Just email them already. Jeez.
September 28, 2010 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a PDF printer (or similar file printer) that can be used to print from remote locations.

A client of mine (small doctor's office) gets referrals from another organization (BigMed). BigMed prints these referrals to my client's network printer from over the internet (printer has local IP, the router forwards the port to the IP). This is causing a work flow issue; my client has to turn around and rescan the printed referral into their patient file (BigMed says all their partners work this way). Client wants a PDF printer installed on their server so that BigMed can just print to a shared directory for easier attaching to the patient files, which seems simple and straight forward.

I'm running into problems finding a PDF printer that will do the job. The issue is that the printer will need an IP for the port to be forwarded to, and I haven't found one that will do this. I've checked out PDFcreator, but it's only accessible to the local network and doesn't get an IP.

Can anyone else think of a way to make this work? Apparently this is the first time BigMed has even had this request and is at a loss for a way to make it work. BigMed won't email the referrals, BTW.
posted by dozo to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh yeah, they are running Windows 2003, which is the OS this would have to be working from.

posted by dozo at 10:03 AM on September 28, 2010

I don't know about all the IP routing and whatever, but I use PrimoPDF for all my print-to-file needs. Have you checked them out yet?
posted by phunniemee at 10:18 AM on September 28, 2010

Share the directory, then install the PDF printer on the local machine (they would have to be set up with the printer locally anyway, right?). When the save as dialog box comes up, the clerk at BigMed can choose the shared directory and 'print' there.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:24 AM on September 28, 2010

Is there a reason that you cannot use a linux machine as the device that does the printing and throw it on your network using the same internal IP as your old physical printer? The linux machine can auto print to PDF and then you can further automate the moving of those files. Should be able to do it with any old computer you have hanging around or spend $200 on a new one since it doesn't need to be too fast (unless you're expecting 100+ pages per minute, in which case you want more CPU, more RAM and make sure it has fast network access to whatever the target disk it). Should take you less than an afternoon to set up.
posted by Brian Puccio at 10:26 AM on September 28, 2010

Have the client print to a PDF writer shared out as a printer from the Win2k3 machine. You can change the printer's IP and give its old one to the PDF writer so that the client doesn't have to change anything, but this might cause problems if you have local people who would have to adjust their printer settings (unnecessary if you're using something like a login script that maps their printers by name).
posted by rhizome at 11:21 AM on September 28, 2010

"BigMed says all their partners work this way"

This undoubtedly means "We don't know how to do any different and we aren't about to try to learn."
posted by megatherium at 1:52 PM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you can do what Sonic Meat Machine is telling you that may be the simplest answer. I have used CutePDF which prints silently and does not give a dialog box so it is invisible. What would be good is if the name generated for the new file is self explanatory like patient name of number.

I dont know if BigMed will allow you to install dropbox on their computer, if so then it will be seamless.

I do have some sympathy to Megatherium's view about BigMed not wanting to do any extra work. You may have to charm your way to change....

Good luck
posted by london302 at 2:37 PM on September 28, 2010

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