News | May 05, 2010

Remote Imaging Equipment Services Cut Costs

May 5, 2010 - Automated links to equipment service providers are helping U.S. hospitals control the costs of maintenance and repair for their diagnostic imaging equipment.

IMV Ltd. surveyed 401 radiology and biomedical engineering managers from a bed-size adjusted sample of hospitals throughout located throughout the United States.

“For example, for hospital-based CT scanners with 64 or more slices, roughly 84 percent of service contracts cover remote diagnostics from the service provider. Perhaps more surprisingly, the service provider is actually able to repair equipment software remotely in two-thirds of such service contracts,” reported Mary C. Patton, director, market research at IMV.

The report also said radiology administrators and biomed managers saw remote diagnostics and software repair as helping them limit the high cost of visits by outside service engineers.

"At the same time, this trend necessitates greater involvement from hospital IT departments to enable permissions and security checks for service vendors to access hospital networks,” said Patton.

Another trend identified in the study was a movement toward shared service agreements with the in-house biomedical engineering staff taking the first service call.

"As a result, hospitals are trying to negotiate as much training for their in-house biomed staff as possible at the time of the imaging equipment purchase,” said Patton.

The report, entitled "2010 Diagnostic Imaging Equipment Service Arrangements: The Hospital Executive’s Perspective," provides insights into the size, composition, and trends in the U.S. market for hospital-based diagnostic imaging equipment service contracts for 10 modalities.

Other key findings of the report include:
• Onsite coverage contracted with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) still represent over 60 percent of all imaging equipment service agreements, despite available alternatives.

• The markets for service contracts covering general X-ray and ultrasound equipment are much less concentrated than those for other imaging modalities, such as CT and MRI equipment.

• Despite the growth of third-party parts providers for imaging equipment, no non-OEM parts vendor represents more than 15 percent of imaging equipment parts purchases.

For more information: www.imvinfo.com

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