Service in stroke care: A quick reaction is key 

Hospitals in southern Sweden can always rely on their imaging systems, thanks to our colleagues who proactively maintain systems and provide support whenever a problem arises. To do that, they need to be "multilingual".

Meike Feder
Published on May 1, 2023
<p>In southern Sweden, around the city of Lund, an <a href="/perspectives/stroke-awareness" target="_blank">invisible safety net has been created for stroke patients</a>. It connects emergency medical services teams, primary stroke centers in local hospitals, and the experts from Skåne University Hospital in Lund. The network not only depends on the people involved, but also on the systems needed for diagnosis and treatment. This is where a team of service engineers comes into play.&nbsp;</p><p>They are responsible for all imaging systems from Siemens Healthineers at 40 sites in the Lund region: These include computed tomography systems, SPECT/CT systems, and more. Twice a year, the engineers visit customers to perform preventive maintenance, for example, by checking for security and quality. But if a system suddenly shows a problem, they must react immediately.</p>
<p>Our service engineer Rikard Hagström</p>
<p id="isPasted">Systems can show errors because an X-ray tube is defective, or because the clinical image quality of a diagnostic system has changed. Very often, our service team can help remotely, by using <a href="remote%20support%20systems" target="_blank">remote support systems</a> that check for error logs. They make sure that outages are even more seldom. If an outage does occur, the engineers are well prepared: “The remote system checks for apparent errors and gives us a heads-up. We can proactively order the compromised part and plan for the replacement before any problems are visible for the customer,” explains service engineer Joakim Persson.</p><p>“Fifteen years ago, we asked ourselves: Why do we send all this data and the defective X-ray tubes back to the factory? Remote service solutions were developed with this data,” explains team lead Roger Persson: “Remote service makes us much faster.” He estimates that repairs today take only&nbsp;half the time because spare parts can be ordered right away and taken to the customer for the visit. No preceding visit to identify the problem is needed.<em id="isPasted">&nbsp;</em></p>

Smart Remote Services (SRS) is a fast, secured, and powerful data link connecting medical equipment to service experts. With data transfer via SRS, the performance and condition of equipment can be monitored in real time. In addition, users can benefit from a broad range of proactive and interactive services enabled by SRS—including fast error identification, remote repair and software updates, preventive maintenance, as well as technical and clinical collaboration services. 

Smart Remote Services
<p>Our service engineer and teamlead Roger Persson</p>
<p id="isPasted">Today, hardware failures occur only rarely. Instead, a different challenge has emerged: “The whole ecosystem of the imaging system, the surrounding applications, and the hospital network is becoming more and more complex,” explains Roger. “In the future, I think our job will be more configuration, coding, and finding a solution for a software problem than actually replacing parts,” adds Joakim.</p><p>This would not mean a less fulfilling job, says Roger: “When I began, my motivation was my interest in electronics. But in the long run it comes down to the patients. We are providing help to the families, patients, and people around us. One day, we will need it ourselves.” Rikard Hagström agrees: “When I’ve fixed a problem and know patients are going in the scanning room now and can get help, that’s worth everything.”</p>

<p>There is another important aspect of their work: being “multilingual.” Even though the three men call themselves nerds, they have impressive communication skills. “We have to know how to talk to a nurse and be able to communicate on their technical level. When we talk to a physician, we have to be able to communicate using their wording,” explains Rikard. He and Joakim started their careers as technical experts on the customer side, a background that is still helpful for their roles today. Or as Roger says: “We are technical enthusiasts; at the same time, we have to be nurses. We have to be electricians, IT guys, and physicians.”</p>
<p>Our service engineer Joakim Persson</p>

By Meike Feder

Meike Feder is an editor at Siemens Healthineers. She focuses on stories around patient care.