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Finding the right OEM service partner

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 08, 2022
Parts And Service
From the August 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

“What a biomedical group might need may not be aligned with the clinical team’s needs within an organization, and the information security and technology teams might have distinct needs as well,” said Rob Stevens, service operations leader for Philips North America. “The groups must all work together to make sure that the service deliverables fit the needs of the entire facility rather than just one department.”

Service contracts should be updated regularly, with OEMs guiding providers on servicing needs throughout the entire lifetime of their equipment, including options for when it surpasses its end-of-life and is no longer serviceable by the manufacturer.

“Medical device life cycle management addresses topics like product security, software standardization, clinical education, workflow efficiency, and of course corrective maintenance,” Stevens said. “Philips technology management plan services can help providers plan life cycle management strategies to ensure the equipment in their health delivery organizations reliably delivers the best clinical results for patients.”

While usage can be extended, eventually all devices must be replaced. OEM servicers should facilitate this in an efficient and affordable way for the provider.

“When equipment reaches the point where it cannot be effectively serviced anymore, we will work with customers to find the best solution for them,” said Mohamed El-Demerdash, president of healthcare services U.S. and Canada at GE Healthcare. “In some cases, this includes giving them low-cost upgrades to get their equipment up to a point where it can be serviced better.”

Training in-house personnel
Shrinking margins have made providers more self-sufficient, adopting a do-it-yourself attitude for repairing equipment. As a result, many are increasingly relying on in-house service teams and training programs they develop for staff. Knowing what’s beyond in-house capabilities enables manufacturers to tailor their agreements in ways where the provider can leverage their services fully where they are most needed.

“Many HTM healthcare organizations can manage about 70%-80% of their service events,” said El-Demerdash. “When you start looking at that, you need to consider the parts of the service agreement that need productivity tools, special technology, and backup support. We will provide that for them.”

It’s no secret that many healthcare providers are currently experiencing a shortage of personnel that includes service technicians and biomeds. With many reaching retirement age, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be 3,000 unfilled BMET positions by 2029. The COVID-19 pandemic has added further strain, contributing to earlier retirements and leaving providers struggling to fill vacancies.

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