Service and Modern Technology: The Unsung Hero
By Eric Paulik, Sr. Director Global Field and Customer Service, The Spectranetics Corporation
Capital equipment in the medical device industry requires a specialized level of service. Lives depend on it. It is critical that the medical equipment we support works ‘on demand’ when the customer needs it.
These lifesaving devices are essential for ensuring positive patient outcomes, and the advent of electronic field service software and smart phones has changed the nature of field service support.
Ensuring System Integrirty
The Spectranetics Corporation, a global company headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., develops, manufactures, markets and distributes single-use medical devices used in minimally invasive procedures within the cardiovascular system. The company’s products are sold in over 65 countries, and are used to treat arterial blockages in the heart and legs, and in the removal of pacemaker and defibrillator leads.
Spectranetics’ vascular intervention products, used to treat peripheral arterial disease and coronary arterial disease, include a range of laser catheters for ablation of blockages in peripheral arteries above and below the knee, and in the coronary arteries as well as scoring balloons used in both peripheral and coronary procedures. The lead management product line, which provides both laser and mechanical tools to remove cardiac leads due to damage, lead or device infection, or manufacturer advisory, includes excimer laser sheaths, dilator sheaths, mechanical sheaths and accessories for the removal procedure. The vascular intervention and lead management product lines use the CVX- 300 excimer laser system to power the company’s signature laser catheters. The field service team’s primary responsibility is maintaining the CVX-300 excimer laser system, ensuring it is operational at all times. Spectranetics is dedicated to successfully managing every cardiac lead, modifying all plaque and eradicating restenosis and amputation, ultimately saving time, money and most importantly, lives.
Role of technology in Twenty-first Century
• Reduces equipment downtime, so engineers can quickly diagnose an issue;
• Efficiently records and tracks service history and maintenance schedules;
• Decreases engineer fatigue as information can be quickly exchanged between stakeholders.
Just a few years ago, Spectranetics’ field service engineers relied on paper forms, procedures and reference materials. The company can now access all information electronically; ensuring field service engineers use the latest versions of reference and technical materials. In the rare occurrence of a laser system failure, the company’s dispatched system helps them respond with the closest available engineer to the downed system. The field service engineer has electronic access to a database containing parts diagrams, illustrations and descriptions of all parts that may be required to quickly perform repairs. If the field service engineer needs factory support, smart phones allow the company to contact the subject matter expert, and send pictures and videoback to the factory to expedite diagnosis and repair. When information is a click away, engineers can provide faster service to get devices up and running for a procedure that the patient is counting on.
"We pride our self on having state-of-the-art equipment tested to perform at the highest level of reliability"
Spectranetics’ field service engineers are experts in electronics, mechanical and optical systems related to the CVX-300 excimer laser system. The company prides itself on having state-of-the-art equipment tested to perform at the highest level of reliability. The majority of Spectranetics’ calls are preventive in nature. The company ensures the equipment is calibrated, and tested to proactively catch potential issues before they occur. To coordinate this level of activity, Spectranetics’ field service system must not only accurately track when the next service is required, but also provide historical data points for our electronic, mechanical and optical components. Analytics embedded in field service system is used by Spectranetics to provide guidance on what subsystems field service engineers must service, helping take the guesswork out of a routine service call.
Spectranetics also uses an automated tool to calculate what maintenance is required. Before the automated tool was developed, all maintenance was based on calendar months. Now the automated tool calculates service life based on key performance measurements, and calculates what maintenance activity is required based on the use and system performance. This saves time and money by avoiding unnecessary replacement of consumables. Our field service team provides support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Most of the work they perform is done after normal business hours, as that is the only time the equipment is not scheduled for use. Technology has affected the efficiency on our field service engineers who receive calls at all hours of the day and night. These engineers rely on technology to shorten the time required to service equipment and realize efficiencies, providing a better work-life balance.
Aligned with technology
Spectranetics regularly trains its field service engineers on software, hardware and the use of the electronic field service information system. We are always looking for avenues to better serve our customers. In 2015, we hope to upgrade our current field service information system to a platform that enables even faster response, repair and predictive maintenance of the CVX- 300-P excimer laser system.
Modern technology has changed the face of field service. The partnership between technology and engineers enriches service delivery by providing the most effective maintenance, higher uptime, longer durations between service and lower cost. Technology truly keeps engineers, the unsung heroes, behind the scenes, ensuring Spectranetics’ lifesaving equipment takes center stage.