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Special report: Choosing service contracts

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | August 17, 2012
From the August 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

DOTmed Business News queried major service providers to share their advice when it comes to choosing a service contract. Initially, the intention was to offer the answers in a larger article. But after receiving the responses, it became apparent that although some responses echoed others, by offering them each under a company identity, they not only provide advice, but a nice introduction to the participating companies. Whether you’re intending to enter into a contract with an OEM or an ISO, be sure to know what you need, know what you’re getting and what it’s going to cost you – we believe the following advice will put you on that path.

Ken Smith, vice president, sales & service, BC Technical

    Ken Smith, vice president,
    sales and service, BC Technical

  • When considering contracts, the service provider should have a quality program in place that is measurable with processes that create reproducible results. The quality programs should be IAW ISO standards applicable to Diagnostic Imaging (such as ISO 13485).

  • When choosing a service provider, customers should determine if the organization has trained primary and backup field engineers; a quality factory level technical support group; a quality clinical applications team to support technologists when patients are on the machine and program issues occur; and service support after-hours, weekends and holidays.

  • Customers should consider their service provider’s infrastructure. This includes organizational structure, financial backing, and the executive leadership team.

  • Pay attention to the details of the contract. In an effort to reduce cost so they can offer lower priced service contracts, many service providers are removing and/or weakening key service contract terms and conditions like response time, uptime and parts shipping commitments.

  • Is there a defined escalation procedure? This is especially important for independent service organizations. A properly defined and documented escalation procedure can help reduce downtime. This, combined with meaningful uptime and response time penalty clauses, will go a long way to ensuring the appropriate sense of urgency is maintained when problems that are unusual or difficult to diagnose and/or repair occur.

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