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The ISO Story

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | August 01, 2014
International Day of Radiology 2012
From the August 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“We’ve reduced their overall expenditure to run the scanners and the liability hasn’t changed at all on the equipment,” says Stockton. But each customer needs to work with their provider to figure out the best fit for their needs. And they should be wary of the fine print. “There are so many things buried in these contracts,” Stockton warns. “For example, if you exceed the mAs bracket (the milliamp seconds or tube usage) they have set, then you pay a larger contract cost and that’s also then the contract agreement that they give you for the following year because that’s what they’re recorded as running under.”

Stockton says one of the driving factors in how Atlas does business is based on an aversion to diversion. That is, his team wants to do everything in their power to avoid diverting patients to another facility knowing that valuable minutes are lost when diversions occur. “If it was your family, you wouldn’t want to have a diversion,” Stockton says. “We need to have the scanner up and running as fast as possible.”

Patient safety and staff efficiency
Echoing the commitment to the real customer — the patient — Jim Spearman, president and CEO of Consensys Imaging Service says patient safety and staff efficiency are the key factors to consider for any successful service organization. If staff is frustrated with downtime or equipment not operating up to expectations, they’re less efficient. That drop in efficiency trickles down into the patient care. Even if staff provides the proper level of care, lower efficiency means patients will be less satisfied.

To keep staff frustration to a minimum Spearman says hospitals should ask their service organizations some key questions. Things to ask include: Where is the service engineer coming from? What is the quality of the part? Are they doing system testing with full load or just doing bench testing or are they just doing harvesting? Can they get there the same day?

Another question hospitals might ask is what happens if they want to take their service in-house? “When a customer wants to go in-house with complicated technology, we do an empowerment. We helped someone go from full-service from ultrasound to absolutely self sufficient,” Spearman says.

Moving into a self-sufficient operating model is more challenging than ever, with greater scrutiny from ACR and CMS among others. But that challenge is there for ISOs as well, so it really comes down to how well the techs know their stuff, regardless of them being in-house or outside they’ll need to know what they’re doing from a regulatory aspect. “You’re going to see that some ISOs that can’t play the quality game,” says Spearman.

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