MedWiz Technologies: PDF & Development Services Case Study

Driving Down the Cost of Health Care

Screen shot of medications giving page.MedWiz Technologies provides cost-effective solutions for adult homes and large scale pharmacies, and they do it using PDF expertise from Appligent Document Solutions.

“The team at Appligent was instrumental in solving some of our biggest headaches,” said Jonathan Grier, Senior Software Architect for MedWiz.

A distinct category of care provider, adult homes provide medical care and a wide range of services related to medical care such as the collection and distribution of prescriptions and medications, including controlled substances.

In a typical adult care facility utilizing MedWiz Technologies’ solution, there may be as many as 200 beds, each patient taking a dozen or more separate medications each day.  Doctors visit around the clock; prescriptions are written or changed almost daily.

Before MedWiz, doctors visiting these adult homes wrote each prescription by hand.  Each script was faxed to the relevant pharmacy. From illegible writing to errors in transcription, billing, storage and other processing, the hand-written prescriptions were costing money everyday.

To service adult and nursing homes, giant pharmacies the size of a city block process multiple prescriptions per second. Until recently, they did it all on paper. The pharmacies recognized that the system was costly, but it took MedWiz to conceive of a readily implementable solution. They turned to Appligent Document Solutions (then Document Solutions, Inc.) to build a solution based on PDF electronic document and forms technology.

The Requirement

MedWiz wanted to deploy a database-driven form that worked flawlessly with the specialized printers required for prescriptions.

Stored directly in a database and viewed on touch-screen terminals, the technology needed to be self-contained, ultra light-weight and completely bullet-proof.

The Solution

Screen shot of the MedWiz system in action, displaying a PDF prescription.The MedWiz implementation first generates a PDF and stores it in a database as a binary object. With Appligent Document Solutions’ help, the file-size of each prescription document was reduced from 500kb to 30kb, reducing loads on every part of the system.

One challenge was reliable silent printing in a web browser, even in cases where more than one printer may be attached to the computer. Terminals need to print to the prescription printer automatically, but include the option of printing to another printer as well.

The Flexibility, Reliability & Precision of PDF

Prescriptions are highly stylized documents, and they have to look exactly correct however printed or displayed. Adult homes use special prescription printers that use official stationary and pre-printed forms. Data has to be positioned precisely, each and every time.

PDF was employed as the basis for MedWiz’s printing, faxing and display system because the technology delivers a reliable, exact replica prescription in a self-contained and readily transferable file. PDF-based JavaScript provided reliable automation of Adobe Reader’s browser plugin, allowing MedWiz to leverage the free Adobe Reader as a major component of the solution.

Any solution had to work smoothly with the existing fax-based model which still dominates large adult homes. Once met, this in-built flexibility dramatically easing the introduction of the system, opening the door to a transition to more-digital, and eventually, all-digital workflows in some cases.

MedWiz terminals simply require Adobe Reader 7.0x or higher installed with the browser plugin operating in the default browser.

Document Automation with Acrobat JavaScript

With complete control over the workstations, it was easy to distribute and install an application-level JavaScript into Adobe Reader.

This application script operates with scripts contained in the PDF to provide a “silent print” capability from the Adobe Reader plugin to a web browser. The server identifies and selects the prescription printer; and, most importantly, sets print options correctly so that the prescription prints exactly right – a far from trivial task. The server can even initiate the print job from the local workstation, if desired.


“Appligent Document Solutions provided crucial PDF knowledge and expert development assistance for our project,” said Eric Newhouse, President and CEO of MedWiz Technologies. “At the end of the day, going with one of the oldest names in PDF paid off very well for us. The solution was amazingly affordable, and works perfectly to specification. We couldn’t ask for more.” he said.