Philips unveils wireless tracking system to improve mobile response
Royal Philips Electronics has developed a repair and tracking system for mobile diagnostic imaging systems for MR, CT, nuclear medicine and cardiovascular labs. 

Locating units and making repairs has been a challenge for service providers of these imaging systems, which are placed into custom 18-wheel mobile coaches, due to their mobility and route changes.

With Philips Remote Services (PRS) for Mobiles, the process can be made more efficient through the use of global positioning system (GPS) location technology, internet data connectivity, and standard voice service to diagnose and potentially repair the imaging equipment remotely, the company said.

The tracking system was developed to streamline the process of analyzing system data and anticipating potential problems.  The PRS includes a combination of networking links and hardware, which facilitate the ongoing maintenance necessary to implement Philips’ remote services platform.  This secure, single-point access for all Philips equipment via internet VPN, Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), or analog connectivity enables the malfunctioning equipment to be immediately pinpointed, according to the company.

Philips said the benefits of real-time visibility and traceability of these mobile systems enable healthcare organizations to proactively monitor operations, efficiently troubleshoot and potentially resolve problems remotely within minutes and before they become bigger issues.

Co-designed with Astral Communications, the PRS system has several benefits both financially and for patient care.  The advanced system may help customers prevent revenue losses on equipment and reduce downtime, Philips said.

“With the PRS for Mobiles, we can contact the units and diagnose problems more efficiently,” said Ketan Shah, senior manager of mobile enterprise for Philips Healthcare.  “What used to require hours of driving time for repairs can now be done in minutes since engineers from our remote technical operations can dial in to proactively monitor and diagnose systems.

“Additionally, we estimate the PRS enables us to respond up to 50 percent faster on many of the service calls for equipment problems because of more accurate tracking and remote diagnostics,” Shah added.