The printing industry is changing rapidly, delivering new features and technology to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. One sector where technology is changing the way users work is the medical industry, says Heinrich Pretorius, OKI Product Specialist at DCC.

These emerging technologies are now geared to the requirements of the medical industry with functionality included for all their office and medical printing needs, allowing the industry to save money and improve costs.

The printing industry is ever-evolving, bringing new ways of printing and new technologies to save money along with improved cartridges that include better ink technology that deliver higher print yields. The medical industry, as with any organisation, requires printers for regular functions such as printing documents. Although this industry is able to use the latest printers for their office duties, the printing of X-Rays, MRIs, Ultra-Sounds and other medical images require expensive printers and technology. In order to print these images, a number of software solutions would have to be installed, allowing the various devices – including the various medical equipment – used in the industry to ‘communicate’ with one another.

This challenge led to the introduction of the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard which allows for the handling, storing, printing and transmitting of information in medical imaging formats. This allows for the integration of scanners, servers, workstations, printers and network hardware from multiple manufacturers into a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS). However, while this standard eased the pains felt in the industry, specialised printers are still required. This meant that individual printers were required in the medical industry – one for standard office printing and another for images from medical devices. The challenge of space, cost and more was still very much a problem.

New printers are emerging that allow medical practitioners and facilities to purchase one printer for all their printing needs. Combining the cost effectiveness and high quality output of printers with embedded DICOM software, users are now able to print directly from their medical equipment without the need for conversion software or other external hardware.

Now medical practitioners are able to print scans, X-Rays, MRIs and more on standard media such as paper, in vibrant, HD colour, in any size and, more importantly, cost effectively. These prints can now be used for research purposes, medical discussions, given to patients to take home and more. Furthermore, these printers also allow for normal day-to-day printing of regular documents. Therefore, there is no need for multiple printer technology and consumables in the workplace which drastically cuts costs. Furthermore, these printers do not require management or configuration, are highly robust and are extremely flexible.

Printing is one challenge that the medical industry faces, requiring additional spend of thousands, if not millions, on various printing devices for various tasks. The introduction of printers that can be used across various functions tailored to the medical industry can save money, which can be used elsewhere.