A Guide to Mastering the 3 C’s of Medical Device Field Service

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Pete Humes Head of Content

How to Give Your People the Tools, Training and Tactics to Maximize Efficiency and Grow Business

You’re looking for ways to make your medical device service organization more efficient.

You’re fully prepared to embrace innovation and champion digital transformation.

But you don't know where to begin.

That’s why we suggest that you focus on your people.

Your company trusts its field service engineers on the front lines. And every day you send them out to face challenges from customers and competitors.

It’s not easy out there. They need all the help you can give.

The job is complex, requiring a wide range of skills and knowledge to properly install, maintain, and repair medical devices. But they deal with much more than just nuts and bolts and vacuum drift tubes and x-ray collimators.

If you want your teams to over deliver on service expectations and help grow your business, you need to give them more than just a tool box and a truck.

We’ve compiled some tips and tactics for helping your service organization master the three C’s of medical device field service: complexity, compliance, and communication.

Conquer Complexity

Keep pace with changing technology by making learning a habit, connecting with peers and leveraging your secret weapon 

If you grew up working on cars, you remember back when a simple set of socket wrenches was all you needed to get a conked-out ride back on the road.

These days, what sits under the hood of cars looks more like a supercomputer. It’s too advanced for most weekend mechanics, so they leave the sockets on the shelf and send their car to the experts.

Your field engineers don’t have that luxury. They have to be THE experts.

"75% of field technicians report that products have become more complex and more knowledge, specifically more technical knowledge, is needed to perform their jobs now vs. when they started in field service"

- The Service Council, 2021

Here’s the challenge: Medical devices are already highly complex, with intricate mechanisms and systems that require specialized knowledge and expertise to understand. And that technology is advancing every day.

Even more challenging? Medical device field engineers need a strong foundation in both the technical AND clinical aspects of devices. Not only do they need to understand how the devices function, but how they're used in the healthcare setting.

That hulking MRI machine may look stationary, but every job callout for med device field engineers requires them to hit a moving target. Not only is the science behind those advanced machines constantly evolving, but the way hospitals and healthcare systems function is ever changing too.

That’s why education and training is never a “one and done” kind of deal. Service teams need to make learning a daily habit.

Here are tips for keeping your team up to speed:

"Using remote support technology has improved on-the-job training and decreased the time to train new technicians by an average of 41%"

- SightCall 2020

Uncomplicate Compliance

Cut down on penalties and fines by building systems, automating processes and making it harder to make expensive mistakes

You already work on incredibly complex machines that save human lives. You are already asked to perform repairs under near impossible deadlines.

Why not add a few layers of wildly complicated government guidelines and ever-changing federal and international regulations?

Medical device service is nothing if not challenging.

The machines you manufacture and service are subject to a range of regulations and guidelines, including those set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and international standards organizations like the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

These rules vary by country, change frequently and stepping “out of bounds” can result in serious fines and penalties.

The bottom line? Breaking the rules is bad for your bottom line.

Here are a few suggestions for helping your field techs master the fine art of compliance:

"Businesses lose an average of $11,000 per employee every year due to ineffective communications and collaboration"

- Mitel, 2017

Champion Communication

Untangle crossed wires by creating clear channels that connect and empower your employees

You rely on teams to solve problems and resolve issues. And teams require collaboration and coordination.

But communication is the real glue that holds everything together.

If you want to improve the efficiency of your service teams, here are some key communication questions to consider:

Transformation is a journey, not a destination

Healthcare technology is in a constant state of change. Brilliant minds are stretching the boundaries of what’s possible. And nobody knows for sure what the future holds for medical science.

Chips are getting smaller. Computers are getting smarter.

But people still matter more than ever.

Focus on your people.

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions for building a more efficient service organization. But if you’re looking for growth, we humbly suggest that you invest in your greatest asset.

Help them master the three C’s, and give them the tools and technology they need to get better at what they do.