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

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

“Are they using OEM parts? Are they using refurbished parts? Are they using used parts?” he asked.

Providers should also inquire about the logistics of shipping and flying in parts and other forms of transport. They should also ask about a service provider’s network of field engineers. If nearby and able to access the part needed, these personnel can speed up replacement jobs.

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Additionally, service agreements for replacements can be intricate and should be evaluated thoroughly to determine if the provider is getting the best quality and benefits for their buck. In UIH’s agreements, tube replacements are unlimited for CT.

“We try to take the pressure off capital budgets by having this operational expense built into what we provide on the service side so that our customers can just focus on their patients,” said Bundy.

Stopping a problem before it starts
In the past, hospitals would alert their service provider about a CT scanner breaking down, and the company would often dispatch an engineer once to diagnose the problem and again to fix it. Engineers would often come back a third time or more to ensure the issue was resolved.

The introduction of remote monitoring has transformed this break-and-fix dynamic into a proactive and predictive one, in which service providers detect signs of trouble and schedule a visit to fix the problem before it occurs. They can also deploy the right engineer with the right specializations, training, and tools to address the issue the first and only time around.

Photo courtesy of Philips

GE HealthCare, for instance, offers Tube Watch, a program that utilizes predictive algorithms to determine the risk of tube failure in advance. The AI technology creates a virtual digital twin representation of the scanner that simulates real-world situations to identify potential failures for proactive parts delivery and service scheduling.

“It's a constant evolution of making sure that we continue to drive a better experience for our customers,” said GE HealthCare’s Chohan.

The timing of services, whether they be reactive, proactive, or predictive, is also essential to consider, as scheduled visits during working hours, no matter how much time it saves the provider in the event of a system failure or decommissioned scanner, still create unplanned downtime.

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