PrinterLogic’s healthcare customers value our serverless printing solution for the secure, unified print management that it provides. We help tame the complexity of conducting general office printing alongside EHR/EMR solutions, which almost always come with their own print infrastructure and framework.
As part of our efforts to make that day-to-day experience even better for clinicians, nurses, doctors, and receptionists while reducing the load on IT admins, we’ve been developing functionality that will better manage back-end Cerner electronic health record (EHR) printing and output.
The newest addition to that functionality is our LPD Service. It’s a modest name with big impacts on convenience and ease of use—especially in healthcare settings that use Cerner EHR software.
What Is LPD and How Does It Work?
The line printer daemon (LPD) is part of a standard software protocol that allows networked computers to submit print jobs to printers on the same network. You might have even seen it as an option when you’re installing a conventional printer on your home PC. The LPD is the middleman responsible for relaying print jobs to the network printer.
In PrinterLogic, our LPD Service works by identifying a service client computer in the network that’s already running the standard PrinterLogic client agent. The LPD Service runs in the background and listens for compatible print jobs.
Once the LPD Service has been enabled by an admin, it can receive LPD print traffic and extract information from the print job’s bundled metadata. That info reveals who printed the job, which printer it’s targeting as well as details like finishing options (e.g., duplex, B/W, output tray) and secure release settings. Based on that metadata, the print job will be routed to the correct printer, including off-network printers, and held for release if requested.
The same metadata is also used for PrinterLogic’s reporting functionality. Details like the initiating user, destination printer, timestamp, and filename are collected and uploaded to the PrinterLogic Admin Console.
Some extra technical background is that the PrinterLogic LPD Service will first try to send the job to the printer without using a driver via the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP). IPP is another printing standard that supports advanced capabilities like access control, authentication, and encryption. If IPP isn’t supported on the printer, you can use any signed Type 3 printer driver instead.
The Benefits of LPD in Cerner Environments
Cerner provides one of the world’s leading EHR solutions. It’s used throughout the healthcare industry to access and securely maintain vast stores of confidential patient medical information. By design, it becomes the central fixture of an organization’s print environment. Pretty much every document passes through Cerner before it’s printed to paper.
Unfortunately, this can cause issues with general office printing and back-end applications, not least because Cerner has its own server-based print infrastructure. Device incompatibilities, downtime, and routine printing errors can be common occurrences, and they multiply in IT environments with diverse printer fleets.
PrinterLogic’s new LPD Service leverages the universal line print remote (LPR) printing standard—the same one that Cerner’s own EHR system uses—to make everyday printing more efficient and reliable. It enables users to print from backend applications without the need for legacy print servers, which neatly sidesteps all the problems inherent to those print servers.
Best of all, PrinterLogic’s LPD Service can do this while still tapping into PrinterLogic’s advanced features:
- Comprehensive reporting: See who printed what, when, where, and why.
- Pull printing: Jobs are held until the user is ready to retrieve them. This keeps protected health information (PHI) from sitting unclaimed in output trays.
- Off-Network Printing: Conveniently allow devices to print while still maintaining strict zero trust policies.
These features complement the strict security of EHR systems and enable organizations to maintain compliance with HIPAA and other industry regulations.
The LPD Service also helps with print resiliency to avoid downtime. Multiple PrinterLogic LPD Service clients can be used to create redundancy. These can be set up behind a load balancer or configured to communicate among themselves for failover scenarios.
PrinterLogic’s LPD Service is part of our new Output Management bundle. This optional set of modules is designed to give organizations granular control over everything they print.
- Output Management
- Rules, Routing & Policies*
- Tamper-Resistant Rx Printing**
As of this writing, both the Tamper-Resistant Rx Printing and the Rules, Routing & Policies modules are in development and gearing up for preview release. However, the Output Management module with the LPD Service is ready for preview among PrinterLogic customers who are interested in getting a sneak peek and shaping its progress through feedback.
A Complete Printing and Print-Management Solution
The LPD Service is a big deal for Cerner users, but it’s just one benefit among many that PrinterLogic offers to healthcare organizations. With our serverless printing solution, you can:
- Lower costs: Fragmented solutions and all their support infrastructure can lead to mounting costs. By minimizing the hardware footprint and eliminating deep-rooted print inefficiencies, PrinterLogic keeps costs down.
- Simplify print management: It can be difficult to bridge the different systems for EMR and general office printing. PrinterLogic helps to unify the print environment and provides a single window for IT to oversee it.
- Harden security: Thanks to its pull printing and Off-network Printing functionality, PrinterLogic augments the security of Cerner and similar EMR/EHR solutions without sacrificing ease of use.
- Leverage reporting: In addition to capturing extensive metadata for every print job, PrinterLogic offers a convenient way to view, filter, and sort that information. IT can easily monitor print activity across the organization.
*Available late 2022.
**Under development, available 2023.