Migrating ultrasound service in-house: fatal error
Several years ago, we developed and began delivering a presentation on the advantages, mechanics and pitfalls of migrating ultrasound service from the OEM to in-house engineering. There are many benefits, which include but are not limited to: cost savings, decreased downtime, better records keeping and higher customer satisfaction. The higher customer satisfaction component is the focus of this article.
When planning to migrate service in-house, there is a lot of groundwork to complete, including training needs and costs, tools required, timelines, full-time employee hours and buy-in from the financial folks. The one component that is often overlooked but is critical to success is a partnership with the clinical departments on this project.
The first step is to meet with the departments and discuss the concept from the viewpoint of how it will benefit them. This is not about how you or the hospital may benefit; it is about how they will receive faster, better, less expensive and more personal care than they are currently getting. I have had the privilege of attending sales and communications classes by a gentleman named Jeff Hatchell with Over the Top Coaching, and one of the points Jeff drove home is that in any customer communications situation, people always listen to the same radio station: WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?). In this situation, you are essentially a sales person trying to sell something that customers may not want, may not feel they need, or who are uncomfortable with the change. It is now that you share with them the features, advantages and benefits to them of moving their service to in-house engineering.
As the project moves forward, keep the clinical staff involved of the progress, set expectations and visit with them often to make them part of the project. This is a continuing best practice that should be maintained indefinitely.
I recently worked with a hospital group on transitioning ultrasound service from the OEM to our field service organization. I requested to meet with the clinical department staff to discuss the transition and was told that administration would handle all communications until we were in place. Queue the theme from Jaws and imagine the storm clouds gathering…I vigorously protested, as I have seen what can happen when the clinical departments are not involved in a major change that affects them. On the day the transition took place, I became a very busy man when I was given an opportunity to meet with clinical department heads that were confused, angry and frustrated. This could have easily been avoided had I been able to involve them from the beginning.
Migrating service to in-house engineering is the current trend in imaging service, and it makes sense on a variety of levels. We need to ensure that when we embark on this journey, we invite the clinical staff along.