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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


“The bottom-line: the future of the equipment service sector is promising so long as hospitals are able to obtain and maintain accurate equipment inventories, gain access to total cost of ownership data, and enlist strong clinical engineering involvement in the capital acquisition process,” Hockel wrote. “The formula for this success cannot be replaced by the latest wave of asset management software. Nor does one solution fit all.”

For some facilities, economy of scale can deliver big savings if they have a large install base, but that won’t be the case for all. “Hospitals must understand the specific objectives around asset utilization and design a process with the appropriate team, training and technology to reach those goals,” Hockel says.

Hockel believes that in order to reach those goals, hospitals must also take a more active ownership, or at least possess a strong understanding of the impact the service contracts have not just on the bottom line, but on the mindset of staff as well. “Service contracts tend to create an environment of unwarranted dependency where hospital staff immediately calls the OEM for repair and preventative maintenance rather than relying on the in-house CE team,” Hockel wrote.

Hockel says that situation regularly results in having no comprehensive lifecycle plan in place, leading to bloated service contracts that make it more difficult to bring service in-house in the future. Of particular concern according to Hockel is that OEMs often have an auto-renewal clause in their service contracts which could lock a hospital into a new long-term contract even if they’re ready to make a move into greater self sufficiency.

“Negotiating service contracts starts with training and ends with communication and teamwork,” Hockel wrote. “Ensuring inhouse CE team is properly trained to handle most service and preventive maintenance goes a long way in reducing reliance on contracts. Ensuring everyone on the capital acquisition team (including clinicians who use equipment) is informed of CE’s role and capabilities and are communicating internally prior to engaging the OEM will immediately eliminate unnecessary costs.”

Multiple solutions from a single source
While hospitals and health care facilities definitely scrutinize costs when it comes to parts and service, deciding to go with one partner or multiple organizations also is important which each option providing benefits and drawbacks.

Melissa Roy

Zetta Medical Technologies is dialed in to that detail and is one of the companies that positions itself as a multi-vendor service company, carrying MR, CT and PET/CT parts from the major OEMs. Melissa Roy, marketing and business process administrator at Zetta believes that’s part of the secret sauce to making the best ISOs. “Having all your resources in-house from applications specialists, to owning your own tools and test equipment, to having a team of the best technical support available is what sets you apart,” she wrote in an email to HCBN. “This allows us to use our own resources that’s why there has been to complete services and projects without the need to charge our customers for subcontractors or renting of tools and equipment. These in-house resources include parts repair, equipment relocations, applications specialists, technical support teams and training,” she wrote.

In Roy’s opinion, hospitals need to understand a service company’s technical capabilities. They should also be aware of where the primary engineers are located and what training they have on the systems the hospital uses.

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