Implementing MPS in Healthcare Organizations – What You Should Know

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When it comes to reducing costs and improving efficiency, it’s only a matter of time before a healthcare organization turns its attention to printing expenses and print operations. Considering that nearly every office on every floor must have the capability to print documents, the number of printing devices in a multi-building enterprise organization may easily number in the thousands. 

By switching to managed print services (MPS), an enterprise healthcare organization can save millions of dollars and bring traceability, predictability, and control to its print operation.

A successful MPS implementation requires careful planning, a lot of communication and coordination, and artful change management. In this article, we’ll explore some of the key steps that lead to a smooth implementation – as well as the most common challenges that can cause friction and delays.

(NOTE: While this article focuses on healthcare organizations, any enterprise organization implementing managed print services can benefit from most of the tips offered here.)

The Tendency to Underestimate

Managers and organization leaders often underestimate the resources and labor it takes to have a successful implementation. They underestimate the change management and communication strategy it takes to get the staff aware of the changes coming. They underestimate the burden such an implementation puts on IT. They underestimate the degree of resistance to change users may manifest. 

Any implementation must start with a sober, realistic evaluation of effort. That is one of the many reasons Flex Technology Group projects start with a thorough assessment of the existing print operation.

Key Elements of a Successful MPS Implementation

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Assessment

A full assessment of the print operation is essential. This allows the team to project a realistic timeline and sets expectations of the size of the team that will be needed for the job.

It is vital that all hidden devices (printing equipment on premises that wasn’t accounted for in the initial inventory) are discovered and accounted for. A successful MPS implementation starts with a detailed and accurate inventory of devices, types, brands and models of devices – as well as full details on their leases and lease terms.

Location Remarks and Delivery Requirements

Especially in healthcare, location remarks are paramount.  Toner are often delivered to distribution centers and then get couriered out. Rather than focus on the main address, such remarks should list internal naming conventions which will be easily understood by the hospital staff. How exactly will that toner cartridge get to that specific user, that specific device? Third floor, Suite 302 can apply to over 50 locations in a multi-building organization. Location remarks must be complete and precise for toner delivery and distribution to work.

If the toner delivery person requires special access, or contact with a particular manager, additional instructions should be carefully added to the location remarks.

Access to Devices

Throughout the MPS implementation, the managed print implementation team will need to install drivers, update software and install new printer management software. If the devices have print servers, software updates and driver installs can be done from a central location. For those printers that do not, mapping the devices and installing drivers can be an onerous process. In some locations, the MPS provider team may not have the required physical access to these devices. To avoid costly delays, arrangements should be made ahead of time.

Synchronization and Alignment 

Any healthcare organization’s IT team is constantly working on updating/upgrading internal software, implementing new systems and rolling out new solutions. Left unchecked, this can conflict with the MPS implementation and cause disruption and delays. Tight coordination between teams is required. The internal IT team and MPS team should work together to time their work. 

Conceiving an implementation schedule, prioritizing buildings in a sequence, and designating IT freezes for the buildings undergoing MPS implementation allows for a stable software environment, and eliminates work crew overlaps. To use an analogy, think of the plumbers and the electrical team and the sheetrock crew during home construction. Aligning their work in a logical sequence creates maximum efficiency and helps all teams work in harmony.

Speaking of scheduling, any Holidays or work lapses, any atypical work schedules – general, regional or specific should be accounted for. Sometimes different hospitals operate on different holiday calendars. If a particular building, team, manager, or key liaison point will be absent on any given day, this should be noted and factored into the implementation calendar. Work can come to a standstill by one single manager who can only be contacted between 9 am and 11 am on a Wednesday.

Understanding the Burden to the IT Team

The IT team has reason to welcome the MPS team with open arms: this team will see the benefits of a managed print services implementation in the most tangible way, as they go from a morass of disparate systems, a confusing number of contracts and print management interfaces to one simple, consolidated control dashboard, one contract, one system to manage. 

That said, the IT team will be working the hardest during implementation. Labor demand on this team will be intense at times. Furthermore, the IT team already has an existing scope and work load. Executives should bolster the IT team with additional personnel during an MPS implementation. This will allow key IT managers to focus on the managed print services implementation – to be available for strategic coordination and strategic decision-making – while temps and contractors help the IT team keep all their regular projects going. 

Software updates and driver installs: Depending on project scope, it’ll be up to the internal IT team to update printer software and install drivers as needed.

Printers without print servers: Printers that require individual software updates can add labor and delays, due to factors such as device access, dedicated staff scheduling and other logistics to the project.

Hidden Devices: Our implementation team often finds hundreds, if not thousands, of devices that were not accounted for in the original customer inventory. Printers that are not networked, devices hidden under a desk. Getting a proper count can allow for accurately measuring the scope of the project.

