and the beginnings of 2021 have been just as challenging. But the vaccine roll out is in full swing, and there is a glimmer of hope starting to emerge.

The level of scientific and technological advancement, and its speed of development, we have witnessed in the last twelve months has been truly astonishing. However, it’s the technology created decades ago that has played a significant role in combating operational efficiencies and drastically reducing administrative hours.  Whilst we may not think it, the humble printer has been crucial in giving back valuable time to nurses and doctors.

Two years ago it was estimated that the National Health Service in Britain printed enough sheets of paper to go around the world 174 times, and I can only imagine that this number would have been significantly higher this year.  And although advancement in tech has meant that patients records can be available digitally, the transferability, reliability and physical nature of a printed patient record is invaluable.

The ability to continually optimise and expand processes to ensure a better service is central to the healthcare industry, and over the years technology has largely assisted in that as well as improving patient care. During the global pandemic, where hospitals have been busier and fuller than before, having smarter printing processes that are quick, simple and are correct every time from any device have been critical.

Making printing easier, quicker and more reliable has meant that doctors and nurses now have the time to spend with their patients, rather than on resource and time intensive administrative tasks.

In recent months, 3D printing for the healthcare industry has been thrusted into the spotlight, with the latest technology assisting in producing visors for medical teams working with COVID positive patients. And while this new advancement in printing has been crucial, it is the simple paper and ink style of printing that has been essential to identifying patients, administrating the correct medical care and keeping everyone safe.


How paper and ink is keeping the healthcare sector safe

Using a printing system that is capable of supplying patient wristbands, staff ID badges and visitors logs from anywhere within the hospital on any device is invaluable. Healthcare staff have the capability to track every individual inside the building at any one time, ensure they are in the correct location and only have access to the areas and services they need. The healthcare industry relies on enhanced and full proof security measures to build trust with patients.

In an evolving healthcare landscape, keeping on top of new innovations is vital to any hospital’s survival. But to thrive, it’s more important than ever before to make patients and staff safety a top priority across the organisation.


Old tech, new tricks

Whilst the healthcare sector has been at the heart of our country since the pandemic began, there is no doubt that the technology being used does not match up to that being used in other industries – for example in the finance and manufacturing industries.  But that does not mean to say the tech that is in place can’t learn new tricks and align itself with more modern practices.

By downloading added coding to printing programmes and internet browsers, the capability of aligning documents to all have the same format, fonts, borders, and printing areas is readily available no matter what version of operating system the device is using.

Standardisation of documents may, to some of us, seem a given when using up-to-date technology. But there is truly nothing more frustrating than a document printing incorrectly, particularly when its standardisation and function can be so important to giving back wasted administrative time to healthcare individuals.