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Finding the right OEM service partner

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

For an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) to provide efficient service, they must know what the healthcare provider customer wants and needs, both now and in the long-term. Unlike traditional models that focused on break-fix support, service today should be customized to a facility’s operational and care delivery requirements, both clinically and financially.

To achieve that, OEMs must know the role that each device plays for a provider, as well as understand the demands of its patient population, budget constraints and staff needs, and more. In fact, the more information the OEM has, the more personalized its service will be and in turn, the better the equipment will be to help the provider provide its desired level of care.

“Rather than just selling a service contract that fixes a device quickly, it’s about aligning our service delivery to the outcomes that our customers are trying to achieve, like patient satisfaction and reducing operational costs,” Matthew McCallum, vice president of service management for the United States for Siemens Healthineers, told HCB News.

At the same time, OEMs must be flexible and able to adapt services as technology advancements, shrinking margins, labor shortages, and other variables change the ways providers utilize equipment. Along with McCallum, HCB News sat down with a few OEM service leaders to discuss how they are addressing these challenges, as well as how manufacturers and providers can collaborate for service agreements that produce optimal outcomes for patients.

Knowing equipment’s value
Make sure your OEM service partners know what resources and capabilities you need, and what you don’t. For instance, a hospital with an in-house team may only require a plan for parts supply rather than one that incorporates labor as well. This not only saves the provider from paying for an extra service it does not need but gives the OEM an understanding of where it can best assist the organization.

“With us, customers can choose plans that provide only the capabilities they require. Examples of options include shared risk, labor only, and parts only,” said Jatin Thakkar, general manager of global services and solutions at Carestream. “We also have ‘as needed’ services that include technology consultation, site planning, professional equipment handling and DICOM interoperability/integrating the healthcare enterprise services.”

Deep dives into a provider’s install base can help the service team understand the level of importance each piece of equipment plays in a facility’s care delivery, allowing them to prioritize service requests based on the criticality of the system. In anticipation of that analysis, hospital department heads should discuss their needs with one another, as well as their risk tolerances, equipment uses and staffing requirements.

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