Imaging equipment service is not a one-size-fits-all proposition, and comes with many questions.
What kind of service plan do I need? Is it better to take a stripped-down plan that costs less? Is it better to spend more and have a wider safety net?
While, we can't answer that question for you, we can help you better understand your options.
Below we'll compare two of our most popular service coverage types for medical imaging equipment: full coverage and preventative maintenance (PM).
Preventative Maintenance Plan (PM Only)
Medical systems have numerous parts that generate heat and cooling systems that pull in dust and debris. As parts heat and cool repeatedly and dust builds up over time, part failures become inevitable. These failures can result in down time and lost revenue- not to mention frustration from patients as they are forced to re-schedule. The good news is that many issues like this are preventable with some maintenance. That's where a preventative maintenance plan comes in.
Having a preventative maintenance plan (aka PM-only) is like having an agreement with a mechanic for regular oil changes on your vehicle; they need to be done to keep the machine operating at its peak, but anything else you need is billed separately.
A PM plan is low-cost and includes preemptive diagnosis to help identify and addressing potential issues before they become more serious, which in the long run saves you money.
Your plan covers having a service engineer come to your facility the OEM-recommended number of times each year to clean your system, run tests on its major components, and inspect it for emerging issues. You can choose to have quarterly, semi-annual, or annual preventative maintenance (PM) visits to suit your needs and budget.
This keeps your system running better and buys you time to plan for problems before they happen.
If, however, a non-preventable or sudden failure arises, the cost of parts and labor fall to you.
A full-service plan is like having full coverage auto insurance plus oil changes.
This type of plan covers preventative maintenance and rolls in parts, labor, and engineer travel expenses for repairs.
If the cost of your repairs in a given month adds up to more than the monthly cost of the coverage, it doesn't matter- it's still covered.
A full-service plan also grants access to a 24/7 service line, designates a service coordinator (a real, live person) to manage your account, and access to a nationwide engineering and parts network- all with one payment.
There are various payment options for full service. Selecting a monthly payment, for example, makes it easy to budget throughout the year.
Compared to a plan that leaves you more vulnerable to unplanned expenses, a full-service plan offers the most peace of mind and is our most popular.
Is Full Service or PM Right for My Facility?
Now that we've covered our two most popular service plans, how do you know which one to choose for your facility? While the answer is not a one size fits all solution, this is what we see with some Block Imaging customers:
Customers who choose PM Only plans have a higher tolerance for risk, and don't necessarily have wiggle room in their budget to spend any more than the cost of their recommended PM's. This plan can serve customers well who want the annual oil change without all the extra add-ons.
Customers who choose Full Service plans may have multiple systems, across multiple locations, have high patient volume, and want to work in parts, labor, and engineer coverage to their budget. While this plan type costs more month to month, they could save big time if their systems stop working and unplanned expenses arise. Again, think full coverage auto insurance plus oil changes.
While full service offers you far more protection than PM-only coverage, any service plan is better than none. Being “at risk” of equipment failure is challenging in a financial sense and can have ripple effects across an organization in both the short and long term.
No one can predict exactly when the next service event will happen, but we can work together to prepare ourselves with preventative maintenance and/or full-service coverage.
Contact our service team today to learn more about your service plan options, and which one will work best for your facility.
Chris Kinnas is a National Service Solutions Manager at Block Imaging. His goal is to see imaging facilities covered by the very best service for maximum equipment uptime. Outside of the office, he is a husband, a father of 4, and an avid Chicago sports fan.