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ISO builds ties with Siemensin Florida multivendor program

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Multivendor's future is hazy, executive saysA Florida-based independent service organization is in discussionswith Siemens Medical Systems about that vendor's nascent multivendorservice program. The ISO, Southeast Imaging of Apopka, FL,

Multivendor's future is hazy, executive says

A Florida-based independent service organization is in discussionswith Siemens Medical Systems about that vendor's nascent multivendorservice program. The ISO, Southeast Imaging of Apopka, FL, wouldassist Siemens in a multivendor service and asset management programit is developing for Orlando Regional Healthcare System in Orlando.

Like competitors GE Medical Systems and Picker International,Siemens has indicated that it is planning to develop a multivendorprogram (SCAN 3/29/95). One of its first multivendor sites isreported to be the five-hospital ORHS group.

ORHS uses a large quantity of Siemens equipment, but also hasmany non-Siemens products. The Iselin, NJ, vendor has decidedto contract with outside sources to maintain many of those systems,according to Bill Perkins, chairman and CEO of Southeast Imaging.

While the ISO has not yet signed a contract with Siemens, thecompany has been making service calls to ORHS hospitals to servicenon-Siemens equipment, Perkins said. In the absence of a contract,those service calls are being paid for on a time-and-materialsbasis.

"We are helping out with a little bit of everything,"Perkins said. "Since we've started helping, we've servicedmore GE than anything else."

Southeast Imaging was formed in 1993 after a merger of threedistributor and service companies, and a fourth was later addedthrough acquisition. The company distributes and services Loradand Shimadzu equipment, and specializes in service of Philipscardiac cath labs. Perkins estimates that about 20% of the company'srevenue is derived from service, with the rest coming from salesof systems and parts.

Despite Southeast's association with Siemens, Perkins is stillundecided on the potential of multivendor service. A major issueis whether OEMs will be more responsive to hospitals than thebiomedical engineering departments they are replacing. In particular,OEMs need to pay attention to calls other than direct equipmentmaintenance.

"At some hospitals, if they call their biomedical group,they jump through a lot of hoops. On the day-to-day routine thing,(OEMs) won't have the urgency that (a hospital's) own ISO or biomedicaldepartment will have," Perkins said. "That's based onwhat I'm hearing from the Columbia hospitals."

GE HealthCare Services signed a multivendor service agreementwith the Columbia/HCA hospital system earlier this year (SCAN3/29/95).

Many medical imaging industry observers have talked of multivendorservice as the future of medical imaging equipment maintenance,but Perkins has his doubts.

"I think potentially (multivendor service) could be agrowing thing," Perkins said. "The potential to fallapart as quickly as it started exists, too."

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