Healthcare workers across South Africa lose an estimated 76 working days every year thanks to slow or non-functioning printers, according to new research from Epson undertaken throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

South Africa is already grappling with significant healthcare staffing challenges, worsening an already strained system. The country faces a shortage of skilled healthcare professionals across various disciplines, including doctors, nurses, and specialists.

The survey of 3 400 patient-facing practitioners such as doctors and nurses, uncovers the link between poor technology and reduced productivity.

Nearly all (92%) of healthcare workers say they lose time to slow or non-functioning printers each week. A third (31%) of respondents lose up to 30 minutes, and 19% up to an hour.

A staggering 97% say this has a negative impact, causing delays or difficulties with sharing information (40%), updating patient records (46%) and making appointments (38%). Nearly a third (28%) said it leads to more complaints from patients.

As a result, 84% of healthcare workers say more should be done to ensure time is not wasted by poor technology. A further 75% agreed that despite time being wasted by non-functioning or slow printers at work, little action is being taken.

It’s no surprise that 89% say they think their IT department or IT managers should provide printers that print quickly and require less maintenance to reduce difficulties created by printer downtime.

In doing so, environmental concerns also come into play, with 85% of respondents agreeing that the environmental impact of non-sustainable printers is a great concern to them personally.

Yudheer Harbhajun, Epson business print sales manager, comments: “It’s a glaring reality. While some may think printers are just sidelines in the work of healthcare workers facing patients, the truth is far from it. Outdated technology is directly impacting patients, and healthcare professionals are calling for urgent intervention.”

“For many healthcare institutions, a simple switch from laser printers to Heat-Free inkjets could help. Heat-Free inkjets tend to have fewer moving and consumable parts to replace over the lifetime of the printer compared to lasers, reducing intervention and improving productivity and user satisfaction.”