The 'Print' button on Healthcare IT systems

Hi all,

I'm a fan of paperless hospitals, I believe there may be only a few hospitals in the world that has gone completely paperless.

I like the fact that healthcare IT systems are helping hospitals to improve performance and digitize patient records. However, I've seen product demo's of some major health IT industry players in the UK..and I've noticed that all of the systems provide the option to print documents/forms of patient records although they are securely entered and stored in the system.

How do you think, the option of printing electronic notes, prescription, test results, etc off the system would encourage hospitals to go paperless? 

Many thanks,


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  • I don't think going paperless will mean zero paper. We are a long way from zero paper. There are still a lot of small clinics that may not go completely electronic due to costs. Again, medical tourism and specialised cases mean a lot more people are travelling beyond their national borders for care and will need to carry their records. So yes, the print option is still needed.
    The print options are necessary for the times that printing is needed. Patients may need to transport test results to a family doctor or keep for their own records. Since PHRs haven't taken off as anticipated patients will still require paper.

    I also think that health workers will not necessarily print just because the print option is available. If the record is available when it's needed, then they will not need to print to and store it.
    • Hi there. Thanks for your interesting comment. 

  • Hello Shaahm,

    The advantage of having paper based systems is in their reliability.  If there is no power, EHRs are useless; as long as there is light, paper based systems are usable.  Obviously the advantages of EHRs far outweigh the drawbacks, however I believe some form of paper system has to be in place.  Having a print button is necessary for many items and as Baaba mentioned, just because it is there, does not mean it will be used unnecessarily.  




    • Hi Stan, thanks.. I agree that some form of paper based system has to be in place especially when there are issues with integrating different healthcare systems. But I'm sure, in the near future everything will be digitized, as more people including healthcare professionals are becoming obsessed with technology. This is just my understanding though :)

  • eRx prescriptions can be electronically mailed or sent via fax to the pharmacy directly from the point-of-care. eRx prescriptions can be printed at the request of the patient in EHR software by which many paper based error can be avoided and most of the patient information is stored digitally so as compare too old paper based work has been replaced by medical record healthcare system.

  • Well..interesting discussion..for me Print option available on all or some of the screens of any Healthcare IT application negates the whole point of using ICT in Healthcare.

    But do we need such a functionality. I suppose yes..

    This may be a valid feature if the Hospital has to file reports to the statutory authorities who are ought to know the number being treated country wide.

    On the flip side, if we are talking about a place where going 100 paperless is a far off reality and compliance to using a HCIT system is also not 100%, better to have such a feature just to get the business running. :)

    And expect to remove it once we reach the stage we want to..

    • Interesting. thanks for ur comment. 

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