Scanning the CT tube technology and service marketplace

by Lauren Dubinsky, Senior Reporter | August 10, 2020
CT Parts And Service X-Ray
From the August 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Varex, which is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, is also seeing a spike in global orders due to the pandemic. The company’s global manufacturing facilities currently remain open and in operation, including its facility in Wuxi, China, which resumed normal operations in early March.

Big picture challenges for tube service
The question still remains: under normal conditions, is remote monitoring technology necessary? It’s something not everyone seems to agree on.
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Chronos’ Fitzgerald, who held positions at Richardson Healthcare, Dunlee, TREX Medical Corporation, Continental X-ray and Eureka X-ray Tube Corporation, doesn’t think the technology is worth the price tag.

“I know some OEMs are doing this and I’m sure their solutions work well, but for me, I would have to think twice before I used a solution like that if I had to pay a lot for it,” he explained. “Tubes are so much more reliable now than they used to be, and can last years.”

Jason Launders
Many OEMs offer remote monitoring services as an option when purchasing service contracts. Yet there are large hospital groups out there that refuse to have anything to do with it and will take the risk themselves, said Launders.

“Remote monitoring is essentially insurance, and if you are big enough then you can self-insure and save money that way,” he added.

Richardson’s Olsen acknowledges the benefits of remote monitoring, but also points to the challenges that in-house hospital teams may face when they want to do things themselves. He said sometimes OEMs don’t give control to individual hospitals because they want to maintain the software control.

“In some cases, remote diagnosis is not widely available to anyone but the OEM,” he added. “It’s not that the hospital wouldn’t like it — it’s that they either didn’t pay for it or it isn’t available to someone outside the OEM.”

Remote monitoring also comes with a learning curve. If a hospital has one CT scanner, that makes it difficult to learn; but if they have 20 scanners, then they start to learn the different characteristics of the scanners and tubes and how they typically fail, said Olsen.

In order to install a replacement tube, the in-house biomed needs to be trained on that specific CT platform. The OEMs can lock out those service features until the biomeds have gone through the proper training, said Launders.

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