by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | November 04, 2014
From the August 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
He points to MR scanners as prime example of that notification. “Ask anyone who takes care of MRI scanners and they will tell you that 95 percent of significant downtime is caused by the environmental specs not being met by the end user, e.g., chilled water conditioning, humidity and power — all of which can be monitored remotely.”
But the process needs improving. Teahan believes the OEMs need to be more proactive in tapping into that technology and providing solutions or preventing issues from occurring. He says he hasn’t had an OEM come in for an install yet to say they want data points to monitor not just the things on their side, but the issues on the hospitals side as well. So for instance, if the MR’s chiller shuts down in the middle of the night and sets off an alarm on their side, they could call to tell Teahan to turn it back on so that the machine is ready for patients in the morning. “My OEMs are in the process of doing this, we monitor everything else, but we’re not monitoring our machines,” he says.
That type of data monitoring and infrastructure is difficult to come by for in-house departments in his opinion. “If you go to the administration and ask for the tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to accomplish that, you’re probably not going to get it. OEMs should ask for the specs. It’s a proof of concept — you will save money.”
The monitoring requires a shift in thinking and a change to historic roles. Teahan stresses that responsibilities should be clearly outlined for the OEM and if there’s in-house or third party, they should know their roles as well. So that there’s not a situation where everyone thinks the other group is handling a problem.
Ultimately, he believes regardless of whether you use OEM coverage or clinical engineering internal, there has to be an independent monitoring system that monitors both sides of the equation — the equipment and the house environmental side, so that the appropriate group can access the logs and see what the problems are.
“This is the future,” Teahan says.
His facility has been using OEMs for parts and service for more than a decade and he feels strongly that it’s the right decision. “Do I want my budget to go down? Yes. But there’s a balance and I see the other side of it,” he says. “If a CT scanner in a hospital setting is down for any period of time, forget the cost in money, what about the cost to the patient waiting to get in or be discharged? I believe in five-year’s time, when hospitals and OEMs actively monitor systems that we can cut the cost of service significantly and provide better service and uptime to the end user, and the end user — me, the docs, the patient — will be much happier. A 24/7 hospital has to happen because you can’t have downtime for these types of equipment. Maybe there is a balance between all in-house and all out-house. I have that balance because I have in house engineers provided by the OEM. I know there’s a cost attached to that. But we have proven over 10 years that it works,” Teahan concludes.