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Decrease Equipment Downtime with an Independent Service Provider

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Decrease Equipment Downtime with an Independent Service Provider

Posted by Reza Koranki on May 10, 2021 4:58:19 PM
Reza Koranki
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Running a hospital department is not an easy task. There is a myriad of circumstances that can arise on any given day, and unlike many of your corporate counterparts, the decisions you make can have immediate life or death consequences.

While the board of directors and administrators provide oversight, the department directors are responsible for critical day-to-day choices, which suppliers to use, and how much of what budget goes where to name a few. This pressure and a determination to create an environment of excellence are the driving forces behind your decisions. 

Choosing a new service provider  is not a simple price-based decision. Instead, in the high-stakes field of medicine, it is an agreement that requires thoughtful consideration and a high degree of trust. The need for reliability often drives hospitals to choose big-name OEMs to maintain and repair hospital equipment, including MRI, CT scanners, x-ray rooms, portable x-ray equipment, ultrasounds, surgical beds, sterilizer equipment, and the UPS battery backups that support this equipment.  

However, independent maintenance providers are often better positioned to serve emergent and maintenance needs with greater efficiency, affectivity, and at a lower cost than an OEM.

Independent Maintenance Provides a Single Point of Contact

OEM providers are inherently tied to a single type of equipment. When your Hitachi MRI malfunctions, the Siemens technician that is on-site performing maintenance on your CT scanner cannot help. Instead, a separate work order must be initiated, creating an extra administrative burden and increasing downtime.

Contracting with an independent provider gives the hospital quick access to experienced engineers qualified to work on a wide variety of equipment. From x-ray machines to nuclear medicine rooms, an independent provider responds within hours or minutes to get equipment up and running and avoid patient rescheduling. 

On-Site Spares and Repairs

For most OEMs, the troubleshooting process begins on-site, which requires expertise there. This is especially true for rural hospitals that do not have technicians on-site to facilitate remote OEM troubleshooting. Arch Medical engineers have the experience and expertise to begin remote troubleshooting even without an experienced on-site technician. 

After walking through the malfunction with a hospital contact, Arch Medical ships a Hero Kit overnightl. The Hero Kit is a set of spares and hardware tailored to the most common causes of the presented failure. Whether there are three possible causes or eight possible causes, the engineer has everything needed to provide service restoration at the first visit. The hospital only pays for what is used, and everything else is returned to the supplier at no cost to the hospital.

No more rushing to meet next-day delivery cut-offs for spares. Instead, the problem is diagnosed and resolved at first touch.

Transparent Contractual Agreements

OEM purchases are complex agreements that include tens or even hundreds of pages. Too often, these purchase agreements include clauses that are not in the best interest of the hospital. Instead, they limit choices and may be misleading.

New equipment purchases most often include a one-year "bumper-to-bumper" OEM warranty. If anything fails within the first 12 months of ownership, the OEM restores the equipment to good working order with no additional charge to the hospital. 

After the initial warranty period ends, the hospital should be permitted to choose a service provider, whether OEM, independent, or third-party.  However, many hospitals unknowingly enter into a long-term, high-cost maintenance agreement when signing a new purchase contract. How? Often, OEMs include a maintenance agreement in the purchase of new equipment. The agreement requires that the hospital contract the OEM for maintenance and repairs for up to five years after the first year of ownership. The purchase of the equipment is not contingent on the maintenance agreement. Instead, it ensures that the OEM maintains an on-going relationship with the hospital and secures future revenue.

A common misconception is that the OEM is the only provider that can deliver service packs and upgrades. This is simply untrue. Service packs and upgrades can be installed and maintained by a knowledgeable independent maintenance provider. When the hospital purchases a new piece of equipment, the acquisition includes all future service packs and upgrades associated with the hardware. So, the hospital owns the upgrades and services packs. Not the OEM – which means it is up to the hospital to decide how they are administered.

More Than Just Maintenance and Repair

With more than a decade of experience auditing equipment and reviewing service-level agreements, Arch Medical is in a unique position to evaluate existing hardware and maintenance agreements to ensure that your department has the right mix of coverage and cost.

Our experts are not limited to single manufacturers or even by the type of equipment. Instead, we offer the full scope of medical equipment expertise. Arch Medical is there to support from maintenance and repair to retiring and refreshing equipment and even negotiating new equipment purchases. 

Our long-standing partnerships with OEMs, spares providers, and hospitals give us a unique depth and breadth of expertise that is unmatched in the industry. Reach out today to learn how Arch Medical can decrease equipment downtime in your facility.

Topics: Service Level Agreements, IT Maintenance, OPEX Savings


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