The COVID-19 crisis has created many challenges for healthcare systems and has raised opportunities for positive improvement. One area of improvement related to the servicing of medical equipment is in increased collaboration and improved access to the parts, manuals, training and other materials (collectively, Service Materials) necessary to maintain medical equipment. However, some of the enhanced collaboration and access in response to the public health crisis may, unfortunately, be only temporary. This recent public health crisis has again highlighted the need for a collaborative and robust medical device servicing community.
The COVID-19 crisis has emphasized the need for Independent Service Organizations (ISOs) and medical device manufacturers to work collaboratively for optimal support of healthcare providers. The crisis has also illustrated the value that ISOs bring to the market, ensuring comprehensive coverage and safe, effective service for all, including those in rural areas.
Although requirements do exist relative to Service Material access, they are not regularly enforced and Service Materials are restricted by some OEMs, creating challenges for healthcare providers. Practices that restrict reasonable access to Service Materials can be anticompetitive and can increase time to repair, delay treatment, increase costs and negatively affect care due to reduced availability of equipment.
It would be a detriment to our national healthcare system to regress from the positive progress we have made in response to this pandemic and is something that would surely negatively affect the ability of our healthcare system to provide much needed care to patients.