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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

“Before the pandemic some hospitals were reluctant to have remote connectivity or any remote operation, due to perceived privacy and security risks,” Bruce said. “Now it is a must. … We are now doing more proactive and predictive work remotely — equipment resolution, fixing, troubleshooting — rescheduling maintenance as required, while also having the ability to help manage system performance at a distance. And we are not sending employees to a site if it is not needed. For COVID-19, it is much better and safer to do it remotely.”

Training classes can also accommodate more students in a virtual setting.

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“People are a lot more hesitant to travel,” said Matthew McCallum, vice president of business management and marketing for customer services at Siemens Healthineers. “While there’s still a significant benefit to in-person training, we can allow more customers in the classroom when it’s virtual.”

McCallum said the company has taken the opportunity to look at the way people consume information and translated its technical training into virtual.

Some in-person changes are likely to continue.

During the pandemic, Canon Medical had to reduce class sizes to maintain social distancing, while being able to still accommodate customer demands.

“Prior to the pandemic, we would be able to teach at 8:1 ratio, but now had to reduce class sizes to 4:1 with a shorter duration course,” said Mona Farokhpay, director of education operations for Canon Medical Systems. “This has continued to work out well, and we have been able to provide our customers with even more of an individualized atmosphere of adult learning at the Education Center with more exclusive hands-on time.”

Moving forward, Philips is shifting to a mix of virtual and in-person training.

“In Canada alone, we delivered 4,000-plus virtual hours in demos and clinical training,” Bruce said. “We have also established local, bilingual technical training for biomeds and internal field staff to reduce cross border travel and enable our customers to learn in their language of preference (French/English) helping them avoid expense and time required to travel outside of Canada.”

Richard Fiore, director of US&C Field Service Delivery and Service Sales at Carestream, said the company increased its remote and virtual training, as travel to its training center in Rochester, New York was impeded by the pandemic.

“With the current technology there continues to be a need for some level of hands-on work in the classroom,” Fiore said. “However, we are exploring AI training applications and we are shifting to a more continuous hybrid training model, whereby we offer virtual training where it will meet customer needs as well as classroom training where it is necessary.”

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