by Raegen Pietrucha

Well, it’s official: Health care is forever changed. Don’t worry — this reference isn’t political. The changes I’m speaking of are with respect to all those forms, documents, records and other paper miscellany that accompany a visit to a doctor or hospital — or used to, anyway. I have to admit, I hadn’t even realized there was some amount of comfort for me associated with all those papers it took me eons to fill out, to be passed back and forth countless times during the course of my always lengthy visits with doctors and specialists — that is, until they disappeared, of course.

One doctor started typing on her computer, which had made its home in the examination room across from the sink, as I provided a detailed account of my 2012 medical history. How could she circumvent having to decipher all my chicken scratch (which, incidentally, would surely qualify me — at least on a surface level — for her profession)? “You can access your test results online and print them out at home using this link,” said another during a referral visit later that year. You mean I don’t even get official, autographed copies of terms I don’t understand from my doctors anymore? What is going on here?

And these aren’t the only changes taking place with respect to printing, files and technology — nor are such disruptions even limited to the health care space. But never fear; while processes in the health care vertical are evolving, this space still needs print and document solutions. In speaking to Carlos Lara, business development executive at TypeHaus, I learned even more about how the health care vertical is transforming — and what this particular company is doing to facilitate that.

Challenges in the health care vertical

Because of its relationships with OEMs, dealers and others, TypeHaus is able to keep a pulse on the evolving needs of a wide variety of businesses and create solutions tailored to each. TypeHaus has been serving the health care vertical in particular for more than 15 years, learning about the changes that many of us have later experienced firsthand taking place in it well before they started happening.

What are some of these changes occurring behind the scenes? There’s been a push to “examin(e) all areas of the information systems infrastructure for increasing productivity,” for one, Lara indicated, though it’s expensive and difficult to get health care information systems configured and working properly in the first place. Although it likely goes without saying, stable platforms are absolutely critical to this vertical’s success. Sadly, once health care providers get a stable platform established — such as an AS/400, Linux, Unix or AIX system that “provid(es) significant processing performance” — the problem becomes the fact that “these systems can tend toward limited flexibility in adapting to future requirements,” Lara said.

Some such requirements have already landed on health care providers’ doorsteps. Today, “health care institutions … (are facing) a quickly evolving environment related to document and print management … (as well as) pressures to … enhance their records  handling,” Lara said. This has led health care institutions to search for new document solutions, but they are “wisely cautious” about changing their very delicate information systems once established, he said. And even if they weren’t wary about tinkering around with their information systems, the unfortunate truth is that their typically dated infrastructures may not be able to keep up with today’s third-party software applications anyway.

So what would an ideal solution to this particular dilemma in the health care vertical look like? Well, it would modernize and optimize health care institutions in some way, for one. It would also be preconfigured and ready to run, eliminating any learning curve that typically comes part and parcel with a software solution, since health care providers need to focus on their core competencies first and foremost, not on learning unrelated programs. Most importantly, it couldn’t interfere with current — and extremely fragile — information systems.

TypeHaus to the rescue!

By developing external hardware, TypeHaus found the ideal solution for helping the health care vertical help patients like you and me more swiftly and efficiently. TypeHaus has created two easily plugged-in hardware devices that serve as sort of virtual printers to intercept print jobs before they reach the actual print device, then reformat and restructure the print data so that when the jobs do finally get printed, they appear in the form the customer requires.

Why two? “(Since) health care institutions vary by size and requirements, … (TypeHaus) solutions can range from a small device that attaches behind existing printers to a small form-factor server capable of managing the print jobs for a large collection of printers throughout the enterprise,” Lara said. In other words, each solution addresses the needs of a particular sized health care client.

The FormJet PRO is compatible with virtually all networked printers and monitors print jobs, performs any necessary document reformatting and enables customizable form overlays, which eliminates the need for preprinted forms and all the expenses associated with those. It also provides options for data mining and placement as well as barcode integration technology. The FormJet Enterprise for enterprise businesses has all the functionality of the other device but additionally enables PDF generation, archiving and distribution (e.g., emailing) capabilities from any variable data print stream.

These devices address many of the pain points affecting the health care vertical today. The FormJets can digitize check forms and federally mandated forms such as the UB04, CMS 1500 and other patient billing templates; this can be extremely useful when it comes to those pressures to enhance records handling, for one. The FormJet Enterprise in particular enables document capture and archiving, which allows for increased efficiencies. Perhaps the most exciting FormJet feature, though, is that of print-job reprocessing, in which data is extracted and reorganized from old print jobs to create new ones, such as wristbands and face sheets. “(Since) the health care vertical has seen a shift from embossed plastic cards for patient identification to barcoded wristbands,” a TypeHaus solution paired with “new media offerings (that) now allow health care institutions to print patient wristbands using standard laser printers” enable companies in this vertical not only to keep up with changes in its industry, but do so with either new print devices or equipment already in-