Computers Business Electronics Using Advanced Print Spooler to Solve Unplanned Downtime Challenge

by Nicole Summerfield - Date: 2007-03-07 - Word Count: 729 Share This!

The customer associated with this case study is a large Midwestern Health Care Provider comprised of a network of 8 healthcare facilities, 15 affiliates and a 200-member primary care physician network. This health care provider operates in multiple states and provides services to more than 1.5 million people in the communities it serves.

Business Problem - A centralized patient information system from IDX, running on a Tandem system, provides online access to patient care orders, medication information, dietary needs etc. for the patient care providers at multiple facilities.

If a system or network problem occurs, access to the online system may not be possible. In this circumstance, care providers would not be able to maintain the standard of care required for their patients. These outages, although infrequent, necessitated a solution to maintain desired levels of patient care.

Key Technical Challenge - Access to patient information is very critical to continued patient care. A solution is required that allows health care providers uninterrupted access to the patient care information, even if the network or central online system is down. Alternatives to provide this level of fail-safe access were evaluated and found to be either architecturally unfeasible or too expensive

The documents, with data no more than four (4) hours old, that need to be viewable even in a system or network down condition include: Physician Routing Medication Administration Guide Current Active Orders Profile Ancillary Worksheets Cardiology Dietary Physical Therapy Respiratory

Technical Environment Centralized Patient Information system from IDX running on a Tandem system Remote facilities accessing the IDX system via WAN

Technical Solution

Plus Technologies implemented a document auto archive and retrieval system based on OM Plus Server advanced print spooler software. The central site has an OM Plus server running as does each remote site (see diagram).

The IDX system was setup to print the critical documents to "virtual" OM Plus printers every 4 hours. No other changes were needed to the IDX patient information system.

The central OM Plus server recognizes the document type and adds unit number and document type information to the document's title to make future lookup of the document quick and intuitive. Then, the document is routed to the appropriate remote facility's OM Plus server where it is archived for 48 hours.

Medical staff personnel can search for and retrieve any critical document at the remote site, even if the network is down. Documents can be printed on the local network printers or on the remote OM Plus server's parallel-attached printer if the remote location's network is down.


Installing, configuring and testing were completed in a matter of a few days. Plus Technologies engineers were on-site to assist the customer with installation of the additional OM Plus software at the remote locations and to provide configuration assistance with the setup of archive document recognition and the associated routing to the remote systems.

Other Features The customer had previously installed OM Plus in their Central location and gained access to all the other features of OM Plus designed to help them control and manage their enterprise wide print jobs and printers. These features streamline operations and reduce costs related to administration and support and include: Allows central control and monitoring of the status of printer devices and jobs across the entire organization from a single status screen improving help desk productivity. Provides a central print management system regardless of what type of system created the document (mainframe, UNIX, Windows, Tandem, etc.) reducing cost and complexity of enterprise print architecture Ensures delivery of output to its final destination in the correct format. Greatly reduce help desk calls and maximizes printer availability.

Results Economical, fail-safe system available to continue patient care even if the online system is unavailable Patient Care standards not compromised during system/network downtime Leverage of existing investment in OM Plus to manage enterprise-wide production document

Customer Quote

"Your engineer was a tremendous help to us during the weekend we installed the Unplanned Downtime Solution. After getting the archive solution installed and running, he provided the necessary support ... Again, thanks to your engineer's added support, we had an uneventful go-live."

-Director, Information Technology

Plus Technologies Case Studies

The Plus Technologies case studies series includes real examples of how companies use Advanced Spooling Solutions to streamline operations, reduce cost and/or add functionality to existing business processes. For more information on these case studies, contact Plus Technologies.

Related Tags: print spooler, output management, print spooler service, windows print, unix print, output & document management, document delivery services, output manageme

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