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Parts and Service - The Full Story

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | November 04, 2014
From the August 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Uptime equals patient satisfaction
Donal Teahan, director of practice development for the department of radiology at NYU Langone Medical Center, is a strong voice in the parts and service discussion. Teahan washes his hands of the notion of taking services in-house and welcomes continued service by the OEMs.

“I rely on Siemens to service much of our equipment because I believe that in our environment with the uptime I’m required to have, that I have much more control and get a much better response than I would from an in-house engineering department that’s fixing beds one day and MRs the next,” Teahan says.

“I have worked with in-house service, ISO service and OEM service and have seen that our response time is better with the OEM. That the staff is better-trained and most importantly our uptime is greater,” he says.

To make the numbers work and to keep his budget intact, Teahan says it’s necessary that he produces on the backend. “We get a budget from the institution to take care of service. It’s a global outside budget and once we produce on the back end no one is looking to cut our budget.”

When Teahan made the decision to make uptime the top priority he requested changes to his old service contract. “We had a service contract from 8 to 4, Monday through Friday and everything else outside was overtime and outside the standard hours. We now ask the OEM to work on any equipment maintenance from 12 midnight to six in the morning. If you’re taking my equipment away from me at other hours we can’t see patients,” he says.

He believes that taking service in-house only looks good financially for a few years, when the equipment is still new and unlikely to require any significant repair or service. As time goes on and parts begin to wear out or fail, the financial benefits can start to fade.

With Teahan’s hospital in a major metropolitan market, patients aren’t the only thing facilities are competing to bring in. Just as facilities are investing in advertising to bring those patients in, so too are they investing when they want to bring the parts they need in. “If I have an OEM contract and the hospital up the street has it all inhouse and we both need the same part, who do you think is going to get the part if there’s only one available?” he asks.

Teahan is also pragmatic when it comes to in-house capabilities and working with limited resources to handle a large number of modalities and units. “We have Siemens and other OEM engineers on site and they know their modalities. It is just not possible for in-house service to compete because they cannot know everything.”

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