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Epic Hyperspace Printing Tips that Reduce Cost and Maintenance

Author: Kerry Barker, RN BSN – Consulting Clinical Analyst, Sherry Lamb – Clinical Analyst II

Save time and money by setting up Epic Hyperspace Local Printing/Virtual Local Printing (HLP/VLP)

Want to save time and money at your Epic facility?  How you set up your printers is a way to help reduce costs and reduce maintenance.

Traditionally, printing in Epic is handled by a standard server-side printer setup and can be time consuming to set up each printer and to maintain if there is an issue. However, virtual local printing through Epic Hyperspace can help reduce both your build and maintenance times.

Setup virtual local printing for patient labels, armbands and plain paper

We recently went live with a new hospital where we set up the facility for Hyperspace Local Printing/Virtual Local Printing (HLP/VLP). Here’s the recap of how we helped them with printing:

  • We set up all of our patient labels, armbands, and plain paper to print with VLP.
  • While you can set up VLP to work with Order Transmittal, we opted not to update our existing build for Order Transmittal for printing prescriptions, lab labels, and OR specimen labels; instead, those items continue to use server-side printing.
  • We installed separate prescription printers apart from our multi-tray printers. By keeping them separate, we reduced server-side build.
  • During our technical dress rehearsal (TDR) our analysts selected which printer was the default for each HLP/VLP paper type for the PC that they were testing.

Limit traditional server-side printing to reduce possible impact to patient care

For traditional server-side printing, multiple files need to be created and maintained (printer device files and workstation files). While printer device master files and workstation files are only built once per printer tray, they need to be built on each print server your facility uses.

Here’s where server-side printing gets time consuming: if you have a printer with 4 trays (for different paper types) and if you have 4 print servers, this build needs to be done 16 times (4 trays times 4 print servers). If this printer goes down for any reason, end-users in that area will not be able to print which could result in issues that affect patient care. Your support team would need to reroute printing on their PCs to another IP address until a repair could be made.

Benefits of using virtual local printing

VLP offers several time-savers. For example, you no longer need to build printer device files or workstation files. You don’t have to set up the printer on the print server, because Hyperspace uses local printing and maps a printer tray to a paper type. VLP creates a PDF of your print job and sends it out of Epic to your printer based on the paper type for that job.

During your Technical Dress Rehearsal, your testers can select a default printer which is near that workstation. The end-user can change to another printer, if desired. This is important, because if a printer goes down, the user can simply select a new printer to use until the existing printer is fixed.

Bottom line: VLP significantly reduces build time, reduces maintenance, and increases flexibility for end users.

Tips for setting up VLP

We ran into a few challenges while setting up VLP but with a little extra testing we learned a few workarounds:

  • Printing for each paper type. The facility had Xerox printers and the Xerox print drivers we identified within Epic and on the print servers weren’t working correctly. Once we changed to HP universal print drivers, we were able to print each paper type.
  • Auto-printing. Auto-printing our nightly census was something we had to create a workaround for but Epic has since come out with a release that addresses the issue.

We can help you with Epic

Virtual Local Printing was a great solution for our new facility. Since we did not need a significant server-side build, we reduced the time and cost for setting up printers. Plus, the technical team has been very happy with this setup because it has definitely reduced printing issues and maintenance.

We highly recommend you use the Epic Hyperspace Local Printing/Virtual Local Printing feature in your facilities. This is one way we can help your facility reduce printing problems for caregivers and relieve your IT team from time consuming printer maintenance. Our team of Epic experts are ready to help you improve printing and get the most out of your investment in Epic.

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