Understanding the Impact to The Users

The users are busy with their daily work routines. They are likely to disregard IT notices, to tune out notifications about an implementation. Imagine yourself as a nurse, dealing with a million tasks and managing thousands of priorities, suddenly confronted with the reality that the printer you rely on has been replaced with a new machine, and you have no idea how to use it. Such disruptive moments can, and should, be avoided. 

By deploying an effective communications protocol, users can be aware that change is coming, and ready for it. When done properly, such a change is met with enthusiasm and excitement.

Clear and Continuous Communication

Transparency throughout the change process is vital. Regular updates, clear explanations of the benefits, and addressing concerns proactively can foster trust and buy-in. Communication need to happen through various channels. It’s not enough to send a few mass emails. 

Trickle-down communications

Brief each team leader through leader-specific emails –  and require them all to brief their teams verbally, multiple times, at weekly meetings. 

Interactive communications

Interactive communications are also an effective tool. Better than sending a notification, send a mandatory questionnaire asking them about their printing devices and printing protocols, and insert your message within the interactive form. 

Signage

Consider posting signage above all print devices with a notification telling the users their print operation is being reconfigured, and this may mean changes in devices, in protocols and it is very likely to impact their daily routines.

Don’t be afraid to over-communicate. Saturation is better than surprise. The goal is for all personnel to be fully aware that change is coming. 

User Training

Showing users how to manage new devices and new systems can prove challenging with multiple shifts. This can be mitigated by working with key users, distributing “training one-pagers” that describe the main functions and common workflows, and providing short training videos through the Intranet. 

Key Strategies for Smooth Change Implementation

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Adopt a Structured Change Management Approach: Using frameworks like ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement) can provide a structured approach to managing change. Setting clear goals, timelines, and responsibilities helps in keeping the process on track.

Comprehensive Training and Support: Before rolling out new software or equipment, it’s essential to provide thorough training tailored to different user needs. Post-implementation support, like help desks or peer champions, can assist in smoothing the transition and maintaining morale.

Monitor, Evaluate, and Adapt: Continuous monitoring and evaluation allow for identifying issues as they arise. Soliciting feedback and being willing to make adjustments ensures the change process remains aligned with organizational goals and employee needs.

Understanding the Challenges of Change Management

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Resistance to Change: One of the most formidable challenges in change management is overcoming the resistance of employees. This resistance often stems from fear of the unknown, dislike of uncertainty, or simply the comfort of routine.

Lack of Effective Communication: Effective communication is the bedrock of successful change management. A failure to communicate the vision, benefits, and the “why” behind the change can lead to misunderstandings, rumors, and a lack of buy-in from stakeholders. Users often don’t understand their role in the implementation or the benefit this change brings to them. Once you explain how their work routine becomes easier, or the benefits to the organization, users are much happier and willing to help.

Inadequate Training and Support: Implementing new software or equipment requires training and ongoing support. Without this, employees may feel ill-equipped to use the new devices effectively, leading to frustration – and decreased productivity and morale.

Is All of This Worth It?

Reading all this, an executive may wonder, is it worth it? Yes, it is. Here’s why:

The Old System is Broken

Time after time, we find hundreds if not thousands of devices upper management did not know existed. We find multiple complex contracts and leasing arrangements that can be greatly simplified and consolidated. We find millions of dollars in waste. We find inefficient toner replacement and distribution processes. 

Better. Simpler, Easier

If the MPS implementation is done right, you can expect better SLAs. Healthcare print operations are often broken up into many partners, many different contracts. With FlexTG, you can simplify it all to one point of contact, one control dashboard, one contract, one support team ready to assist you as needed. 

FlexTG offers experienced professionals that help guide you on making informed decisions about your print environment that drive cost savings, efficiencies, and understandable billing to meet your needs. 

Imagine you currently have 2,000 leased devices – each with a different date. We may do a lease per entity; we may do some buyout to keep. We can take on that burden for you, and make sure they all get returned as the leases expire. We can restructure under ONE master lease, much easier to track.

IT Will Love It

The greatest benefit of a managed print services implementation is to the internal IT team.

They will see a lot less complaints, a lot less service tickets. Plus, since our team takes care of all the service tickets, the internal IT team deals with a lot less hassle. We take care of it, so IT can take care of all the other projects they have on their plate. 

The Happy Ever After

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People resist change. Change can feel chaotic and disruptive. There are many ways an implementation can be bogged down with scope creep, delays, and confusion. That’s why an enterprise organization considering managed print services should consider all the points in this article.

With good planning and artful execution, an MPS implementation can move smoothly, from location after location, until the entire print operation under one control dashboard, all toner replacements are on a schedule, costs are fully trackable and everything is much easier to manage. We can even provide a new ticketing system to support any service calls, with our army of local expert FlexTG technicians ready to respond promptly to any service call. 

Once implementation is done, users will love the easier processes and the reliable toner distribution protocols; IT will love the simplified management processes, and the C-Suite will love the annual savings.