by Barbara Kram
, Editor | September 03, 2010
Welch Allyn has just introduced new customer service plans for its portfolio of patient monitors, cardiac care technologies and other products. The Partners in Care Services program covers support, education and professional services. This is the company's first comprehensive service program to assist customers with installation, integration, training and ongoing management of all Welch Allyn systems.
The plans serve customers in both acute and ambulatory care settings and range from those hospitals with full in-house biomedical support teams to settings like doctors' offices that depend fully on the company's service program.
"Self-sufficient customers do everything in-house so through our program we provide parts, online technical training, updates, upgrades, accessory protection and a loaner at times, if needed. The goal is to enable the biomed to keep all our devices and themselves in house and on site," said Jason DiFraia, senior global category manager for services and solutions.
On the other end of the service spectrum is a customer such as a doctor's office or a small clinic with few technical resources that are entirely reliant on the company's support. This customer would have the option of a comprehensive partnership program, which entitles them to faster turnarounds times, updates and upgrades, accessory protection, loaners and many other features.
Partners in Care Services also covers customers in between with varying levels of self-sufficiency for their technologies.
Automated complaint hotlines are now a thing of the past, DiFraia told DOTmed News. As manufacturers like Welch Allyn develop more sophisticated, interconnected devices that feed into health information systems, they must raise their service support levels to keep customers up and running.
"In the past there was a 'break and fix' service model. Now we are moving from a product perspective toward a platform business model," DiFraia said, noting that the platform model provides more integration and design consistency across the product portfolio. "An example would be the automotive industry where a manufacturer may make just four chassis and 20 models of cars," DiFraia said. Increasingly and by necessity, medical technology is being designed with interchangeable components such as probes, power cords and other key parts to make service simpler and also to support automated delivery of service through proactive reporting and remote diagnostics. For instance, Welch Allyn can provide software and training to enable biomedical engineers to validate and calibrate devices in house.