Healthcare is an extremely competitive industry, and anything that gives you an edge over the clinic on the other side of town may seem like a major advantage. But deep down, we all know it is the people using your equipment to serve patients that makes the real difference, not the technology.
Examining your options for EOL imaging equipment
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting the latest imaging equipment in your healthcare facility, that strategy may not be feasible for every organization. There are many reasons to keep older medical imaging devices around, even after the OEM stops supporting it.
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Avoiding system downtime is crucial for any medical imaging department. A slightly older piece of radiography or fluoroscopy equipment, for example, could serve as an adequate backup for when your main system has an issue requiring service. This ensures you can continue to scan patients uninterrupted, and you won’t lose them to another clinic.
The idea that it will be difficult to service and maintain imaging equipment that has reached EOL is a bit of a falsehood in many cases.
Look beyond the OEM for assistance with service, parts and support for EOL imaging devices.
Think of the automotive world as a comparison. There are many more independent auto mechanics with experience working on 2010 or 2015 models of a vehicle than those who can fix the newest versions on the market. It’s also more likely that there will be a larger supply of affordable parts for those older vehicles.
It works the same way in medical imaging. Independent service organizations likely have imaging engineers who know how to service EOL equipment quite well, and your options for sourcing quality-assurance tested replacement parts from providers with a low DOA rate are also good.
Be wary of OEM sales reps who try to convince you that only their people can service and maintain your imaging equipment. This may be true for brand new systems, but there is a network of capable medical imaging professionals and independent partners who can help you get the most out of your equipment investments.
Some of those people may already be working for your organization. With the right training and access to technical support, biomedical engineering technicians (BMETs) can learn to troubleshoot basic problems and conduct regular preventive maintenance on imaging devices.
The choice is yours to make. You can constantly chase the latest technology, or you can be strategic about when you purchase new imaging equipment. If you take advantage of a network of partners and in-house talent, a good piece of medical imaging equipment could provide value for 20 years or more. There certainly is life after EOL when you have access to trusted resources.
About the author: Ken Hable, MD, BSRT is director of engineering and training at Technical Prospects
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