Philips readies remote utilization service for July debut

June 27, 2007

Philips Medical Systems will roll out a new service program next month that promises customers worldwide the information they need to make their Philips scanners more efficient, thereby increasing throughput while cutting costs.

Philips Medical Systems will roll out a new service program next month that promises customers worldwide the information they need to make their Philips scanners more efficient, thereby increasing throughput while cutting costs.

The MR Utilization Service will use remote diagnostics to generate a detailed minute-to-minute accounting of distant operations. This program will be provided to subscribers at no financial risk, according to Jacques Coumans, vice president of marketing for Philips MR, as it will be priced according to the revenues or savings it brings the customer.

"If, through this tool, our customers can augment the top line or cut costs totaling half a million dollars a year, we would not shy away from asking a percentage of the savings or the bottom line," Coumans told DI SCAN.

This approach puts the burden on Philips, he said, because customers pay nothing if the service fails to put money in their pockets.

The offering will be part of the company's MR remote diagnostics program that allows engineers in service centers to keep track of MR scanner operations. Vendors have been operating such programs for years to alert sites to fix early signs of equipment problems before they turn into downtime. Philips took the idea a step further after realizing there was more to the data than just diagnostics.

"We noticed that, with a little extra effort, we could pool the data being generated and turn this information into a management tool for the equipment owner," Coumans said.

Tests at 20 customer sites determined that the analyses could be used to find rough spots in operations. The data might identify technologists who, seeking to make up for lost time, cut corners and, consequently, cause further delays. Or it could help detect the most efficient practices that can be standardized across multiple locations.

This happened in Switzerland where the utilization tool, employed among 10 imaging centers, not only documented which one operated the most efficiently but why it did so, Coumans said. Analyses of the data led to scan protocols for neck and C-spine imaging that have since been deployed at all 10 centers.

"Optimizing methodology led to increasing throughput and huge cost savings," he said.

Next week Philips will begin pitching its new service to new customers considering remote diagnostics as well as to its sprawling installed base of MR users.