VA dispatches digital copiers

To reduce the amount of equipment that telecommuters have to lug home and

maintain, the Department of Veterans Affairs is issuing home office-class

multifunction printers from Hewlett-Packard Co. to employees who work from

home.

"They are economical and small in size, and they allow us to provide

multiple functions," said Charles DeSanno, chief information officer for

the VA's medical centers in New York and New Jersey. Most telecommuters

run basic Microsoft Corp. Office applications and use a free Web-based electronic

fax service, he said.

"The [HP] OfficeJet has been quite reliable," said DeSanno. "The only

knock against it is that it takes ink jet cartridges, which cost more than

laser jet cartridges. But it is fine if you don't do much printing. It is

also useful as a scanner."

The agency is also looking at using a departmental-class digital copier

as a network printing device, but is proceeding cautiously. "We are really

just getting started with digital copiers," DeSanno said. "We don't view

them as being as fast as networked laser printers, but we may be proven

wrong. And copier machines tend to break down more than laser printers."

But DeSanno's team is testing a Xerox Corp. digital copier on their

network with open minds. "We are going to go with whatever is the most efficient,

has the most uptime and that we don't have to baby-sit, even if it costs

a little more," he said.

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