4 MRI Service Strategies You Should Know About
MRI systems are not only very expensive pieces of equipment, they are also relied upon by physicians to help accurately diagnose and treat any number of conditions. It’s important to have a service agreement in place that will ensure optimal performance of your MRI and will cover routine maintenance, cryo-refrigeration, repairs and part replacement when needed.
There are two main options when it comes to MRI service agreements. You can get one through the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or through a third party that specializes in MRI service. Some hospitals, medical centers and healthcare systems may bypass getting an MRI service agreement through one of these two sources if they have an in-house engineering service department that can handle their MRI-related service needs.
However, if you don’t have an in-house engineering service department, your options are typically between an OEM or a third party service agreement. When shopping for the right service provider, you’ll need to know the standard service deliverables the MRI service agreement contains, what you should look for, and what your options are before you decide to sign a service agreement.
What Are MRI Service Agreements Made Of?
Don’t just sign an MRI service agreement with the first service provider you come across, even if it’s the OEM. Not all service agreements are the same, which means that one agreement may offer services not covered by another. For example, the agreement may cover preventative maintenance, but not repairs. Be aware that service agreement deliverables can vary widely from one agreement to another.
Preventative maintenance is essentially scheduled inspection and tune-up of the MRI system. It’s a service you will want to make sure is included in your contract. This is because preventative maintenance can help to catch problems you weren’t aware of, allowing them to be fixed before they have a major impact on the function of your MRI. You could save a significant amount of money on system downtime and repair costs with regular preventative maintenance, and it is likely to extend the life of your MRI.
Telephone vs One-site Response
While a 24-hour hotline will be extremely helpful for facilities that are open 24 hours a day, you’ll want to look for a service provider that is able to offer a timely on-site response. Some service providers may attempt to deal with whatever problems you’re having with your MRI over the phone first. While some technicians may be able to figure out what the problem is by hearing a description of it over the phone, a more accurate diagnosis of the MRI’s issues can be made by troubleshooting the problem in person.
Upgrades and Replacements Parts
A good MRI service agreement will include part replacement coverage, meaning if a part cannot be repaired and must be replaced, they will do that as part of your contract. Some agreements also cover upgrades to your MRI machine, so if a part needs to be replaced, it can be replaced by a newer component that will potentially improve the function of your MRI.
Why Implement Service Agreement Strategies in Your Facility?
More and more hospitals are opting to go with 3rd party service providers rather than OEM’s due to more flexible and cost effective contract options. What many hospitals are realizing is that you can customize your contract, allowing you to not only save money, but to add services you need and remove services you don’t need, thereby getting the most out of what you pay.
You could also choose to not sign a service contract at all and just pay for whatever services you need on a time and material basis. This could end up costing you significantly more than you think. You’ll have to pay full price for whatever labor and parts are needed, and there’s a possibility you’ll need to deal with several different companies. By purchasing a service contract, you will streamline your services and save time and money.
Keeping all of this in mind, the following four strategies can help you get the most out of your chosen MRI service contract.
1. Multi-Year Service Agreement
There are many benefits to signing a multi-year service agreement. By investing in a service agreement, you are provided with peace of mind that not only will have support, but you’ll also save money in the event that something goes wrong with your equipment. In addition, you’ll receive a discounted price on the agreement, and eliminate the need to go through the negotiation process every year.
2. Multi-System Service Agreements
Many third party companies provide service for a wide variety of hospital equipment from multiple OEM’s. This means that if you have a CT scanner in addition to your MRI system, you might be able to get a discount on a service contract that provides coverage for all of your systems.
3. Customize Your Service Agreement
Some providers do not advertise the fact that your service contract can be customized. In fact, many do not offer this as an option. But that doesn’t mean you can’t ask. Many service providers will be willing to customize your contract to some extent to win your business. Customizing your contract can include asking to have certain services you don’t need to be replaced with services that you do need. Other custom options include response time and uptime commitments and service coverage hours. Work with the service provider to customize a contract that meets your specific needs.
4. Take Full Advantage of Your Service Agreement
MRI service contracts are expensive (some contracts can cost upwards of $120,000 a year or more) and it’s easy to understand why. MRI systems are expensive and complex, which means your service provider needs highly specialized training and the MRI parts are often difficult to repair and expensive to replace.
When you sign your service contract, be sure to take advantage of everything it has to offer. This not only means scheduling regular preventative maintenance as well as requesting repairs when needed. You should get the absolute most out of your contract before.
Be Smart About Service Agreements for the Health of Your Hospital and Your Patients
Your hospital depends on your MRI system to accurately diagnose and treat your patients. Considering how much of an investment your MRI was, it’s important that you do everything you can to protect that investment. While signing an MRI service contract can help you save money and provide high-quality service and coverage, it’s important that the contract meets your hospital’s specific needs.