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What OEMs want you to know before signing a CT service agreement

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 08, 2023
CT Parts And Service

Some engineers may only be familiar with a small number of specific modalities, while others may be trained on numerous, which can affect the quality of service they provide. For that reason, healthcare providers should ask for examples of qualifications, training, and certifications.

Most OEMs now offer customized service packages at different costs, giving facilities more control over what services to choose from, depending on their individual needs. Philips, for instance, now offers packages that involve strictly remote monitoring, or ones where it oversees both remote and physical servicing needs.

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“It really depends on the desire of the hospital as well as the capability and capacity that they have within the hospital engineering team,” said Maarten Leertouwer, services and solutions deliverability leader in CT at Philips. “But we can tailor that exactly to the needs of the hospital.”

OEMs also can train those in-house biomed teams on maintaining new equipment. What this training entails varies among service providers and should be a matter of discussion in negotiations. For instance, United Imaging Healthcare (UIH) trains in-house HTM teams at its international training facility in Houston alongside the company’s service engineers, and has a program called BioMed Training for Life where hospitals pay only once for a biomed to receive training. The engineer can then come back for refresher courses on specific CT scanners and other modalities without paying an extra fee.

“We treat those in-house or biomed teams like our own,” said Jeff Bundy, CEO of UIH. “They come to the same classes as our teams. They have the same access to our support infrastructure, tools, remote diagnostic tools, and more. The idea is, we're very flexible.”

Photo courtesy of Siemens Healthineers

Having access to quality parts
All service providers typically have warehouses and stocking ports of spare parts, such as tubes or brush rings, to replace faulty components in CT systems. According to Dr. Mark Lothert, head of product management for customer service for Siemens Healthineers, it is the quality of these parts that determines when the same repair will need to be repeated and affects the long-term productivity and maintenance costs for a CT scanner.

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