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Can a PDF "printer" be PCL5 Compatible?

Posted on 2011-09-25
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
My company contracts with a hospital that uses Meditech.  Meditech is ONLY compatible with PCL5 printers.  My company would like to print documents for the hospital to PDF to save paper and money.  Is it possible to fool Meditech into printing to a PDF printer?
Question by:wellnecessities
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36596552
PDF is (at the printer level) a printer type. You just select the PDF printer (nominally Adobe Acrobat) and the PDF file will be created. PCL does not enter into this.  ... Thinkpads_User
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Accepted Solution

Dave Baldwin earned 500 total points
ID: 36596591
You can get a PCL to PDF converter or printer driver.  You have to check to see if that could be put into the printer interface.

This doesn't answer your question but it is interesting info on Meditech qualified printers from Xerox: http://www.office.xerox.com/support/dctips/dc00cc0205.pdf

But this might answer your question: http://www.meditechbulletin.com/tricks-of-the-trade/212-npr-report-writing-doesnt-have-to-be-a-resource-intense-process
LVL 58
ID: 36596918
My favorite print-to-PDF products are CutePDF and doPDF:


Both are free, but I don't know if they'll accept a PCL5 stream from MEDITECH. They're worth a try, but if neither works, here's one that probably will, since it specifically claims to support PCL (although I haven't tried it, and it's not free):


Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

by:Dave Baldwin
ID: 36596988
Meditech is not Windows software though it will run with a terminal screen on Windows.  And they print directly over the network to PCL5 printers without using Windows printer drivers.

We're in the wrong business.  From their ANNUAL REPORT  to the SEC:

"MEDITECH bases its product fee on a customer's net patient revenue across all of its sites, and sets its implementation fee on the total number of sites. As a result larger hospitals pay more than smaller hospitals. The monthly service fees are 1% of the product fees. A typical 150 bed acute care hospital which licenses most of our software might incur a $3,000,000 product fee, a $750,000 implementation fee and a $30,000 monthly service fee. An order is booked when a signed software license and a 10% deposit are received."
LVL 58
ID: 36597128
Wow! I don't imagine the original poster needs free software. :)
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Expert Comment

ID: 36598009
>> Meditech is not Windows software though it will run with a terminal screen on Windows.  And they print
>> directly over the network to PCL5 printers without using Windows printer drivers.

So the answer to the original question "Is it possible to fool Meditech into printing to a PDF printer?" is presumably "NO".
LVL 58
ID: 36599355
I don't know anything about MEDITECH, but based on some web research, it appears that they started out in 1969 by developing their own operating system called MAGIC, which could run only on DEC and DG hardware. They realized in 1999 that they needed to be able to operate on other hardware, and after partnering with Dell and IBM as new hardware providers in 2001, and began supporting both Citrix and Windows XP in 2002. I found this information at:

I don't know how accurate the info is, but let's assume it is. Then if the author is using the version of MAGIC under its own proprietary operating system (whether native or through Citrix), it would seem the answer is NO. But if the author is using, or can switch to, the Windows XP version of MAGIC, then the answer is likely YES (I wonder if they're supporting Windows 7 by this time). Regards, Joe
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Expert Comment

ID: 36601037
>> ... switch to, the Windows XP version of MAGIC, then the answer is likely YES  ...

As DaveBaldwin pointed out, just because the application (may) run under a Windows operating system does not mean that it will make use of Windows printer drivers; his research indicates that the application generates the output print stream (which presumably contains 'vanilla' PCL5) directly.
LVL 58
ID: 36601149
Maybe, maybe not. Can't find enough doc on it (as a non-customer) to know. I'm sure the author has all of the MAGIC doc and/or can ask his MEDITECH tech supp contacts. Cheers, Joe

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