Minimizing the costs and risks of prescription printing with plain paper

Nuance solutions can help minimize the risks of prescription printing with plain paper

Savvy hospitals are turning to new innovations in printing to help them cut costs and minimize risks using plain paper prescription printing.

According to Black Book Research “in order to break even, average hospital costs will have to be reduced by 24 percent by 2022.” That percentage seems almost insurmountable with the mounting costs associated with managing a hospital. In recent years, regulatory compliance demands and pressures from HIPAA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have added to their responsibilities.  Researchers from Harvard’s TH Chan School of Public Health indicate that while other nations spend between 1%-3% to administer their health plans;  administrative costs are 8% of total health spending in the US. Chipping away at some of this administrative spend is imperative.

The Cost of Compliance

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicated that “drug overdoses killed 63,632 Americans in 2016. Nearly two-thirds of these deaths (66%) involved a prescription or illicit opioid.” A quick scan of the news highlights the gravity of this problem. To stem this epidemic CMS mandates that all computer generated, and hand-written prescriptions have at least one industry recognized security feature in each of three categories.

  • Copy Resistance: to prevent copying of a completed or blank prescription
  • Erasure/Modification Resistance: to prevent the erasure or modification of information written on the prescription
  • Counterfeit Resistance: to prevent the use of counterfeit prescriptions

As such, when physical prescriptions are needed, hospitals must ensure they adhere to these guidelines. Compliance for many means using costly tamper resistant paper and special printing devices.

As you can imagine, tamper resistant paper and the special devices required to print them can be costly not just to obtain but to maintain as well. Hospitals must bear the burden and risks associated with retaining tight custody of the paper as it moves from delivery all the way to becoming an actual prescription. Often this requires the use of security guards to protect the shipment of the paper, having the printers in locked rooms, having printers with special locked trays, and tightly monitoring reloading the printers. With prescription fraud as rampant as it is, hospitals cannot afford to have their prescription paper stolen.


Make it plain – plain paper printing

With the need to cut costs yet maintain excellence several hospitals are now employing cutting edge prescription printing software to do the heavy lifting for their prescription printing. These innovative solutions combine CMS Tamper Resistant security features with information they receive from the electronic health record (EHR) directly onto plain paper.  Yes, plain paper! This vendor-agnostic approach allows for industry-recognized security features to be printed on a broad range of printers. Hospitals can then leverage existing technology and equipment. Hospitals then get a panto-graph background that states “VOID” if copied, and the original document has microprint that renders the text unreadable if copied all on their plain paper. Added to this, variable printing on the back of each prescription adds an extra layer of security. They also can Include a security warning box at the bottom of the page that lists all the security features included so pharmacists can know what to look for to check for authenticity

In addition to these CMS Tamper Resistant security features, some print features, such as those found in Nuance’s print management solutions, offer secure printing workflows that record all key details about a job including who released/printed it, even on single- function printers equipped with a card reader.


Benefits of Secure Plain Paper Prescription Printing:


When you remove the cost of special paper, special printing devices, and the additional personnel to protect the paper hospitals can realize significant savings. Some of these benefits include:

  • Works with a broad range of print
  • Eliminates the cost and management of pre-printed form
  • Removes need for special printers or locking t
  • Provides secure print release with complete chain-of-custody track
  • Supports MFDs and single-function printers via POE reader.
  • Offers a centralized enterprise-level output management syst
  • Enables failover printing and audit t


The cost and risks savings from prescription printing software is significant! By using innovative prescription printing software hospitals can write secure prescriptions without the large overhead costs all while remaining secure and compliant.

Nuance Healthcare Solutions Can Help

Visit our healthcare solutions page to learn more about how we can help secure your print environment

Learn more
Natasha Bishop

About Natasha Bishop

Natasha Bishop is the Sr. Product Marketing Manager for Nuance Document Imaging’s print management products. Natasha has extensive experience in digital marketing, go-to-market strategy, program management, execution and demand generation. She has a passion for uncovering and engaging expert thought leadership across various industries to better understand market challenges and best practices. Natasha has a Master’s in Business Administration with a focus in Marketing from the University of North Texas, Texas. Follow Natasha on Twitter: @Natasha_D_G