The Shift to HTM Service Training with ISOs Offers Real Benefits

Mark Twain said “Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond; cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education.”

A training shift has been taking place in our industry — for the better. This shift adds value, saves money, impacts up time, and is more affordable for hospitals and health systems. If you haven’t yet, it’s time to take a closer look at HTM service training by ISOs, independent service organizations. Personally I was surprised at what I found.

HTM Service Training: My Shifting Perspective

To make sure we’re all on the same page, there are three types of training available in our industry: manufacturer service training, in-house service training programs, and training by independent service organizations, or ISOs, which not only offer the availability of third-party parts, but also offer training on the equipment for which those parts are produced.

As a young medical imaging technician when I began my own career 34 years ago, I greatly prized HTM service training — manufacturer training to be specific. I believed the equipment manufacturer was uniquely qualified to produce the finest training based on their intimate knowledge of the product. Through the years, I have experienced good manufacturer training, and I have experienced poor manufacturer training. What I eventually realized is that the quality of any training class is in the amount of effort the trainer puts into the process, not necessarily in the origin of the training.

In the past year our TKA leadership team traveled to some of our alternative parts suppliers’ locations in order to visualize their parts quality control processes. Our purpose was to narrow down our parts procurement target list to a few vendors we vetted for best practices. During our tours, it quickly became apparent that some vendors had a terrific grasp on how to add value to alternative parts supply. The formula is simply: provide training, to produce alternatives to manufacturer contracts, then supply the parts for those items. However, it was the HTM service training itself that surprised us.

ISO HTM Service Training & Tech Support Benefits

As we toured vendor facilities, our TKA leadership team discovered an amazing level of investment in facilities, equipment, and instructor talent. The facilities we toured were large, modern, and highly organized. Classrooms were well equipped, and service bays were equally impressive. Plus, the vendors we visited had invested in hiring some of the best tech support and training experts in the business. In many cases they hired these techs directly from equipment manufacturers, and wisely gave them the time to be an ongoing resource for parts applications and technical support.

It’s this level of tech support that puts alternative HTM service training with ISOs in class all its own. ISOs are giving their clients membership in a program that ensures a successful migration away from manufacturer dependency, which can not only offer significant savings but also positively impacts up time as well. How? ISO techs are more hands-on, deliver more personalized service, and are often more readily available to focus on day-to-day issues, taking the time to walk clients through problem-solving to get their equipment up and running faster.

ISOs also offer HTM leadership a real chance to build their own technical programs. One vendor we visited has a history of hiring technicians speculatively for particular clients. These technicians were subsequently trained on specific modalities, allowed to work in the “intake” process — where units were bought, disassembled, and put through the QC process — and had opportunities to reinstall refurbished units. After these candidates are thoroughly trained and vetted, they are transferred to the client for permanent contracted positions.

It’s this freedom to be creative and work with each client individually that makes alternative vendor training with ISOs so formidable.

Given the opportunity for training, parts supply, and ongoing tech support, I no longer see manufacturer training as being superior to these best-in-class alternative training entities. Their investments in the process, and their willingness to earn certification, demonstrates their commitment to quality and credibility, and gives HTM leaders like me confidence in their capabilities.

In the end, ISOs’ presence in the market gives anyone the ability to substantially impact costs in the HTM field — and that’s what we’re all about at Tech Knowledge Associates.

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