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Old Nov 4, 2006, 2:55 PM   #1
ssp
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Hi all,

I work at a pediatric office and as a marketing/customer service project we used to take head shots of our kids at their check ups and print them on a pre-printed 8.5x11 photo frame with space for us to write in their next appointment.

The 8.5x11 frames were pre-printed on cardstock on an old color inkjet (hp d155) and then fed back into print the 4x6 photo. Back then we weren't going for speed or quality. It started taking up too much time, so we stopped. We want to start the photos back up again, but this time I want the process to be quicker and nicer.

For budget reasons, we'll still be printing the frames on the old d155, but I'd like a new photo printer. Also, because we're dealing with the d155, preprinting the photo frames onto photo paper isn't an option because a) it would increase the cost of the project and b) it looks terrible coming out of an old inkjet. So, more than likely, we'll be printing onto cardstock.

This is how it would work:

1) the assistant would bring the child to the weigh stationand first take a photo
2) she would dock/attach/connect the camera to the printer directly (which would be loaded with the 8.5x11 pre-printed frames)
3) from the LCD screen (if that's the best way to make it dummy-proof) she would quickly --and within a very very few# of steps --pick the 4x6 shot she wants and hit print
4) she'd weigh the child and take a temperature (at the very least this takes 3-4 minutes)
5) she'dgrab the finished picture and lead the family to the exam room

Basically, I'd need a relatively fast printer, taking into account warm-up times, uploading, thinking time etc. I'llstick with "normal" quality prints just because I don't think it's worth all this for a "draft" quality shot. Besides, some of our parents don't own cameras -- this photo is a keeper for them.

Anotherchoice I have-- which mayincrease my printer options --is toprintthe 4x6 photos onto4x6 adhesive photo paper, which could then be stuck to the frame.My concern is not only cost, but if the paper doesn't peel away nicely, the girls will be spending too much time messing with them which takes away from the patient's time. That won't go over well with the doctors.

I can't introduce too many steps otherwise it will intrude on the workflow.

I've been looking at the hp photosmarts. Any other suggestions?I'd be willing to change up this idea if someone has a more efficient way ofaccomplishing this.

Thanks!
SSP
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Old Nov 4, 2006, 7:39 PM   #2
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Some guy on eBay is selling 3M Post-it photos for pretty cheap:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=320045490080
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Old Nov 5, 2006, 9:11 AM   #3
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Thanks....I haven't seen the 65 pack before. It's a better deal than the 25's at the office supply stores.

Have you ever used these? How easyare the "removable liner and 2 stripes of adhesive" to remove?

Anyone else?

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Old Nov 5, 2006, 10:25 AM   #4
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What a novel idea! Parents, and many children, will love this extra.

How much do you want to spend per patient?

Are you going to do this with every visit or which specific type of visit will trigger the photo session?

A couple of things I can think of for consideration would be:

1) If you are printing 120-200 pictures a week then consider a printer that can be modified for a Continuous Ink System (CIS). This type of setup will allow you to reduce costs considerably by using inexpensive 3rd party inks that are stored in large external bottles and fed to the ink cartridges withing the printer by plastic tubing. A decent place to learn more about CIS is at http://www.continuousink.info/forum/and http://www.allthefaqs.net/forum/index.php?c=7. Of course you can ask here as well. A lot of people seem to like MIS for ink and CIS systems ( http://www.inksupply.com/). Make sure to purchase a printer that works with a CIS system first!

2) Purchase ink cartridges filled with 3rd party ink to reduce costs if you don't want to go with a CIS system. I don't think you will want to fill the cartridges yourself in the office as a mistake could be messy and it is time consuming when the people are on the clock. As a bonus if you use cartridges, OfficeMax and Staples still offer money backor dollars off on future purchases for empty cartridges. Call them about their restrictions.

3)Consider paper stock from Costco or Sam's Club for improved savings while maintaining quality. Their "house" brand inkjet papers are oftentimes re-branded high quality stock at good prices which will give improved color output. EBay and other internet sources can be excellent sources as well.

4) I'll defer to others on what would be a smart printer choice. If you want the printer to be a self contained printing platform, ie not attached to a computer, consider one with PictBridge compatability and potentially has built in tools (such as red eye reduction) and a decent LCD screen. For some excellent reviews see http://www.steves-digicams.com/printers.html.

I would like to see a sample of what you are doing. Please post a picture if you can.
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Old Nov 5, 2006, 10:09 PM   #5
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More good places for info include http://nifty-stuff.com/and http://www.neilslade.com/papers/inkjetstuff.html.

I havea Canon printer so the next comments are skewed towards that line of printers. It may be equally applicable concerning Epson and HP.

There are many places for aftermarket ink cartridges, either empty or pre-filled. Most prefilled ink cartridges is of lesser quality than OEM ink or aftermarket bulk ink and refilling kits (as well as Continuous Ink Systems)from certain reputable sellers such as MIS (www.inksupply.com), Hobbicolors (search on eBay) and FormulaLabs (found at www.alotofthings.com).

For reasonably low cost aftermarket prefilled ink cartridges, the general buzz is that recent G&G cartridgesand inks (such as found at alotofthings.com) are good quality.

After deciding which printer you will get you can inquire here or on the other sites I listed for ideas on aftermarket ink catridges and ink.

Finally, consider a non-chipped cartridge printer if you will be refilling or using aftermarket cartridges. These are generally easy to refill, find pre-filled ink cartridges or even setup a CIS system.

Chipped cartridges, such as in the latest Canon Pixma line, make using aftermarket catridges and/or ink a hassle, at least initially to setup for use. Additionally,youmustvigilantly monitor for low ink levels (or else you can burn up the printheadcosting a lot of money to replace)since Canon's built-in self-monitoring system stops functioning (as does the warranty) if you switch to using anything butOEM canon cartridges. this may not be an issue for experienced users or theat-home enthusiast, but in an office setting where thefocus is on the patient and less on the printer could result in disruptions in workflow.
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Old Nov 6, 2006, 8:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for the links...I'll definitely check them out. But you're right, I'll have to weigh the pros and cons of the hassle factor vs. cost & time.

I don't think I want to spend more than a dollar per patient. With consumables I may reach 60 or 70 cents.Until I do enough of them, the costs of the extra cameras, the printers and labor push it well over, but since it's a "service" (or even amarketing expense) and not a revunue producer, I can't really think of it that way.

They'll be done for the 6, 12, 18 and 24 month check ups, as well as the yearly exams after that. I'd say we average about 65 of those a week. To reduce costs we may become more selective...like maybe 6, 12, 18, 24month + yearly until age 5. There's always those special requests by parents, too. :-)

My photo-frame is in pdf and not in jpeg. I don't have Adobe to convert it to a jpeg...is there another way to do it other thantakinga photo of it (which I don't mind doing)?I can sendyou the pdfprivately if you'd like...just let me know.

Thanks again for the info! SSP
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Old Nov 6, 2006, 11:20 PM   #7
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Sounds like you have quite the group practice!

Supplying 65 pictures a week represents a significant amount factored overthe year, though the "feel good" factor may bring in a handful of new patients whichcould offset the cost.For parents, having a picture of their child when they leave your office will help end the encounter on a positive note, especially after all the immunizations. Also, if the pictures act to motivate parents to not "no show",preventing gaps in your schedule and wasted revenue opportunities, thenthe program will be worthwhile as well -a couple fewer no shows per weekmight cover the cost of the photos.
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