Any facility that uses medical imaging equipment has to determine their own appetite for risk when it comes to system maintenance. Some prefer more expensive, comprehensive coverage that provides a plan for all contingencies. Others are willing to assume the majority of their equipment risk and manage their maintenance and its costs as they are needed. Still others choose a service arrangement somewhere in the middle, with coverage that balances cost with peace of mind. The question is, what concerns you more: paying for coverage benefits you may not have to use, or having to cover 100% of the cost of a major part and/or emergency repair?
Wherever you and the team at your facility may fall on this risk appetite spectrum, there are flexible service offerings available to you from independent service organizations (ISO). To help you gain a better understanding of the options you have on the ISO market, we'll share the service programs Block Imaging offers as an example below.
Time and Materials
This type of service is on the high-risk end of the spectrum. The facility accepts the full cost of all replacement parts and engineer labor and spends only when they need them.
Time and materials service has the potential to be the least costly type if a system has few or no problems in a given time period. It also has the potential to be the most costly in the event of a major parts failure (e.g. an MRI magnet quench or a digital detector failure). While we typically recommend more inclusive types of coverage with a known monthly cost, a reputable ISO can still help resolve issues as they arise and invoice you as service is needed.
As the name implies, this type of service is an agreement that spreads the cost of preventive maintenance (PM) across the whole year. It's still relatively high risk, as the facility is responsible to cover the cost of replacement parts, but regular maintenance does significantly reduce the likelihood of unexpected system issues.
Under a PM only plan most providers will also handle scheduling your maintenance for you. This plan can be a good fit for low to moderate volume facilities on smaller modalities like C-arms.
A shared risk service agreement is a sort of middle ground for imaging equipment service. Certain items are included as a baseline, like a PM, glassware, or 9-5 labor. For parts and service beyond those items, a facility will pay toward a deductible. Once the deductible is met, the provider takes over the costs.
Note: plans like this are frequently nuanced and sometimes offered on a limited basis only.
This plan represents the least amount of risk for an imaging facility, but the highest amount of known cost. Under a full service plan, all engineer labor, travel expenses, and replacement parts are covered 100% by the service provider. If you operate at a high patient volume, downtime can be much worse for you than at a moderate volume facility. In situations like these, full service is recommended.
Every type of imaging equipment service comes with its own risk/reward proposition. Regardless of where your particular risk appetite lies though, the independent service market is flexible in accommodating. If you're looking for a plan that meets you where you are, our team is ready to guide you through our options. Click on the banner below to let us know what you're looking for and how we can help you find it.
Written by Chris Kinnas
Chris Kinnas is the Service Account Executive 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.