Cardiology Roundtable - Nasiff

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Cardiology Roundtable - Nasiff

The RoundtableCardiology EquipmentIndustry expertsspeak upThis month, TechNation asks the experts about servicingcardiology equipment in 2010 and beyond. Luke Mayo,Siemens Healthcare’s director of service supportfor vascular imaging systems; Jennifer Esposito, GEHealthcare’s interventional service director; and MichaelMoore, director of sales at Nasiff Associates, Inc., all lendtheir insight.page 38 august 2010


Jennifer Esposito, GE Healthcare’s interventionalservice directorLuke Mayo, Siemens Healthcare’s directorof service support for vascular imagingsystemsMichael Moore, director of sales at NasiffAssociates, Inc.What are the biggest trends currently affecting theservicing of cardiology equipment?Jennifer Esposito: Customers are expecting increasingly morevalue from their service providers, especially when consideringa service contract. This means remote and proactive service,as well as additional offerings that are not necessarily relatedto “break/fix.” We are developing offerings around clinicalinformatics and clinical excellence. Additionally, increasinglymore customers are looking for help with building operationalexcellence and with compliance and reporting needs. Customersmay also be considering keeping their equipment longerand, therefore, want to be sure service providers can continueto maintain their systems well into the future.Luke Mayo: The biggest trend in cardiology service today is tobecome more predictive and, therefore, proactive in detectingequipment failures. Customers are becoming less concernedabout equipment downtime statistics and far more concernedwith the effect on workflow and the impact on patient care.Remote repair and troubleshooting, real-time system monitoringservices, and after-hour, onsite support are the future ofinterventional equipment service offerings.Michael Moore: There has been an increase of cardiologyequipment in the physician’s office and a growing demand forbundling solutions, eliminating the need to acquire standalonesolutions. The implementation of electronic medical recordsystems will also continue to contribute to growth.What are some of the biggest challenges ofservicing cardiology equipment?Esposito: Cardiology departments are busy; customersexpect us to be able to work around their schedulesand to respond quickly to their needs. Thismeans standard coverage hours that are more inline with the department, immediate technical support,and fast, onsite response times.Mayo: The biggest challenges are keeping up withthe latest technology. The high technology usedtoday in cardiology equipment necessitates higherproficiencies and educational needs of the serviceteam. The technology changes quickly, and weneed to stay ahead of it. We need to be looking fornew tools to maintain the technology – and newbreakthroughs that can improve patient care andcustomer workflow.Moore: Getting parts for older systems can be challenging.Repairs are getting more costly, and thetechnology for managing reports just isn’t there.Calibrating older, standalone, resting ECG andstress ECG equipment is necessary each year.1technation.com page 39


The RoundtableHow has the servicing of cardiology equipment evolved in recentyears? How do you think it will change in the future?Esposito: As technology continues to evolve, especially with more digitalproducts, service has needed to follow suit. This means maintainingremote connectivity to our systems and being able to provide remoteservice, including proactive and remote fixes. Our customers don’t wantto be impacted by any unplanned downtime or even the briefest interruptionduring a patient exam. This means robust and reliable systems aswell as technology tools that enable remote service experts to be alertedof potential issues before they become visible to our customers.Mayo: In the past, the industry service model was totally reactive: Waituntil the system had a failure and the customer contacted the vendor.Then, the system was typically unusable until a customer service engineerarrived onsite to troubleshoot and repair the system. As a result, asystem could sometimes be down for a day or more.Today, the equipment is far more sophisticated and complex, as are theprocedures being performed on the patient. A failure of the system duringa stent procedure, for example, brings far higher risk to the patientthan the relatively simple percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplastyprocedures that were more common in the past. When the systemis not available for cases, there is a strong impact on revenue. Long periodscan create backlogs of cases, or patients may be sent elsewhere forprocedures, both of which have an impact on the reputation of a hospital.Another thing to consider is that today’s interventional systems are farmore software-dependent and have a greater role in patient therapy thanin the past. These computer-based systems have inherent obsolescenceissues to contend with and the interconnections with HIS/RIS solutions,PACS, etc.Both patient care and increased equipment technology are drivingan evolution in service to predictive and remote models. We are alsoresponding by improving diagnostic and repair speed through the transitionto proactive service offerings. To counter the issue of obsolescence,equipment manufacturers are developing service programs to protectthe customers’ investment by updating the technology of the system andextending its service life.The future will see an increase in the remote model for service, plusa greater emphasis on professional services to help customers optimizetheir workflow.Moore: By migrating from standalone cardiology equipment to PC-basedcardiology equipment, servicing will become much more cost effective.With PC-based cardiology equipment, an office can use existing equipmentif they already have a computer or printer. If there is a problem,each component is separate and can be replaced with off-the-shelf computeror printer equipment. Digital technology is the future of cardiologyequipment.Do you have any insidertips for biomeds servicingcardiology equipment?Mayo: Biomeds today need tostay on top of their training.After all, the complexities oftoday’s equipment demandit. Biomeds should also partnerwith vendors, by takingadvantage of training opportunitiesthey offer in order tostay current, and by leveraginga close relationship withtechnical support engineers.Moore: Update as muchequipment as you can toPC-based equipment. Thatway, when you need partsfor repair, you can visit yourlocal computer store.What else do you want TechNationreaders to know about the cardiologyequipment industry?Mayo: The cardiology equipment industrytoday is working to improve systemthroughput by improving workflow andsystem availability. Using new technologies,we are able to expand thefunctionality and capabilities of theequipment into new areas of patientcare. Meanwhile, service is evolving toimprove the system availability, whileprotecting patient and operator safety,through innovations, such as lower doserates, while maintaining image qualityand decreasing the lifecycle costs ofthe equipment.page 40 august 2010

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