by Sean Ruck
, Contributing Editor | November 04, 2014
From the August 2014 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Keeping true to the source
“When preventative maintenance, repair or repair replacement is completed through KARL STORZ, or any OEM, the product warranty is assured and, in some cases, the warranty clock restarts to ensure maximum protection for your repaired devices,” says Jeffrey Yates, group marketing manager, Protection1 for KARL STORZ.
According to Yates, only KARL STORZ technicians can restore the company’s products to their original factory specifications, thus ensuring optimal performance according to the instructions for use (IFU) that are supplied with the devices when they are new.
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Yates warns that repair of those products by an ISO may void indemnification by STORZ, or at least limit any guarantees previously in effect, depending on what repairs or modifications were done. “More importantly however, is that the IFU provided with the device is no longer valid,” Yates says.
He suggests that any facility utilizing third party repair options get validation in writing that states the devices repaired can be cleaned and sterilized using the reprocessing instructions they provide and will perform according to the specifications of a new device.
The company has field service technicians available throughout most of the country to carry out minor repairs, exchange rigid and flexible endoscopes, provide preventative maintenance service and conduct in-service education programs for staff. Onsite technicians are another option. The obvious benefit they deliver is the immediacy of support.
The company also offers customizable service and no-fault service plans and asset management programs.
Yates acknowledges that the impact of the Affordable Care Act on hospital spending has still yet to be fully realized, but capped operating budgets and tight restriction on capital dollars will likely be with us well into the future.
Therefore, while tempting, Yates believes it is critical for hospitals to weigh the balance between short-term savings through independent repair services versus long-term savings that can be realized through a comprehensive service and repair contract. That decision can also have repercussions for patient care. Yates cites ECRI Institute’s top ten patient safety concerns for 2014 as proof of the risk, with inadequate reprocessing of endoscopes and surgical instruments making that list.
When a facility is considering repair options by non-OEM service providers, Yates suggests they ask the service organization these questions: