by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | August 02, 2021
From the August 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
There is a common misconception in healthcare that if a device is not serviced by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), then it’s not serviced correctly.
The reality is that most types of medical equipment can be maintained and repaired by a robust and competitive range of independent service organizations (ISOs) that can offer unique advantages due to their smaller footprint and singular focus on servicing.
Ultimately, this misconception contributes to wasteful spending in healthcare. Allan Klotsche, president and CEO of Alpha Source Group, a leading U.S.-based ISO that does business in more than 74 countries around the world, says hospitals overlooking non-OEM service options may be paying tens of thousands of dollars for a service that an independent can professionally perform for substantially less.
“Our engineers undergo a rigorous training program on similar equipment that we maintain in-house,” he told HCB News. “This allows us to be proficient with the equipment and test / repair parts on site that also are substantially lower in cost than original OEM parts.”
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When original equipment warranties expire, hospitals need to decide what they will do for ongoing service coverage. We sat down with some of the leading independent service entities to discuss the advantages their companies offer, how their offerings compare with those of the manufacturers, and tips for providers seeking to get the most out of their service contract agreements.
A singular focus on service and maintenance
Many independent service organizations specialize in maintaining multiple, diverse systems designed by different manufacturers. They can also often provide a wider range of services, provide vendor-neutral advice and have more flexibility to customize agreements to meet individual needs, says Rick Staab, CHTM, CEO of The InterMed Group, a boutique provider of health technology management services. “We provide the information for capital equipment purchasing needs based on our clients' specific budgetary and facility needs. We don't push a particular product. We treat this as a service to our customers and find what we believe is best and safest for their unique needs.”
Some ISOs even offer additional human labor, which can help with staffing shortages and save hospitals on the cost of retaining biomeds capable of servicing all equipment models, according to Bettyann Bird, senior vice president for Agiliti’s strategy and solution management division. “Rather than require costly contracts for full-time biomedical technicians on location, we provide flexible staffing options where technicians are scheduled for on-demand support, which can be mobilized from our more than 100 service centers across the country.”