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How the coronavirus has impacted OEM service

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | August 31, 2020
Parts And Service
Interest in remote monitoring capabilities are on the rise. Photo courtesy: GE Healthcare
From the August 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

As the coronavirus pandemic has shifted hospital priorities and slowed the case volume at some imaging centers, equipment manufacturers have also had to respond by making changes to their service offerings.

OEMs are pivoting to virtual training and assistance and promoting the use of remote monitoring to predict and prevent outages. At the same time, they’re making sure their technicians, now more than ever, adhere to strict infection-control standards.

Virtual classrooms
Just as the pandemic has pushed more companies to embrace working from home, it has also accelerated quicker adoption of virtual support and training.

For Siemens Healthineers, this meant bringing a product to market sooner than anticipated.

The company was in the process of developing SmartCollaborator, which would allow its technical support team in North Carolina to provide support to customers over their mobile devices.

Matthew McCallum
“It allows us to augment the view,” explained Matthew McCallum, vice president of business management and marketing for customer services at Siemens Healthineers. “As they hold their smart device over a circuit board or panel of switches, the technical support team can use an artificial finger to circle and point to things.”

The technology was in the process of being adopted internally by Siemens Healthineers’ own engineers and they were discussing how customers might use it. When the pandemic hit, they decided to start offering SmartCollaborator to clinical engineers.

“We quickly realized when it happened we had to change our go-to-market strategy,” McCallum said. “It’s a way for us to provide very direct and hands-on support to customers.”

The company has also seen an increase in demand for virtual training content.

Dräger, which manufactures patient monitors, ventilators and anesthesia machines used for long term ventilation, all key equipment when treating patients with COVID-19, has been in a unique position when it comes to service.

While preventive maintenance, repair services and training on equipment such as ventilators requires a hands-on component, and migrating to online training has proved to be challenging, the company has joined forces with other global ventilator manufacturers to form a Ventilator Training Alliance (VTA) and has launched a remote anesthesia clinician support with Intensive Care On-line Network, said David Karchner, senior director of marketing in North America for operating room solutions, enterprise monitoring solutions and enterprise services for Dräger.

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