by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | November 04, 2014
From the August 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
“The only things that are outsourced are CAD systems, the treatment planning systems and anything that has a hot radioactive load,” says Joe Kaminski, director of imaging services at Geisinger Health System. “We generally go the OEMs because it’s purely software driven and they make sure the software is up-to-date. In that case, the OEM is your only option,” he says.
With just those systems outsourced, he estimates in-house probably takes care of about 90 percent of the equipment service. For parts, again while they might go to the OEMs for hard-to-find newer components, generally they have staff hit the open market to find parts. “We rely on our engineers when we can. Our sourcing team also hunts for parts when the model number is straight forward.”
Kaminski says the overall part spend has gone up over the past three years, but not because of an increase in parts costs, but rather because of an increase in the size of Geisinger and the increased demand for parts. But he maintains that they work hard to drive the total cost of ownership down. They do this in part by managing well from cradle to grave.
Kaminski says they not only manage the equipment, but they also manage their own assets in the department and are not interested in employing the services of an outside asset manager or insurance company. “Did it once, got burned , won’t happen again,” he says.
Parts and service – and that’s the full story
While the OEMs, ISOs and providers all have agendas,
during the course of our research and interviews, we discovered some trends and themes that run throughout the parts and service sector.
Several people from each segment stressed the fact that price should not be the only consideration and not necessarily even the largest consideration, when it comes to determining the best service contracts or parts buy for your facility. Hospitals that aggressively pursue cost-cutting without considering the result of those actions may ultimately spend more if they’re not adequately covered for equipment maintenance or repair.
On the flipside, hospitals pursuing a “business as usual” line of thought may be overspending on service contracts for machines that aren’t worth the maintenance expenditure. It’s a balancing act that requires hospitals to do their homework to get educated about exactly what they need and what they should be paying to get those services and materials.
While hospitals do often turn to group purchasing organizations for supplies and services, that seldom seemed to be the case when it comes to parts and service maintenance, with only a brief mention of GPOs by one interviewee who speculated that those organizations may make a move into the sector in the future.