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What's the best way to reduce service costs?

by Philip F. Jacobus, CEO | January 16, 2014
If you are a medical equipment engineer or department manager, DOTmed invites you to submit your thoughts on how to reduce service costs. The best answer will win $500 and the second best will win $250.

Think about this: If you operate an MRI, CT or one of the many other capital equipment systems used in health care today, for 8 to 10 years you could pay as much in service as you spent to buy the system. We would never accept this for the cars we buy yet we accept it — and even expect it — when it comes to capital medical equipment.

Some would say that this is to be expected for a number of reasons. However, consider that we have made great progress in health care and as a result, people live longer. As our population grows older, so does the strain to our health care system. Every day, 10,000 baby boomers retire and are added to the Medicare rolls. This will continue for the next 10 years. Think about what this does to health care spending and the cost of service.

Servicing GE, Philips and Siemens CT equipment with OEM trained engineers

Numed, a well established company in business since 1975 provides a wide range of service options including time & material service, PM only contracts, full service contracts, labor only contracts & system relocation. Call 800 96 Numed for more info.

We are going to have to find a way to save on service costs.

It seems to me that our readers are better suited than any other group to suggest ways to reduce service costs.

Please submit your ideas below, and with as much detail as possible. If you prefer to remain anonymous for the public post, you can click the "Make this forum post Anonymous" box you will see on the page.

Feel free to piggyback on other responses as well. This should also be a forum for ideas.

The winning answers will be featured in the May biomedical issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News.

We look forward to hearing from you.
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ASHOK TANWAR

What's the best way to reduce service costs?

January 16, 2014 08:39

Firstly, ensure that the installation of equipment is performed as per recommendation of supplier/ manufacturer. The Site parameters such as safe Electrical Environment and air conditioning is provided for the equipment. The best way to reduce service cost is to provide application training to equipment user in addition to on line support for simple issues followed by periodic preventive maintenance of equipment. In case of issues which are not solved by user with on line help, pictures of screen showing different parameters, error messages displayed, damages details along with details of environment provided to equipment should be sent by mail to bio-medical service provider at the earliest with details of life of equipment with serial number, model details.

Ashok Tanwar
00919899371679

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Aaron Fischer

Inhouse training

January 16, 2014 08:39

When negotiating new equipment get service training included with the purchase. After the warranty period have all service handled inhouse. You can then negotiate parts only contracts or shared service contracts where the inhouse biomed's take care of most of the work.

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Jennifer Daugherty

Knowledge is power!

January 16, 2014 04:17

Unfortunately, most healthcare facilities don’t have a firm grasp on what they are spending on equipment service agreements year over year, the equipment repair history, or the reimbursement summary over the equipment’s useful life.

Until recently, healthcare facilities had basically two options when deciding on how to handle equipment maintenance: purchase the standard OEM service agreement or the alternative, to go on time and materials and pay for maintenance and repairs as they occur. The OEM service contract comes at a steep price; however, there are ways to negotiate more favorable terms and conditions. Going on time and materials can save money on the front end, but doesn’t offer a guaranteed budget because equipment maintenance and repair can be unpredictable.

Hospitals, imaging centers, doctor’s offices, labs, etc. now have other options that offer a compromise to the traditional service models. Asset Management Programs are becoming increasingly popular in the healthcare industry by offering coverage levels comparable to traditional service agreements, but at a significant cost savings. These programs relieve the financial burden of the equipment maintenance off of the facility and allows them to use the vendor of their choice. A reputable provider can ensure significant savings, increased equipment efficiency, and reduced administrative burden.

Whatever path is chosen, it’s always best to do your due diligence first before signing any contracts. There are options to the typical service agreements and it’s up the individual healthcare facility to determine the best course of action based on their operating procedures and budgets.

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Rebecca Hendrickson

Second Sources for Batteries

January 17, 2014 01:30

We find most replacement batteries a lot cheaper through a second source like Unipower, then Manufacturers. Telemetry batteries that are over $200 from the Manufacturer can be rebuilt for $13.40. It adds up when ever floor has telemetry and they have to be changed every year. If they don't currently supply a battery, they are willing to work with us and rebuild it if we send them one.

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Jose Morillo

FROM INSTALLATION TO END

February 13, 2014 04:31

1.- Be sure all topics that must be done BEFORE installation, BE DONE. Must customer install and delate to adapt or install some secundary systems (enough A/C power, dehumidifiers, etc ) and after they begin to work forget it at all and this represent an increment in service costo of as much as 35% or more along the life of the system.
2.- Prepaid sercice. You can do a PM contract for assistance when needed tha tinclude training a local engineer in basic topics about system. Malfunctions can be serviced at distance coordinating the local engineer in most cases and just sending the needed part. Last situation, you can go with a real idea of the problem and carry possible spare parts with you. Customer win due he pay less, you win due you work less, local engineer has a work. WIn-WIN-WIN bussiness
3.- Keep a close record of all your services. stadistics are really usefull to troubleshoot repeptitve fails
4.- Be honest with customer. And old equipment is more expensive to keep working that being replaced.
5.- Take a lot of pictures of all systems you service, You will note any unexpected change and can act in consecuence saving hundreds of hours.
6.- If it is possible, keep a small toolcase in each geographical zone you service. You will save thousands of overwheigh rates when fly to service them
7 Instruct your customers to use new technologies. A single picture can tell you all you need to know to solve a problem and you will save a whole travel at least
8... keep imaging new ways to do things. AS you say, get out of the box!

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Jesse Roche

Ways to Reduce Service Costs

February 28, 2014 05:46

Ensure the HVAC systems in the facility are operational.
Overheating a computer room can kill computers and imaging systems quickly! Also the lingering effects of a severely overheated system can cause intermittent and hard failures long after the HVAC system is repaired.

Actively monitor the HVAC systems within the facility.
Acting quickly to resolve HVAC issues saves future down time costs. An MRI compressor not running over a weekend can cost thousands in Helium costs. as well as a potential magnet quench. Install active monitoring that alerts service if these systems fail.

Minimize mechanical damage from external causes. Service cost reductions can be obtained from simply ensuring the systems are not strong arm abused. MRI coils banged, cables stretched and trampled, patient transport tables crushed into imaging systems. MRI table exteriors bent and broken due to strong arm handling are a common cost that can easily be avoided.

Keep a system log book. Record system level issues and errors. You will know what happened, when it happened as well as who it happened to. This helps the technologists as well as the service provider. intermittent issues are fully documented, failure and service histories are available for collective review.




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