Addressing MRI coil failures using 3 sure-fire strategies

Addressing MRI Coil Failures using three sure-fire strategies. Do you know what’s NOT covered under warranty and contract on your MRI?  More importantly, do you know how you’ll address it?

Warranties and service contracts provide us with a sense of security that sometimes can be misleading.  It’s easy to think that because we have a warranty or contract in place, our MRI’s are covered no matter what happens, and we’ll be back up and running in short order.  However, what many of us might not know is that warranties and contracts are very different from insurance.  You’re only protected under certain circumstances and you’re not covered under others.  Like with your car, warranties cover manufacturing defects or failures, not user error or slip ups.

Scenarios involving user error or human slip ups occur every day in healthcare facilities. For instance, while prepping for an MRI, a technologist drops a large body coil. While performing a scan, the patient loses bladder control. The magnet is quenched because a ferrous object is pulled into the field.  While lowering the patient table, an MRI coil’s cable becomes trapped and is partially severed. Whether a new MRI, covered under warranty, or an older model, covered under OEM contract, addressing the failures described above are, most times, the responsibility of the facility.

Preventable Failures

It’s not new. Failures considered preventable, avoidable or attributed to trauma and/or mis-use are often not covered by an OEM service contract. In the chance that a single, preventable, event IS covered, it most likely won’t be a second time. Understanding how and why out-of-pocket expenses occur and developing contingency plans for when preventable failures occur can have a huge impact on service budgets. For example, MRI coils.

Shock tag used on an MRI Coil

With a core team that once manufactured MRI coils, and a major repair provider for all makes and models for more than 25 years, Innovatus Imaging has amassed a large amount of failure analysis data. Data shows that most MRI coil failures are a direct result of or related to mechanical damage or trauma.  Over 35% of all coils present with mechanical damage due to trauma and an additional 18% are RELATED to trauma and/or improper use.

Typically, when a coil fails, the OEM sends a replacement next day. It may take days or weeks before an invoice is received highlighting preventable damage and the out-of-pocket expense. You may be surprised to learn that some OEM’s install shock sensors within their coils to determine if the coil has been dropped or exposed to an unusual amount of force. So, even though there are no outward signs or trauma or mechanical damage, coverage may be denied.

The tough reality we have to face with most contracts we buy is that 50% of your coil failures may not be covered. Having to absorb an out-of-pocket expense of $35,000 – $100,000+ for a single coil failure can ruin any budget. At one point or another, we’ve all been asked, “Did you read the fine print?”.  Analyze your options when considering a service contract on your MRI.

3-Strategies

  1. Insure that, if you have a service contract, that ANY and ALL failures are covered in the final cost. Costs will be high, but this option can ensure maximum uptime and continued workflow while eliminating out-of-pocket expenses.   
  2. If a standard OEM service contract is in-place, use an ISO 13485:2016 certified repair provider, such as Innovatus Imaging, to address any coil that shows evidence of preventable or avoidable damage. And, if there is ANY mechanical damage, do not assume that a replacement coil, through the OEM, will be covered. Address the failure via repair or non-OEM replacement using a qualified provider.
  3. If magnets are not supported in-house, service contracts are a must to insure uptime and continued workflow. Knowing that over 50% of coil failures may not be covered provides some powerful information. Consider removing MRI coils from the service contract altogether. It is possible and there is a huge cost savings to be realized. Coil repairs start as low as $500 and some repair providers offer loaners and/or expedited repairs.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line for any facility, large or small is simple. When selecting a repair provider, be sure that repairs are performed with longevity in-mind. Ask about their length of time in the industry and quantity of repairs performed. Both matter. For example, the team at Innovatus Imaging is applying experience from over 25 years and 30,000 plus repairs to define best-in-class coil repair processes and even help predict potential future failures. Ultimately, providers should demonstrate a dedication to quality by having ISO 13485:2016 certifications specific to the medical device(s) they support.

For more information on how Innovatus Imaging can help to reduce your service budget with quality, sustainable repairs for MRI coils and US probes click HERE.

If you have an imminent need to address a coil failure, let us keep you up and running with a next-day loaner or an expedited repair. We have repair capabilities spanning 800+ models and repair processes are designed with quality, sustainability, and longevity in-mind enabling us to offer one of the industry’s longest warranty periods of 6-months. Reach out to our customer care team at 844-687-5100 or customercare@innovatusimaging.com