Preventative maintenance and equipment service are ongoing topics of discussion in clinical settings. However, there is still a high-level of variance in how facilities prioritize and manage these activities.
We sat down with Wes Peik, Director of Global Technical Services, at Helmer Scientific to get a better understanding of what he and his team hear in the market.
Q: Wes, would you mind sharing a bit of information about yourself?
A: I’ve been part of the Helmer team since 2002. I’ve held multiple roles throughout the organization, but I’m currently the Director of Global Technical Services. Before joining Helmer, I was an electronics engineering technician, and I served as an aircraft guidance and control systems specialist in the U.S. Air Force.
Q: Focusing specifically on your experience at Helmer, what does your current role entail?
A: That’s a good question; it depends on the day. At a high level, I’m responsible for overseeing all aspects of the services strategies and growth goals. I lead a team of managers that plans, develops, and establishes policies and procedures for field services, technical customer support and depot maintenance.
This includes the folks who are in the field everyday servicing equipment. I also provide strategic guidance to ensure our technical service team is aligned with the overall goals of the business as well as the evolving needs of our customers.
Q: Why is Helmer focused on providing equipment service and preventative maintenance?
A: Historically, Helmer’s primary business model has been the development and manufacture of medical-grade equipment primarily used in pharmacies, blood banks, and clinical labs.
Our portfolio includes everything from cold storage equipment — refrigerators and freezers — to plasma thawers, incubators and agitators, and quite a bit more. We believe it is our responsibility to provide continuous and ongoing support for this class of products.
This equipment is highly specialized and usually in service to store or prepare highly sensitive, sometimes irreplaceable, items — items like patient samples, blood and plasma products, medications, or specialty drugs. So, we understand it needs to perform as expected day-in and day-out, and if equipment fails, we need to have a support team and process in place to resolve those failures as quickly as possible.
We recognize the tremendous strain our partners in the healthcare industry are under, and we see these partnerships as an opportunity to remove logistical and administrative burdens. This will allow clinical teams to dedicate as much of their time as possible to providing patient care as well as help them support an ever-evolving regulatory landscape around the proper maintenance and calibration requirements within our portfolio.
Q: What are common reasons why facilities outsource preventative maintenance and equipment service to third-party partners like Helmer?
A: There are several reasons why a facility might outsource these services to a third party. The reason really depends on where leadership sees value and how they want their teams to spend their time.
A significant reason we often hear during our discovery conversations is related to infrastructure. Facilities don’t have the time, personnel on staff, or defined processes in place to effectively manage these activities.
We also regularly work with facilities that need documentation and calibration beyond what an internal facilities team may have the capacity to provide. I’m thinking specifically about temperature mapping, certificates of calibration, and installation qualification (IQ), operational qualification (OQ) and performance qualification (PQ) validation required by regulatory and accrediting bodies in certain applications.
These accreditations are usually mission-critical and dictate access to products and services facilities need to serve patients. Specialty pharmacy accreditation from URAC and ACHC are just two examples in which accredited sites need to be able to provide SOPs and verification that equipment has been appropriately maintained.
Ultimately, the decision to outsource these services to a third-party is made when internal management of the processes is inefficient, impractical, or impossible.
Other Blogs You Might Be Interested In...
- Preventative Maintenance Helps GX Solutions Perform At Their Best
- Regular Preventative Maintenance Supports Regulatory Compliance
- Vaccine Storage Safety and the Importance of Routine Maintenance
- Not Maintaining Cold Storage Equipment Creates Substantial Risks
We thank Wes for sharing some of the reasons facilities choose to outsource preventative maintenance and equipment service to third parties as well as why Helmer has chosen to focus on providing this service for both Helmer and non-Helmer equipment in the field.
Please check back with us for Part 2 of this series on "Why Service Matters in Healthcare Space." In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about customized service partnerships from Helmer Scientific, visit our website.