Remote services support region’s healthcare professionals in fight against COVID-19
Local presence, innovative technology and strong virtual support mechanism are enhancing efficiency of clinicians in healthcare delivery
By Elie Chaillot
One of the primary considerations for healthcare professionals, the frontline warriors in the battle against COVID-19 outbreak, is the need for continuous upskilling of entire medical teams and real-time readiness of all healthcare equipment to ensure rapid deployment as needs surge.
With lockdowns and sanitization programs in place, the MENAT region is making steady steps to contain the outbreak, ably supported by public and private sector hospitals, and their committed team of professionals.
The crisis, however, has also underlined the need for healthcare service providers to be able to support clinicians through efficient remote service, support and training – a key differentiator of GE Healthcare, which has been an active partner in healthcare services delivery in the region for nearly five decades.
Prior to the COVID-19 scenario, GE Healthcare has been successfully testing its suite of remote service offering facilitated through end-to-end digitization – ensuring that the healthcare community in the region can access best-in-class technology backed by seamless service for efficient diagnosis and treatment.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, there has been a steady growth in demand for remote healthcare service delivery, which aligns with the sanitization measures and the physical distancing norms. Application trainings are increasingly being delivered virtually, where needed, and in real-time.
This aligns with the recommendations of the World Health Organization, which has called for strengthening healthcare systems for the COVID-19 response.
In much of the MENA region, which has a different healthcare delivery model compared to the US or Europe, where the government taking a no-holds-barred approach to medical care access, the pressure on healthcare systems in the long-term is likely to be less profound but the immediate need is that all healthcare equipment function to its best. That is why remote servicing as well as the virtual training of clinical staff gains even more importance today.
The most valuable impact of the remote training programs is that several technologists and clinicians are now exposed to the true potential of advanced healthcare equipment at their hospitals. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the virtual adoption, with GE Healthcare ensuring prompt support and service.
This has been possible only because of the long-term investments in building a local presence in the region through full-fledged service centers, round-the-clock call centers and the virtual service platform that can swiftly meet any requirements of customers.
Beyond the team of 500+ trained resources through our channel partners, a strong regional GE Healthcare team of more than 500 remote engineers, customer service agents, clinical application experts and field engineers, service delivery is not only prompt and precise but is increasingly facilitated virtually.
In Saudi Arabia, one of the largest markets in the region over 45 percent of all spare parts were sourced locally and almost 40 percent of all issues resolved remotely. During the current crisis, GE Healthcare’s five call centers in the region reported 700 calls a week with a response time of less than 10 seconds.
The remote service is backed by several first-of-its-kind platforms too: iCenter is a secure cloud-based online tool that provides 24×7 visibility to asset operational and utilization data to maximize system availability and utilization when it matters most.
The MyGEHealthcare App is another tool that facilitates service requests by clinical engineers and technology managers from their mobile phones, while OnWatch is a proprietary tool that remotely monitors various system parameters and signals potential errors and malfunctions to proactively initiate a corrective action. This, in turn, helps to effectively convert unplanned downtime into scheduled service events.
Clinicians can also remotely upskill themselves via GEcares.com, a collaborative platform that offers access to online trainings, clinical webinars, AW video tutorials, clinical cases and protocols built by experts. It also connects them with GE experts and other healthcare professionals, and enables them to share their experiences, particularly relevant during the Covid-19 crisis, when every experience shared is invaluable.
Our Digital Expert solution allows clinicians to access our training experts virtually, in real-time, through a tablet PC next to the console of their imaging system in the hospital or clinic. The digital experts and clinicians can see each other and their display and cover topics ranging from the basics of equipment operation to more advanced features like the clinical application of acquisition and post processing.
The value-add of remote support – training and service – is increasing organization uptime and operational efficiency – meaning, more clinical time freed for handling the emergency at hand. As the region moves to the new normal, post COVID-19, remote servicing of healthcare equipment will continue to gain increased application – and rightly so. Because when it comes to matters of health, speed and efficiency matter the most.