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Key considerations for picking medical imaging parts and service providers

August 23, 2019
Parts And Service
From the August 2019 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

ISO inconsistency
There are many knowledgeable and reliable third-party service providers who can send proficient imaging engineers to a healthcare facility on short notice.

It is, however, important to understand that there are a wide range of ISOs in operation. Some are large groups and others are individuals available for hire. There are even organizations that can staff your clinic with permanent, outsourced support. Some ISOs have their own supply of replacement parts. Others order from parts providers, perhaps seeking the best price. It’s possible that an ISO could order replacement parts from the OEM at full-price, only to charge you an additional markup.

Again, working with partners who provide both reliability and transparency cannot be understated. And, OEM engineers are certainly not the only ones capable of servicing imaging equipment. In many cases hospitals are even training biomedical engineers to fulfill basic service requirements, such as routine preventive maintenance procedures.

Finding the right parts provider
An expert imaging engineer can’t complete the job if the replacement parts he or she orders fail to work properly. That’s why every engineer and ISO needs a dependable parts supply chain.

A common misconception is that parts from the OEM are always brand new and parts from a third-party provider are always used. In fact, new parts are often available from parts providers, including new X-ray tubes.

It’s worth asking service organizations and field service engineers where they source their medical imaging parts from, especially if you already have an idea of who you can trust to provide quality, a fair price, timeliness and support. There are several factors you can use to evaluate parts providers.

Dead-on-arrival (DOA) rates
An easy way to get an idea of the quality you can expect with parts from a third-party is to get their DOA rate. This metric is a measurement of replacement parts that are sent back to the provider because they don’t work once installed.

Look for a DOA rate that is well below five percent. You can even find medical imaging parts providers with a lower DOA rate than the OEM. That may seem surprising, but another thing my former colleague explained was that sometimes OEM field service engineers return parts from a job that weren’t needed or didn’t work, and details fall through the gaps. Instead of testing the parts that get returned to the manufacturer, they go right back into inventory only to cause problems the next time they show up at a site.

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