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Biomedical perspectives: Q&A with Andrew Rich Discussing the ways biomedical engineering is evolving and the advantages major hospitals have when negotiating with OEMs

Experts talk third-party service and other HTM issues at AAMI A call for smarter collaboration and a level playing field in the equipment service industry

Tips for responding efficiently to equipment downtime Experts at AAMI discuss strategies to get back up and running

GE debuts VR HTM training technology at AAMI Lowers costs and eliminates need to travel to facilities for training

Glassbeam unveils AI anomaly detection for imaging modality maintenance Allowing better awareness for tube temperature, waterflow changes

Q&A with Christine V. Emery, the new executive director for the AAMI Foundation Changing the way we think about aging and staying healthy

Testing equipment gets modern upgrades, connectivity Touch screens and other enhancements make critical devices more user-friendly

How passive RFID for asset tracking can improve care delivery Insights from the front lines at Northern Westchester Hospital

FDA report opposes regulating third-party servicers Evidence for public health concern deemed 'not sufficient'

The time is now for HTM departments to shed legacy CMMS for cloud-based EAM solutions Asset management in the era of digital transformation

Planning a better future for OEMs and ISOs

By Robert J. Kerwin
From the May 2018 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

The renowned New York Times columnist and bestselling author of “Thank You for Being Late”, Thomas Friedman, notes that we may be living through one of the greatest inflection points in history. “The three largest forces on the planet – technology, globalization and climate change – are all accelerating at once.”

In light of these accelerating forces, many things need to be reevaluated. For IAMERS, and other imaging equipment stakeholders, Friedman’s observation raises the question: Can the relationship between independent servicers and manufacturers be reimagined and more mutually beneficial in the modern era?
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The current situation needs to be improved, and the argument that independent and in-house servicing practices are unsafe has been disproven. ECRI research has noted that servicing has been a contributing factor in less than .005 percent of incidences of maintenance-related failures.

Figuring out how to encourage market competition, while also ensuring patient safety and stronger communication across imaging stakeholders, is in the best interest of the healthcare ecosystem.

Hospitals need choices
If future manufacturer cloud-based platforms or government legislation succeeds in excluding independent and in-house teams from servicing, what happens to the ability of a hospital to choose servicers for the equipment it owns? Will there be an escalation of healthcare costs for rural and regional America? Will hospitals be able to afford to pay reported rates in some cases of almost $600 per hour with a four-hour minimum for service calls?

The cost saving that comes from market competition should not be understated when looking at hospital finances. The industry is aware of recent court and regulatory actions in both the U.S. and Europe to examine whether possible restraints of trade are occurring. Standard settings practices could possibly be scrutinized to the extent the standards exclude independent and in-house servicers. According to the FTC, trade associations are not themselves exempted from scrutiny to the extent they are determined not to be at least competitively neutral.

So how do we move forward in a way that encourages market competition and is satisfactory to all parties?

Cooperation with providing information
Some independent sellers and servicers (including in-house teams) experience constant stress over delays or refusals by equipment manufacturers to provide service keys, passwords, manuals and training. If patient safety is the top concern, then it seems that sharing this information with third-party service entities would be a way to help enhance it.
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