Service, Technology and the Health & Life Sciences Industry | Jolt Consulting Group

Most people are familiar and comfortable with service operations in everyday life, like calling a plumber to fix a leaky sink, contacting an HVAC contractor to clean the heating system, and emailing a computer tech to trouble-shoot a hardware or software issue.  However, service in the Health and Life Sciences (“HLS”) industry is rapidly evolving as companies strive to improve patient care in a highly regulated environment and skyrocketing cost of medical equipment.  For example, MRI machines today produce more detailed images than they did twenty years ago, however, now come with price tags upwards of $3 million.

 

The HLS industry is made up of a diverse set of companies from medical device manufacturers to patient care providers to device and parts distributors among many others.  Each company subset within HLS has its unique business model with unique set of requirements to provide superior service and patient care.  Fortunately, technology tools and software exist to support each business model and meet their industry trends and demands.  This article will discuss three company types, their unique requirements and the technology to support each.

 

  1. Medical Device Manufacturers
  2. Companies Providing Remote or Mobile Patient Care
  3. Medical Device Parts Distributors

 

Medical Device Manufacturers

 

Medical device manufacturers tend to have the traditional service model with the full breadth of service delivery requirements including technical support, service contracts, preventative maintenance/calibrations, schedule/dispatch, inventory management, mobility, etc. which is supported by a strong service management software infrastructure.

 

Unique to these companies is the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) regulation for a Unique Device Identification (“UDI”) for any equipment or devices that come into contact with patients.  Typically, a barcode, the UDI, is tied to a serial number and a unique service record, identifying the service and use of these devices over time.  This requires a strong mobile application that can easily bar code scan and electronically capture device readings/measurement history through complex checklist capabilities to ensure compliance and capture service history.

 

These manufacturers are implementing IoT and monitoring platforms to provide remote service/diagnostics and proactive monitoring of machine data to prevent equipment malfunction or downtime.  This technology infrastructure also supports their transition to a performance based service contract business model that focuses on outcomes the end customer desires, for example, an x-ray machine service provider guaranteeing a 99.9% x-ray machine uptime to a medical provider.

 

Core Service FunctionsTechnology
 

Service Contracts, Technical Support, Preventative Maintenance, Inventory

Service management platform capabilities.
Mobility 

 

Mobile application with bar code scanning and robust form/checklist capabilities.

IoT and Remote Diagnostics 

 

IoT technology integrated to the service management platform and data analytics.

 

Mobile and Remote Patient Care

 

Patient-care-focused companies providing in-home or mobile patient care are engaging with their customers in new and unique ways.  These companies require sophisticated booking capabilities to schedule patient appointments in real-time while at the same time optimizing the amount of time the caregiver is in front of patients while minimizing drive time.

 

These companies have a patient engagement requirement, for example, as a physical therapist is dispatched, a patient may receive text messages to confirm appointments, caregiver status updates (e.g., en-route, arrived) and automatically provide additional information to the patient necessary for the care (e.g., consent forms, etc.).

 

While at the patient location, the caregiver should be able to easily view and manage the patient’s care plan on the mobile device.

 

Core Service FunctionsTechnology
Scheduling 

Appointment booking in real-time and scheduling optimization.

Patient Engagement 

Patient notifications of upcoming appointments, care-givers status.

Mobility 

Patient care plan is available on the mobile device.

 

 

Medical Device Parts Distributors

 

Medical Parts Distributors tends to supply a large number of parts, in many cases, hundreds or thousands that must be tracked throughout service lifecycle for installation, service and warranty tracking.  Given the large number of parts, it is challenging for these companies to provide on-site service through an internal technician workforce and they tend to rely heavily on a 3rd party network of subcontractors to provide capacity, expertise or geographic coverage.

 

These Distributors face key challenges with utilizing 3rd party subcontractors including the need to maintain a consistent quality of service delivery that aligns with both customer and their internal service company expectations.

The service technology infrastructure to support this model is largely based upon a subcontractor community/portal that sends service requests to the company’s subcontractor network, receives and manages subcontractor quotes and receives status updates of subcontractor work on-site at the customer location.

 

A trend within Medical Parts Distributors is the establishment of a 3rd party subcontractor scoring/rating matrix that factors in a variety of inputs, such as subcontractor percent of time accepting work, pricing, SLA compliance and CSAT.   The Distribution companies are then using this scoring matrix in order to prioritize which subcontractors receive future service work.

 

Core Service FunctionsTechnology
3rd Party Subcontractor Management 

Subcontractor community/portal to manage entire service delivery process.

Subcontractor Rating/Matrix 

Service management platform that automatically factors in various subcontractor data points from service delivery to provide an overall rating.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Service and patient engagement in the Health and Life Sciences industry is rapidly evolving as companies strive to improve patient care in a highly regulated environment and skyrocketing cost of medical equipment.  The diverse set of companies in the HLS industry have a wide array of business models and as a result, the technology infrastructure to support these operations is also widely varied.  Fortunately, technology tools and software exist to support each business model and meet their industry trends and demands.

 

 

Citation

Diederich Medical, 2017 Medical Malpractice Payout Analysis, February 27, 2017.

 
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