Success Story: Ray-Tek Services/South Shore Hospital

Success Story: Ray-Tek Services/South Shore Hospital

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Medical Dealer | Success Story | Ray-Tek Services/South Shore HospitalWhether due to the closure of a nearby health care facility, an uptick in seasonal flu cases or a growing reputation for quality, imaging patient volume at South Shore Hospital in South Weymouth, Massachusetts, has been on the upswing, said Radiology Supervisor Susan Werner.

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Werner supervises the nearly 50 rad techs who work at South Shore. Until recently, the hospital’s facilities have included three fluoroscopy rooms, an older digital room, a dedicated chest X-ray room, and four two X-ray rooms that were designated for future upgrades, Werner said.

“The hospital’s been spending a lot of money on imaging, but it’s been on higher-priced items — MR, CT scanners and so forth,” she said.

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In October 2014, however, South Shore designated funds to upgrade two of its X-ray rooms that were approaching the quarter-century mark, “and we just went for it,” Werner said.

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The hospital elected to purchase digital X-ray equipment to replace its existing infrastructure, and selected Carestream DRX technology from Quantum Medical Imaging — a product that Werner said administrators called “a workhorse with minimal breakdowns.” South Shore went through third-party provider Ray-Tek Services of Plaistow, New Hampshire, to provide the installation.

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“We always go to the big companies: GE, Philips, Siemens,” Werner said. “We see what their products are, but we’ve had some experience with GE recently, and their digital is not all it’s cracked up to be. Most everybody had issues with the Siemens. But everybody loved their Quantum. We saw it was easy to work with.”

When making its deliberations, South Shore’s purchasing team “went with the least bells and whistles,” Werner said.

“Those are the things that break,” she said. “We are very busy, and we need things that work for us.”

In addition to getting “a really good price from Ray-Tek,” Werner said the hospital had been pleased with the product support provided under its existing service relationship with the company. As if to underscore that point, Ray-Tek completed the installation in two weeks (and before Christmas). The overhaul included a complete room renovation with new floors and repainted walls.

“The hospital was very happy with the whole thing,” Werner said.

South Shore Hospital has an onsite biomedical department managed by Aramark, and engineers who work at the facility receive manufacturer training on any new equipment the hospital purchases, Werner said. With that third-party agreement in place, South Shore can usually save money by avoiding the cost of service contracts offered by OEMs with any new equipment purchase, she said.

“Everything breaks down eventually, especially with the volume we have,” Werner said. “A lot of this digital equipment, the factory is watching what’s going on. You can call them, and they can talk you through it on the phone.”

“But if you can’t get them on the phone, what good is that?” she said. “[Ray-Tek does] a lot of troubleshooting on the phone and gets things back online quickly.”

That level of access is a critical factor when decision-makers need to determine with which company to sign a Medical Dealer | Slice of Life | Sucess Storypurchasing agreement, Werner said.

“If you can’t know that you’re going to get support from the company, then maybe you’d better rethink what you’re doing,” she said. “You’ve got to know that they’re going to take care of you.”

Ray-Tek Sales Manager John Nelligan said the digital X-ray technology at the heart of the Quantum devices helped South Shore doctors save “at least 30 percent dose” over what their existing equipment offered, and its digital modality offers the freedom from film cassettes.

The Ray-Tek quote also included disposal of the old equipment, “and the OEMs don’t do that,” Nelligan said.

“In a good negotiation, everybody has to win something,” he said. “The hospital won, I won, Ray-Tek won, Carestream won.”

The installation upgraded a 22-year-old rad room into a state-of-the-art digital imaging suite, all while integrating the existing power infrastructure, said Ray-Tek President Ralp Polichetti, at a cost that he said “was probably under $1,000” — far less than an outright replacement.

Polichetti said that his company is “usually a little bit better” on price than some of the larger manufacturers competing in the same space, but he feels that Ray-Tek especially differentiates itself from other third-party vendors in terms of customer service.

“It’s in our business model to really take care of the customer and make sure that they’re 100 percent satisfied, and that they’re part of the family once they make that commitment to buy equipment from us,” Polichetti said.

“We give customers answers right away,” he said; “sometimes with a larger corporation there’s more of a chain of command you have to go through.”

Polichetti said that “trust factor goes a long way nowadays” in purchasing discussions with both existing and prospective customers. Administrators have a greater level of education about the maximum value an equipment purchase must yield, he said, which he believes “seems to have swayed [deals] a little bit more in our favor [in] the third-party market,” as buyers weigh the value of their access to service after the sale.

“That’s the key factor in my opinion,” Polichetti said. “As a company, our strategy has always been to either have myself or my business partner attend any sales meeting we have so that our customer understands that we are getting the entire company behind them.”

“When they’re buying equipment from Ray-Tek Services, they are buying the entire company.”