Up and Running: Choosing the Right Equipment Service Option

August 1, 2011 | Evaluations & Guidance


How do you decide who should service your medical equipment? Should it be the original equipment manufacturer (OEM)? A third-party/independent service organization (ISO)? Or should your clinical engineering department take on some or all of the responsibility? The decision can be difficult, and all the relevant factors—such as cost and the level of support required—must be examined to compare their relative importance.

One effective way of making the decision is to create a matrix to organize and assess all relevant factors. Once all the necessary information has been gathered and the costs of each option have been projected, the hospital can use the matrix to evaluate the servicing options side by side. This will enable the hospital to identify differences among the options and to assess the significance of those differences, which can help make the decision easier.

In this article—the third and final in our series focusing on equipment servicing—we examine the decision process for selecting the type of service that’s right for your facility. It follows up on our June 2010 discussion focusing on using hospital technicians for the task (“At Your Service: The Ins and Outs of Servicing Equipment In-House”) and our March 2011 discussion on using OEMs or ISOs (“Calling for Help: Using Outside Parties for Equipment Servicing”). We provide a sample service analysis matrix to help hospitals get an idea of how to compare different factors when making servicing decisions. We also highlight the pros and cons of obtaining equipment maintenance insurance as an alternative to traditional service contracts.

Unfortunately, there is no formula that can automatically identify the best service option. The selection depends on a number of variables, including total costs, the criticality of the devices involved, and occasionally the characteristics of the hospital and the geographical area in question. And although a dramatic difference in total costs may appear to make the decision easier, each vendor’s response should be examined carefully to ensure that...

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