Multivendor service gains legitimacyas Siemens and Philips unveil programs

December 13, 1995

ADAC adds new wrinkle with gamma camera effortSiemens and Philips at last month's Radiological Society of NorthAmerica meeting became the latest companies to offer multivendorservice programs, offering further evidence that the concept

ADAC adds new wrinkle with gamma camera effort

Siemens and Philips at last month's Radiological Society of NorthAmerica meeting became the latest companies to offer multivendorservice programs, offering further evidence that the concept representsthe future of medical imaging equipment maintenance. Even single-modalityvendors are getting into the act, as witnessed by ADAC's announcementthat it is planning to offer service of gamma cameras manufacturedby other firms.

Siemens has long been rumored to be developing a multivendorcapability. A Florida independent service organization said earlierthis year that it was working with the Iselin, NJ, company ona multivendor program at Orlando Regional Healthcare System inOrlando (SCAN 6/21/95).

The Integrated Service Management program that Siemens unveiledat the RSNA show includes both multivendor service and asset managementcomponents. Siemens designed the program to offer a wide rangeof service levels for customers, according to Robert Dumke, presidentand CEO.

"It may be partly or totally done by the customer, itmay be partly or totally done by us," Dumke said. "Weare finding ways that we can work with our customers, look atthe entire service of all their equipment, and figure out thebest way that can be done."

Siemens has about four large service/asset management agreementsin the program, according to Thomas Miller, group vice president.

While the Siemens announcement was expected, Philips of Shelton,CT, surprised the industry with its multivendor entry, especiallygiven president and CEO Michael Moakley's recent comments on GE'smultivendor deal with Columbia/HCA. In April, Moakley said theagreement -- which includes stipulations that certain types ofequipment will be purchased only from GE -- would virtually eliminatecompetition in Columbia's network of hospitals (SCAN 4/26/95).

Philips' Integrated Customer Support Solution program doesnot include an asset management component at present, reducingthe likelihood of some of the conflicts Moakley discussed. Italso differs in that it includes an information systems servicecomponent, through a partnership Philips has set up with computergiant IBM. Philips will service all of a hospital's imaging equipment,while IBM technicians will handle the facility's information systems,according to Gary Holforty, director of service marketing. Philipshas not yet established any multivendor sites.

ADAC added a new wrinkle to multivendor service at the conference.The Milpitas, CA, nuclear medicine company recently acquired JDTechnical Services, a gamma camera service and refurbishing companyin Washington, MO. ADAC will use the firm's expertise to developa program to service cameras from other companies, said Ian Farmer,vice president of marketing.

ADAC has historically enjoyed high customer-satisfaction ratingsin servicing its own equipment and hopes to leverage that reputationin its multivendor program. It plans to begin offering multivendorservice in the first quarter of 1996, Farmer said.

ADAC's move could have wide-ranging ramifications. Single-modalityvendors have been eying the growth of multivendor service warily.With equipment prices dropping, most vendors make most of theirprofits from service, not equipment sales. If service is lookedat from a purely market-share standpoint, as many vendors nowdo, those companies that have multivendor programs will be ableto seize market share from firms that do not.

"The ability to go out and look at a market that's largerthan just your own installed base, in the most profitable segment,is a strategy that has some compelling economics associated withit," said Cary Nolan, president and CEO of Picker Internationalof Cleveland. "The folks that aren't in this are scared.They are scrambling."

Meanwhile, the companies that were early entrants in multivendorservice are growing their programs. Picker has over 250 sitesin its Picker Technology Services multivendor program and plansto expand through acquisition. Picker announced at the RSNA meetingits intent to purchase Integrated Healthcare Services, an independentservice organization (ISO) specializing in MRI scanners. Picker'sacquisition of the service business of Linc Equipment Services,which launched its multivendor program, did not include an MRIcomponent.

GE HealthCare Services now has 600 sites in its CompreCareprogram, ranging from small one-unit sites to large hospitals,according to Steve Kellett, general manager. In addition to theColumbia/HCA network, GE's major new multivendor accounts includeSentara Health System of Norfolk, VA, Candler Hospital in Savannah,GA, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and RadnetManagement in Los Angeles.

All these developments indicate that multivendor service isno longer a fad, as some critics believed before this year's RSNAmeeting. Indeed, Picker's Nolan believes the segment is only atthe bottom of a growth curve.

"I think (multivendor service) represents one of the largestpotential opportunities for growth that this company has,"Nolan said. "The phones are ringing off the hook."

OncoScint approved for repeat dosingMonoclonal antibody developerCytogen of Princeton, NJ, has received the Food and Drug Administration'sgo-ahead for repeat administrations of its OncoScint CR/OV colorectaland ovarian cancer imaging agent. The agency's initial approvalof OncoScint's product license application (PLA) in 1992 was limitedto single administrations, due to concerns about human anti-mouseantibody (HAMA) response. Cytogen officials have said they planto re-launch OncoScint on receipt of FDA approval for repeat administrations(SCAN 2/1/95).