When you invest in your medical practice by purchasing your own imaging equipment, it is imperative your asset is well maintained and working properly. Purchasing a service contract for your camera protects your investment, and it ensures that your camera produces quality images to reliably assist in patient diagnosis. Proper maintenance of your camera is important to the vitality and efficacy of your practice, and required for accreditation and reimbursement. Service contracts provide you with the peace of mind knowing your equipment will be operating effectively, and in case of emergency malfunctions, a knowledgeable, well trained team will be ready to assist you.
Before you select a service provider, it’s important to know the right questions to ask about a service contract. Ask the potential provider these eight questions to make sure that you get everything you need from your service contract.
Before committing to a service contract, request the coverage contract in writing. Be sure to ask what the provider includes in a “full-service contract.” If the contract doesn’t cover all the camera parts and service, ask for a list of what is not covered. Typically, service providers do not cover external damage to the camera, and in some cases will not cover glass (crystal, PMTs, etc).
2. What is the coverage area?
Ask your service provider about the coverage base: is the provider a national or a local company? If your camera falls outside of their coverage area, will you have to pay a travel charge? Looking ahead into possible charges or additional paperwork will save you time and money, and if you are comparing multiple vendors, it could help with the selection process.
3. Does the contract include preventative maintenance?
Ensure your coverage plan meets the state’s regulations for maintenance of the equipment. Ask your service provider if the contract includes adequate (OEM recommended) preventative maintenance, which is required for accreditation and reimbursement.
4. What is the guaranteed uptime?
To be an effective investment, your camera must be available for operation when you and your patients need it. Service providers often promise a percentage of “guaranteed uptime” in their service contracts. Make sure you select a service provider that you are confident will provide you a high “guaranteed uptime.”
5. Who will be supporting my equipment?
Ensure that the personnel maintaining and repairing your equipment are specialists who have a detailed understanding of the equipment and receive continuous training to keep up with manufacturer updates and recommendations. Talk to your service provider to ensure that they are qualified to work on the specific system. You want personnel who have experience working with nuclear equipment and understand HIPAA requirements. Personnel working on your systems should be knowledgeable, well trained, punctual, diligent, and communicative.
6. What type of remote support is available?
Many support issues can often be resolved via remote support. Ask your service provider if remote support is available and what their hours of operations are. Also, be sure remote support covers both the equipment and software applications. When remote support is available for your entire system, the amount of downtime is decreased providing continued quality care to your patients.
7. How quickly can I expect repairs?
Talk with your service provider to find out what the typical response time is when requesting repairs. Ensure that these time frames are included in the contract so that excessive downtime doesn’t impact the productivity of your practice.
8. What updates or upgrades are included?
Often, cameras include software that can be updated and upgraded as technology changes. Ask your service provider if your contract allows for updates or upgrades. And make sure you know the difference between the two. If either of these is not covered in your contract, ask for update and upgrade pricing. It’s important your software is current; this will assist in acquiring quality images, in turn, helping you provide quality care to your patients.