Aradiation machine goes on the fritz during a patient’s treatment. A da Vinci surgical robot glitches out in the middle of a procedure. The defibrillator goes quiet during resuscitation.
These events can’t happen. And outside of rare scenarios, doctors and nurses aren’t trained to service these machines.
Servicing machines in the medical field is more mission-critical than almost any other industry: Without working equipment, people’s lives are on the line. And there are huge financial implications at stake when talking about investments in multi-million dollar machines whose usage dictates revenue for the organization. A down machine equals lost billings.
Enter medical field service technicians, the people keeping dialysis and radiation therapy machines and even hospital beds functioning up to the standards that patients and their physicians expect.
Technology and cloud-enabled service keeps equipment streaming data and “talking” at all times, helping manufacturers identify patterns of outages and anticipate when they might occur next.
Why manufacturers need to stay at the forefront of service equipment, and how it’ll pay off:
1. These assets are counted on to save lives—so they better work.
Medical devices are expensive and often unique. A manufacturer like Elekta might only have 1500 installations of a machine—there isn’t another machine for hundreds of miles—and even just a few minutes of outage could cost a hospital greatly. So manufacturers must guarantee these expensive machines continue to stay up and running.
More importantly, as Internet of Things technology gains adoption in the medical device space, it is totally changing the dynamic between manufacturer and medical facility. Through IoT-laced equipment and remote machine monitoring, a manufacturer can now guarantee uptime on medical machines. That means it’s no longer simply selling a product; it’s about guaranteeing an outcome. Be it hours of usage, X-ray output or another desired outcome, hospitals and doctors no longer need to worry about outages or calling in for service and can instead focus solely on patient well-being.
2. Regulations and rules force the industry to take data seriously.
The medical industry is highly regulated. Insurance firms, government directives and legalities keep the industry on guard when it comes to data collection and reporting. That kind of exposure has carved out a major opportunity for medical manufacturers in creating their equipment—and a major upsell to the industry.
By outfitting medical equipment with sensors and data collection capabilities, manufacturers can provide valuable information on how well they’re serving patients in the area. The metric-oriented medical industry is the perfect template to innovate around, with service technology as the catalyst for finding new ways of tracking activity and outcomes. As this service tech continues to advance, it will be smart for these medical manufacturers to stay abreast and on the cutting edge of building it into their machines to better take care of patients.
3. Make it a win-win for both sides.
There are major tangible benefits for medical-device manufacturers themselves when modernizing service. Manufacturers want to help their customers serve patients as best as possible over the course of every machine’s lifetime—and that can be done through increasing uptime, guaranteeing reliability and servicing machines quicker and more efficiently.
An IoT sensor on a hospital machine can report outages immediately after (if not before) they happen, allowing manufacturers to service machines at exactly the right time, which helps customers give essential treatments to patients and in turn makes manufacturers indispensably involved in saving lives.
It is a natural win-win situation and a shared investment in a positive outcome that can be strengthened through greater service technology.