What Do Service Management Firms Need To Manage Complex Medical Systems

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With minimally invasive, laparoscopic surgeries proving more cost-effective and safe than open procedures, hospitals are developing more integrated operating rooms. That means sophisticated networks with video monitors, imaging equipment, camera-equipped endoscopes and even surgical robots.

Such operating rooms present field service management challenges and opportunities, according to an article on the TechNation website. With more integrated operating room systems, customers are expecting their vendors to have the tools to manage complex engagements.

Knowing how the different integrated pieces of equipment are tied together will be crucial to servicing and working with customer issues. These projects are like a computer network, except they have sensors inside the patient’s body.

Evaluating an integrated operating room is complex.

“The doctors want to get a good image on the monitor, the nurses want it to be easy to use and then clinical engineering and IT, because the nature of these systems, brings in this whole CE-IT angle,” says Tom Judd, national project director of Kaiser Permanente Clinical Technology.

Important considerations in planning and implementing integrated operating rooms include vendor support, software and system updates, Judd adds.

For field services in medical systems, project management software is essential. You can’t tie a complex implementation like that together with a string of work orders. Run the installation like a project and not a field services call.

When hospitals take a piecemeal approach to integrated operating rooms rather than bundled services from a single vendor, support issues increasingly become complex, explains Ryan Forde of the Mass General Department of Anesthesia with Partners Healthcare.

“If there are multiple vendors that will need to work together, it is very important to know which vendor is responsible for what and where the handoffs are, so that when things go wrong everyone knows how to do the troubleshooting,” Forde tells TechNation.

Shutting down an operating room can mean losing $10,000 every hour. Vendors should be prepared to tell their customers each of the following.

  1. How many digital operating rooms they have installed in the state.
  2. The number of support technicians available nearby.
  3. Average support time.
  4. How long it takes to solve common problems or replace components.

Source: TechNation, November 2012