From the August 2022 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Jatin Thakkar
The COVID pandemic drove several lasting changes in healthcare.
One that has a far-reaching impact is the accelerated transition to digital platforms. Patient care was delivered via telehealth. Radiologists did readings remotely. Administrators met virtually over Zoom. This transition to remote tools also extended to the service of medical imaging equipment. Let’s look at three areas that will continue to evolve over the next several years.
Remote repair becomes preferred delivery method
The most visible and strongest impact to equipment service was during the widespread and hard-hitting waves of COVID infections. Healthcare facilities went into lockdown with strict limits on access. Field engineers could no longer go on site and the adoption of remote repair services became a government-imposed necessity.
Short term, service organizations used readily available tools like video calls and remote login portals to provide basic functions. However, necessity drove the need to add more functionality to the equipment and service tools to enable enhanced remote diagnosis and troubleshooting, and virtual repair and service of many modules that did not need physical parts. As a result, more biomeds, radiology administrators, and others responsible for equipment experienced the benefit of faster response and resolution times enabled by remove repair. As a result, I believe remote service delivery will become the default first approach to resolution of equipment repairs.
More focus on proactive and preventive service
Medical imaging equipment remains an absolutely critical tool in the fight against COVID. For example, COVID-infected patients require daily X-rays to monitor their conditions and check placements of tubes and lines.
During peak waves of COVID, imaging equipment had to be running every day, every hour. It would be very disruptive to have it be offline for unscheduled maintenance during these peak times. This led to increased emphasis on proactive and preventive services to ensure all required maintenance was done at pre-scheduled down times to keep imaging equipment running optimally at all other times. This required continous monitoring of equipment, usage, and logs remotely. Building on existing secure connectivity, service providers are now increasing their proactive monitoring and real-time analysis to identify and correct issues before they cause downtime. Soon, these remote tools will integrate further with advanced AI routines to make more timely, and detailed predictions to help further minimize downtime.