A Look at the Evolution of Remote Monitoring for Medical Devices

As mentioned in my previous article, what we refer to today as IoT got its start back in the 1800s with the development of the telegraph and radio. While the term IoT was only coined in 1999, the vision of connecting and collecting data to drive insights and decisions has been in the front of mind for centuries and will remain for decades to come.

I previously discussed the progression of predictive maintenance and the future of remote upgrades for medical devices. In this article, I will look at the current advancements in supply chain and remote service and discuss what we can expect from remote capabilities going forward.

Putting an End to Trunk Stock Hoarding

Supply chain is another area where the utilization of data from the machine, data from the Field Service Management (FSM) platform, and AI can drive optimization of the service stock model.

Historically, the service supply chain has always been a highly complex operation to manage. When a business is managing thousands of spare parts with an install base in the tens of thousands, managing a stock model to meet the demands of the customer while managing a healthy bottom line is not easy. There are platforms out there today that help in managing this complex operation and that continues to evolve with the use of AI and the data components mentioned above. Building a more intelligent stock model that field engineers can be confident in will in turn help drive down the culture of hoarding parts in their trunks. Trunk stocks is one of the largest areas of redundant stock and causes of parts leakage due to loss or damage. The psychology behind trunk stock is a compensation of a stock model that fails them. With the use of the technology we have today, service businesses can regain that confidence and meet the expectations of their field engineers and customers while managing the financial performance of their business.

IoT can assist in optimizing the supply chain by digesting machine data through connectivity and utilizing AI to find where the failure trends are. An interesting perspective on this can be referenced here in this article. IoT can help in shaping PM requirements and parts that are showing more wear. This can then provide critical data back to the supply chain team to understand what parts are going to be needed based on the size of the IB and entitlements held on those devices. By analyzing the data digested by the devices along with historical trends from work orders, the service business and supply chain teams can align on spare part needs and stock levels, while minimizing stock that is not required or less utilized. The constant stream of data will allow for a dynamic real-time approach to stock modeling and meeting critical demands, which in turn will continue to drive uptime for their customers.

Driving KPIs with Remote Support

The ability for a service organization to offer remote support for both their internal and external customers is critical for the business to drive critical performance metrics such as FTF, NPS, Uptime, Truck Roll Reduction, and Remote Fix Rates. The use of IoT remote connectivity allows the service organization to collect machine data that allows the remote support teams to become more proactive.

A matured remote service support team would be a senior-level group of support engineers that are dedicated to supporting their field service teams as well as their end customers. Organizations succeed in doing this by using proactive triggers sent to them from connected devices. That architecture of that data is actionable allowing the remote teams to respond swiftly and triage the alerts they receive. A percent of those issues can be corrected remotely, which increases the uptime of those devices and drives customer satisfaction, while other alerts allow the remote team to triage, troubleshoot, and create a game plan that is sent to the field engineer to prepare them to be successful in the on-site repair. This game plan that gets created will prepare the engineer with where to attack the issue and even what parts to have on hand to be successful. This holistic approach allows the field teams to drive up their FTF rates, MTTR, reduces redundant truck rolls, improves device uptime, reduces overall costs to both the service business and customer, and most importantly, continues to drive up customer and patient satisfaction.

The ability for a service organization to offer remote support opens new areas of opportunity within the organization to open capacity. If through remote you can lessen truck rolls and increase FTF rates, an organization’s field force now has more capacity to generate more revenue or drive greater profits through the ability to either perform more work or simply becoming more efficient.

Take this infrastructure and technology and then look at automation of the end to end process. IoT triggers and automatically creates a work order and assigns it to a remote engineer. If the issue cannot be resolved remotely, the work order is transferred to a field engineer through intelligent dispatching, and parts are automatically ordered based on recommendations of the remote engineer and problem solution databases. This allows a field engineer to dedicate more time to the customer and to correct the problem quickly, and less time managing manual operations and processes.

Continued Evolution

Taking this a step further, remote connectivity with the capabilities of predictive analytics can begin to automate supply chain management. Using AI and predicting failure trends can begin to automate the ordering of parts for predicted failures as well as managing the Kanban levels for the OEMs stock models. If a machine is predicted to fail and through the analysis of historic failure trends utilizing AI shows the need for an onsite remedy, the machine can auto-create a work order, auto-order the required parts and have them shipped, intelligently schedule the appropriate field engineer, and automatically notified the customer. In this scenario, you then truly have an automated solution that is optimizing the wing-to-wing operation.

Remote capabilities have come a long way, and we have an innovative road ahead of us where we will continue changing the landscape of how service businesses operate and deliver solutions to their customers.

Supporting the journey being taken in this space, the Global IoT Medical Devices Market research report shows the latest market insights with upcoming trends and a breakdown of the products and services. The report provides key statistics on the market status, size, share, growth factors of the Global IoT Medical Devices. According to AMA, the Global IoT Medical Devices market is expected to see a growth rate of 21.11% and may see a market size of USD72.02 Billion by 2024.

If you have an interest in learning more about the power behind connectivity and how ServiceMax can help facilitate you in achieving these goals, please reach out. The team and I would love the opportunity to advise and help you on this journey.


ABOUT Shawn LaRocco

Avatar photoShawn LaRocco is the VP of Strategy & Business Development for the Medical Device Industry at ServiceMax. With his vast experience in the medical device field, Shawn acts as a trusted advisor to our customers and prospects; sharing the best practices he has gained to help transform their service organization. Prior to ServiceMax, Shawn led Alcon’s Global Technical Service organization within the Surgical Franchise, where he was responsible for global service strategies, operations, functions, and growth objectives. He previously served as the Sr. Director of US & Canada Service Technologies within the GE’s expansive service organization supporting 5000 employees and a $2.5B business. Starting out as an R&D engineer developing prosthetics and orthopedics for children, Shawn has held many positions across engineering, marketing, and service operations. He holds a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering and an MBA in Global Management.