MedWrench recently spoke with Matt Tomory, Vice President of Sales & Marketing from Innovatus Imaging, about trends that they are seeing in the imaging device industry.
Mon Aug 24 2020
What are some of the trends that you are seeing in the service industry?
One trend that we are seeing is an increased number of healthcare organizations, as well as individual facilities, researching and qualifying potential service providers. This may be in the form of formal RFP’s (Request for Proposal) or merely wanting to make very well-informed purchasing decisions. With all the information available online about various service providers for biomed professionals and consumers of healthcare, purchasers can easily compare reputations, first-time fix rates, quality of care and so much more. No one is immune to this trend which will continue to grow given the ease of access to information from organizations that grade healthcare providers, hospitals, and professional service vendors for facilities.
Why do you think this is trend is occurring within the industry?
I speculate that one reason is the increased attention on the right to repair legislation and past discussions surrounding potential regulation of third-party repair. Healthcare organizations want to be assured they are making the best decisions for their patients and their businesses, in that order. Other reasons could be that individuals, or the health system at large, may have had too many bad experiences with providers they thought they could trust, received negative feedback from end-users, excessive warranty claims, and so on. We’ve all experienced less than ideal service at one time or another. With all the third-party reporting organizations, and information available to anyone at any time, we can do a little research to avoid big mistakes.
Shouldn’t healthcare facilities be able to trust repair providers in today’s market?
When the legacy organizations, that formed Innovatus Imaging, entered the repair market, there were only about 2-3 companies offering ultrasound probe repair. If you do a Google search for “ultrasound probe repair” today, there are over 8 million results but well over 100 companies offering some level of probe repair. Since the third-party repair industry is not regulated, how does one choose? What is the quality standard to which these hundreds of organizations subscribe? Truth is, there really isn’t one. Healthcare organizations may actually increase their potential risk when choosing a third-party repair solution.
But isn’t Innovatus Imaging a third-party repair provider?
We are, but we are also an OEM (original equipment manufacturer). Many people are unaware that Innovatus maintains an FDA registered manufacturing facility for ultrasound transducers, transducer arrays, and other ultrasound-related products and that all of our facilities utilize an ISO 13485:2016 certified quality management system. A segment of our manufacturing division is dedicated to contract manufacturing. Simply put, we manufacture finished medical devices and supply them to larger OEMs. Another portion of our manufacturing division is to support our repair center with functions such as qualifying components, material selections, and testing processes.
So how would a healthcare organization, individual facility, or even a sole technician begin to vet a third-party repair provider for ultrasound products?
It’s of utmost importance to assemble the right team and for that team to have an openness to learn more about the products. Secondly, it’s about asking the right questions as well as providing test scenarios to make sure you have an apples-to-apples comparison. Additionally, reducing the priority of cost as a determination. For larger healthcare organizations, and those within asset management, an in-person tour of the repair facility is a must. Travel budgets are limited, but technology isn’t. If in-person isn’t available, insist on a live video tour using an app like Apple’s Facetime or Microsoft Teams. Have your contact walk outside and show the facility’s exterior. Continue by walking around the interior having him/her highlighting the important aspect of their facility and their various teams.
What are some of the differences between repair providers?
Many facilities are in search of a one-stop-shop for everything ultrasound…meaning a provider who provides service and parts for the scanner as well as probe repair. This reflects a business model similar to the OEM. The fact is, a good percentage of large OEM’s sub-contract probe manufacturing to specialty manufacturers with high levels of engineering and expertise, such as Innovatus Imaging, to help fill a void with a cost-effective partner. In most cases, large OEM’s merely have the resources in place to manage the entire product and its lifecycle, thus requiring outside experts with specialty knowledge. For example, the scanners, its software, and the probes are specialties unto themselves. Knowing that piece of information should help purchasers realize that probe repair is much more of a specialty than originally thought.
What is one statement that summarizes this process?
Technology matters. Seek out providers who are experts and innovators with respect to their service offerings. Discover the technology, the processes, and the expertise that define the organization and the products they deliver to you and your patients. Ask who developed their technology, how it is tested, qualified, verified, and validated, and what they are doing to continuously improve.
How can Innovatus help those seeking to qualify a potential repair partner?
We wish that every potential customer could visit our facilities. Those that have, have become true-believers in our reputation as the technical pioneer in the probe repair industry. The reality is that operating budgets are shrinking, travel is currently risky, and ultrasound is just one small portion of an organization’s service budget. In that effort, we are holding a virtual open house. We are opening the doors to our Center of Excellence for Design and Manufacturing in Denver and our Center of Excellence for Ultrasound Repair in Tulsa. We invite you to take a technology journey with our recently released video and see for yourself what’s behind products and repairs from Innovatus Imaging.
Learn more about Innovatus Imaging, here.