In the field of radiation oncology there is always a constant battle between bringing the best treatment options to patients while maintaining equilibrium to the budget. In this latest installment we will continue to look into strategies that can help medical facilities that are struggling to find ways to reduce oncology costs while working to maintain quality.
In our last article we looked into purchasing refurbished linear accelerators and CT scanners to reduce the initial expense of large scaled medical equipment. Today we will look in to two different cost saving ideas: using existing equipment longer and contracting independent oncology equipment repair specialists to repair and maintain radiology equipment.
When facilities hold off on large purchases, such as buying a linear accelerator, it allows them to allocate their budget into other areas such as patient care, facility upkeep and the medical team itself. The downside being that the latest technology available may not be in use. That issue can be addressed in numerous ways such as regularly updating equipment software and performing regular maintenance tasks. When performing these in conjunction with one another, facilities find that they can keep up with the upgrades found in newer equipment.
It is imperative that all equipment within the facility meets all of the manufacturer requirements for maintenance. When maintenance is being performed on any large or small oncology equipment it is necessary that it is done by individuals who have been trained to service the model that is in use. This is an absolute necessity. Not all radiology equipment is created equally and therefore need to be serviced by professionals knowledgeable of your exact models service maintenance requirements.
Another strategy that can be employed for reducing oncology costs is to hire an ISO to maintain and service equipment rather than locking into an unnecessary contract. An ISO can offer a substantial savings while ensuring service on demand at a lower cost. The upsides of hiring an ISO are plentiful. Not only can it save the facility money but time. Time is of the essence when maintenance or repairs are performed on large scaled medical equipment.
When hiring an independent service organization take time to ask the following questions to make sure that the priorities of the ISO are similar to those of your medical organization.
- What is the estimated response time to respond to service needs? Can they provide references to match their response?
- Are there any guarantees on response time?
- Is support available 24/7 Are there extra charges for after hour support? What type of training is done to provide technicians with the latest skills necessary in maintenance and repair for newer technology?
- Can we choose between using new radiology parts or refurbished components when repairs and maintenance are being performed on our linear accelerators, CT scanners and other radiology equipment?
- Is testing and calibration done in accordance to OEM standards? Will service history be documented and kept on file to ensure compliance with the OEM standards?
- What are the hourly service charges? Does the facility pay for travel time?
- How long has the ISO been servicing oncology equipment? Are FDA and state vendor regulations met?
It is important for hospitals, medical facilities and specialized radiation oncology treatment centers to look for ways to decrease expenditures without sacrificing patient care. Healthcare facilities must ensure that this is done in a manner that is compliant with industry standards while seeking to increase client satisfaction.
Radparts is the world’s largest independent distributor of OEM replacement parts for Linear Accelerators and Radiation Oncology equipment. We provide high quality, user friendly, low cost parts support for linear accelerators and radiation equipment. For more information on low cost parts for repairing Linac equipment find us at http://www.radparts.com.