Feature: Dedicated CV call center leads to rapid response from the field
In today’s high-tech world, the slightest equipment glitch in the cath lab can be highly problematic. The faster equipment is back online, the better. In that regard, GE Healthcare recently launched a service business model that is centered on a dedicated cardiovascular call center.

The Rapid Response program, piloted last year and launched in the U.S. in the first quarter of this year, connects customers directly to an online engineer, who can troubleshoot problems over the phone. If the problem cannot be resolved over the phone, the online engineer will bring the local field engineer into a three-way conference call with the customer.

“This allows the local field engineer to let the customer know on-the-spot when he is able to come to their site,” Kristine Hinrichs, director of cardiovascular service for GE, told Cardiovascular Business News.

John Lee, director of cardiac cath at Southern Hills Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn., told Cardiovascular Business News that he likes the rapid response model. “The local field engineers know us, and our equipment. Speaking to them rather than a dispatcher is much more helpful in resolving any problems,” Lee said.

Prior to the Rapid Response program, customers would speak to a dispatcher who most likely did not have intimate knowledge of the facility. “It made it difficult to explain problems, because they weren’t familiar with our terms and sometimes we weren’t familiar with their language. Now, we speak right away with a field representative or a field engineer,” Lee said.
Joe Parker, a GE online representative for the cath and angio suite, is one of the first people customers speak to about equipment problems. Besides learning first-hand about the symptoms, Parker also can assess the situation with remote diagnostics. He then inputs the error codes and symptoms into a knowledge base, which will help determine the most likely solution. 

“If we can handle the problem over the phone, we will. If not, a field engineer can be onsite quickly,” Parker told Cardiovascular Business News.

The program is currently only for interventional cardiology, but other groups within GE, such as diagnostic imaging, have been looking into implementing something similar, Hinrichs said.