Since pioneering the “Migrating Ultrasound Service to In-House” program in 2006, Conquest Imaging has implemented dozens of programs across the country with aggregated savings of millions of dollars. These plans are all customized to individual organizations and predicated on inventory, warranty/contract status, personnel, support philosophy and clinical department and C-suite buy-in but have a few components in common.
The best way to begin to save money is to look for ways to eliminate, or at least mitigate, unnecessary costs early in the transition. This process begins with an analysis of status all warranty and contract expirations so an inspection can be scheduled for 30 days or so prior to loss of coverage. Typical inspections uncover a high percentage of defective probes as well as user interfaces, transducer interface boards, power cords and main displays. This is not a knock on the OEM as they do a fine job, but it may have been 3-6 months since their last visit and a lot can happen in that time. Also, a lot of those issues go unreported by busy sonographers. These issues are then reported to the provider for resolution.
Next, we want to evaluate probe care and handling in all departments by visiting each one to meet department staff and discuss how probes are handled, stored, transported, cleaned, disinfected and utilized. This is absolutely critical to any successful program and should not be underestimated! It is extremely rare for me to not find many ways clinical departments can improve their probe care and handling processes during these in-depth evaluations.
Training is another critical piece and provides organizations with the tools and knowledge to perform a true preventative maintenance which actually does prevent, or at least minimize, system failures and downtime. We have developed and teach the most comprehensive preventative maintenance process in the industry which also meets or exceeds all accreditation and regulatory organization standards.
The program continues into additional phases but it is the beginning or foundational stage I wanted to focus on in this column as it demonstrates the underlying philosophy of a true partnership when it comes to choosing an organization to assist with migrating support in-house: Focus on cost prevention and mitigation first and then build your program upon this foundation.
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