Manufacturers of healthcare devices have typically devoted a significant portion of their resources to post-market services, to ensure the devices perform as intended and with maximum uptime. A large segment of the post-market service cash outlay goes to deploying field service engineers to provide services on site. This is mostly done because of two reasons: first, unavailability of an alternative and second, many manufacturers believe that on-site service enhances customer satisfaction.
However, both these reasons are moot in today's wired world. With Remote Device Management (RDM) manufacturers can turn to the Internet to achieve better profitability and customer satisfaction at a lower cost. Just as companies have been managing their IT infrastructure remotely for many years, today, they can monitor healthcare devices from remote global command centers. RDM includes remote monitoring and diagnostics, problem resolution in case of device failures, preventive maintenance and product upgrades. Using RDM, manufacturers can:
- Maximize the device's up time
- Reduce the cost of servicing the instrument
- Make services a reliable revenue stream
- Use the data the devices are already collecting to maximize performance and reduce service costs
Machine to Machine (M2M) communication plays a key role in RDM, enabling the device to communicate with a central server in real time. For example, software can monitor battery, parts and software performance and analyze real-time data to predict possible device malfunction. A surveillance tool can fix problems proactively or send a technician if the job needs to be done on site. RDM also helps with service scheduling based on parts availability. All of the above reduce field service visits.
Using analytics along with RDM can also improve the productivity of the engineers. Since the data details the failure, the company knows which expert to send to fix it. This helps the company optimize its logistics.
Clearly, both consumers and manufacturers see the benefits of RDM. The goal of RDM is to remotely monitor devices before or while a problematic situation is developing and then immediately fix it. This ability can take field service effectiveness to the next level, reduce service costs and importantly, improve customer satisfaction.