Magazine Article | March 17, 2014

Win More Healthcare Business With Thermal Wristband Printers

Contact The Supplier

By Jay McCall

This AIDC VAR won a 1,000 thermal-based wristband printer install with a healthcare organization after demonstrating its solution’s superior quality and lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

SK&T is an AIDC VAR that’s focused on helping healthcare professionals improve their data capture efficiency and accuracy, so its clients can keep their attention where it belongs — on their patients and providing quality care. Healthcare solutions account for 60 percent of SK&T’s revenue.

Effective patient care is predicated on accuracy, but human error is exceptionally difficult to eliminate in the inherently high-touch medical environment. Scanning bar codes produced by reliable thermal printers and labels enables automatic verification and record of medication dispensing. Additionally, these solutions enable healthcare providers to check the national drug code against the prescription order to validate that the correct medication and dosage were dispensed.

One recent customer win that highlights SK&T’s ability to deliver reliable AIDC solutions is a faith-based, nonprofit healthcare organization that operates nine hospitals, four safety net clinics, a children’s mental health center, and more than 190 ambulatory service centers in the states of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, and California. The health system includes 15,000 full-time associates and more than 500 employed providers.

More than 10 years ago, SK&T worked locally with one of the healthcare organization’s hospital pharmacy staff in Lafayette, CO, to provide needed labeling solutions. That was the start to a much bigger opportunity that would come along within the past year.

Provide A Thermal Bar Code Labeling Solution That Meets All Stakeholders’ Needs
After identifying a need to update its legacy patient wristband printers, the healthcare organization requested proposals from several providers, including SK&T, multiple laser printer vendors, and another local medical wristband reseller.

Subscribe to Business Solutions magazineSK&T’s recommended solution involved Intermec by Honeywell PC23d desktop printers, Intermec by Honeywell adult wristbands, and a renewable service contract that included maintenance and repair services on the printers plus automated inventory management of the printer and wristband media. It wasn’t a lower initial price that gave the AIDC VAR an edge over its competitors; rather, it was the VAR’s ability to demonstrate a lower total cost of ownership and other benefits.

“We were the only service provider recommending thermal printer-based patient wristbands, whereas the others used laser printers,” says Kathy Lawson, president of SK&T. “The Intermec by Honeywell printers we recommended had a much smaller footprint than the laser printers, which made it practical for placement at nurses’ stations instead of a dedicated printing area further removed from patients. Additionally, with laser printers the wristbands can only be used for 24 hours before the labels become unreadable and must be replaced. And that’s if they don’t get wet and have to be replaced even sooner. The thermal labels on the other hand never smudge and last throughout the patient’s hospital stay.”

SK&T set up several Intermec by Honeywell printers with the healthcare organization’s Epic (electronic health record) software and ran a pilot over a three-month period to provide the client further assurance of success.

Lower TCO Enables Higher Number Of Printer Purchases
Although the healthcare organization didn’t share with SK&T exactly how much more they liked its proposal over the others, Lawson does know anecdotally it was significant. “After winning the business, they told us, ‘This ROI is enormous! It will allow us to roll out more printers to more departments,’” she says. To date the client has committed to 1,000 printers. One additional benefit SK&T’s solution offers the healthcare organization is consistency of patient, medication, and inventory management across 32 outpatient clinics, plus a single point of contact for all locations for hardware support and supplies needs. “Previously, their process for ordering printer media was done manually,” says Lawson. “In addition to being a time-consuming process for several of their employees, they would sometimes have to wait as long as 10 days to receive new media replacements. Now, we handle the inventory management and replenishment for all their printer media across nine locations, and we can overnight media to them if necessary. We set their initial inventory levels based on other similar healthcare clients we’ve worked with over the years, and we make adjustments quarterly as needed.”

Currently, SK&T is supporting nine locations with printers, inventory management, and break-fix services. Over time this opportunity has the potential to reach another 23 locations within the healthcare organization’s network of facilities.

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