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How COVID-19 led to OEM service advancements

by Lisa Chamoff, Contributing Reporter | August 09, 2021
Parts And Service
From the August 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

As COVID-19 vaccines roll out and the world eases into a new normal, all industries are building on lessons learned during the pandemic.

For imaging equipment manufacturers, who have had to adapt their service offerings to new standards, this means more of a reliance on virtual training and troubleshooting, continuing to advance remote monitoring and shoring up cybersecurity.

Some manufactures are resuming in-person training, in order to best prepare service technicians for the real world — but with some changes.

Virtual is reality
The pandemic has led to some companies expanding their remote offerings.

Andrea Weaver, director of national clinical applications for Canon Medical Systems, said that during the pandemic, the company developed a two- to three-day remote training that provided an overview on the system interface with customer interaction.

“The success of this training prompted us to review other possible remote training options, which lead to the creation of a remote upgrade training along with remote Phase 3, follow-up training. Due to the success of this training we will be adding these as purchasable options to the price book.”

Canon also utilized FaceTime and remote desktop access to view the customers’ systems and walk them through resolving issues.

“This has continued, which is instrumental in expediting a resolution and reducing travel expenses,” Weaver said. “When it comes to service training, the team did a great job in converting material and content into online modules, virtual classes, and online prerequisites. The good thing about this is that we have now created a culture of online learning before coming to the Center for hands on education. This will now allow for engineers to be out of their zones less, and in training for a shorter duration at the Center. The common theme is that change always accelerates under pressure.”

The shift to virtual support has been rapid in Latin America, where in February 2020, the remote resolution of equipment problems stood at 19.6%, according to Dawn Bruce, services and solutions delivery leader for Philips Canada. The current rate of remote resolution in Latin America is now 42%, according to internal data from Philips.

For example, a healthcare provider partner in Argentina that was located more than 600 miles away from field service employee support in Buenos Aires, reported one of its MRs was down during the COVID-19 outbreak. It was a complex failure, so Philips, working with remote employees, a field service employee, and the hospital’s biomed, used the remote monitoring system REACTS to detect a failure in the MR’s gradient power supply. In just an hour, the faulty part was identified and a replacement was ordered.

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