A Virtual Printer for Electronic medical records

USB connected printer

For three days after the September 11 event in New York, the FAA grounded commercial air transport. Ten years on, this decision alone has had a profound impact on my part of the electronic document industry. In those three days, millions of sheets of printed documents did not get to where they needed to be. Checks did not get to banks, contracts were not completed, medical records did not get to doctors. What followed was a whole raft of legislation that gave a huge boost to the “paperless office”.

Check clearing got the highest priority – CHECK 21 became law on the 28th October 2004. Now an electronic image of a check is good enough “replacement” for the real thing.

In 2009 the senate finally approved an $800 billion stimulus bill to put every American’s health record online. The politicians took great care over privacy issues and, now that screens and color printers are so cheap and excellent, there has even been an amount of goodwill from the medical professionals.

We provide a lot of the “glue” that transforms electronic documents and helps migrate legacy printer data to electronic medical record formats so it was no surprise to get a call from Zeiss with a interesting challenge. Some of the equipment made for the ophthalmology industry could not produce an electronic document, all it could do was print!

“Surely a software upgrade and perhaps a TCP/IP hardware interface
would be good enough? “
“No – you don’t understand – If we change anything it has to go back
through the very expensive TYPE APPROVAL procedure”.

It turns out that the world is full of “black box” devices in medical and industrial applications that can only print. Sometimes the law or security prohibits any attachment to a network. (nobody wants a “virus” on an ophthalmic lance) – The concept of Virtual Printer hardware was born.

Virtual printer

The principle is easy enough. Build a small piece of hardware that just looks like the same old printer to the “black box”. A powerful microprocessor handles the printer interface – we used a MICROCHIP PIC 16 device. Data is collected on a USB connection to a PC controlled using an FTDI package. The device gets its power from the USB interface avoiding the need for a special power supply.

Of course data collection is only half the story. Processing the collected printer data is the work of RedTitan EscapeE. You can even recover data straight off the printed page for re-processing, filing or even patient identification.

Now, six years on, many thousand of these devices have been rolled out in data capture applications. The chances are that, the next time you take an eye test, you will find the RedTitan PRINT2PC box doing its job in the back of a Zeiss Humphrey Field Analyser.

Today there are two models of PRINT2PC – PARALLEL PORT to USB and USB to USB taking care of every thing from Pacemaker Programmers through to Blood Analysis controllers. There is even a bowling alley on an island in northern Germany that owes its scoring system to PRINT2PC; a strange consequence of the sad events of ten years ago.

42 thoughts on “A Virtual Printer for Electronic medical records”

  1. We have a customer who is using the Humpreys Matrix machine, and he is looking for a way to eliminate his printer.
    If you could contact us with a price and availability as well as shipping cost to postal code V9N2R4 in Canada’
    Thanks

    Rick

  2. I would like to purchase a Red Titan for my Humphrey Matrix for printing purposes. How do I purchase one?
    thank you
    Ryan Powell

  3. Hi I would like to buy a RedTitan for our Humprey Matrix. We are in New Zealand also, please can you contact me with price and details etc. Thanks, John

  4. Hi, We are in need of one of your USB2PC boxes to replace the printer that hangs off our Humphry Matrix machine. Appreciate if you can advise how I can get hold of one in Australia.
    Cheers
    Shaun

  5. We’d like to eliminate our printer for the Matrix 715. Please provide more information about the virtual printer including pricing, set up requirements and steps and your return policy in case of incompatibility. Thank you!

  6. Hello, I’m interesting in purchase this product. I have a Zeizz Matrix 715 and my printer stoped working. I’m from Brazil. Thank you.

  7. I would like to buy your product for visual field with lpt output also is possible to use it for ultrasound device that has usb or video printer output

  8. Hi, I am interested in purchasing one of your systems. Could you please provide the product and pricing details. Thanks

  9. Hello, i am interested in more details for purchasing the USB2PC virtual printer box to capture and store data sent to usb epson printer

  10. Hello, I am interested in purchasing one of these for my Matrix 800, please contact me with pricing and details Thank you! -Daniel

  11. It took a bit of searching, but I knew a device like this would exist!

    In the gas station/convenience store industry, one of the major point of sale system vendors prints their daily reports to a standard Brother laser printer. I am looking for a solution that can capture these versus print them so we can simply store them electronically versus print and then scan. Which one of your devices would you recommend? The printer is a Brother laser printer connected via usb to the main point of sale system.

    There are literally thousands of these point of sale systems installed worldwide and right now the company recommends a Brother laser printer since printing to pdf at the POS and connecting the POS to a local network violates PCI compliance. To be able to print the documents to a black box that emulates the printer and saves the documents electronically would be a revolution, and probably a recommended device if you can get on the Passport POS Partners list:
    https://www.gilbarco.com/us/service-and-support/passport-pos-partners

  12. I have a Matrix 800 with a dead printer. I am interested in the pricing for your product. Please contact me with details. Thanks.

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