Frigid winters, dairy farms, the Green Bay Packers. These are some of the things that likely come to mind when you think of the area in Wisconsin that DirectMed Imaging calls home. But, there’s much more to be found in our neck of the Northwoods.
When medical imaging engineers make the trip to our headquarters in Appleton, they leave thinking of this place as a respected destination for expanding their knowledge base with world-class, hands-on training from fellow engineers who are experts in Siemens equipment.
Still, a little cynicism surrounding the training experience is understandable. Here’s how we changed the mind of a skeptical medical imaging engineer.
The Perceived Problem
Bob Budach is Senior Imaging Specialist for Via Christi Health, the largest provider of healthcare services in Kansas. Budach’s employer recommended he attend a DirectMed Imaging’s angiography course on Siemens Artis zee, which is designed to train field service and support personnel on the core principles of operation, configuration, troubleshooting, and repair.
But, Budach had his doubts.
“I am a seasoned veteran of the medical X-ray business,” he explains. “In my career, I have attended many equipment specific courses offered by the OEM as well as by the aftermarket ‘wannabe’ training centers.”
Budach’s assumption was that DirectMed Imaging would be another one of the “wannabes.” In the past, he’d been disappointed by the level of training he’d received as well as the overall experience. When he learned he’d be traveling to Appleton, he wasn’t expecting much.
“My experiences with aftermarket training centers left me with a dim view of what to expect, especially since this training center was located far from any major city,” Budach says.
The Actual Experience
When attendees arrive for training, the first piece of good news is that our facility is extremely close to Appleton International Airport. We’re just one mile away, and the easy trip is a straight shot along County Highway CB.
What Budach noticed immediately after arriving at DirectMed Imaging was that his presumptions about what he’d find were incorrect.
“To my surprise, the DirectMed Imaging training facility was the cleanest and most well-equipped site I have ever witnessed,” he says.
We’re very proud of our building, which includes spacious classrooms full of natural light and up-to-date audio/visual technology as well as a kitchen and dining area. But, the highlight of the DirectMed Imaging training experience is the QA Bays. This part of our training center is where engineers and service techs have access to 16 clinical settings and dozens of fully operational Siemens medical imaging systems.
Chris Watson is product support engineer at DirectMed Imaging. He’s worked on all Siemens modalities and leads training courses on X-ray and fluoroscopy.
“Our training is mostly hands-on which is different than what the OEM and a lot of other places provide,” he says. “We don’t just lecture, we get people busy in labs, which is very conducive to learning.”
Despite being a veteran in the field of medical imaging service and repair, Budach says he obtained a lot of value from the course, which covered the basics as well as complex topics over several days.
“The training itself covered the most common problems found as well as in-depth system failures that forced you to think. Imagine that!”
Of course, the people you work with during training are a vital part of the experience. Budach has nothing but praise for the instructors and others he encountered at DirectMed Imaging.
“The instructors are top-notch people to work with, and the owner would sit down with you in a casual, family type environment and enjoy general conversation,” he says.
“Anybody can read a book. People come here to get real hands-on experience and learn from people who know what they’re doing. And, that’s what they get,” Watson adds.
The Truth About DirectMed Imaging Training
There’s a reason why DirectMed Imaging puts so much focus on hands-on learning. We know it’s the best way to make sure our trainees leave with knowledge and skills that stick with them. Director of Engineering and Training, Ken Hable, explains why access to Siemens systems is an integral part of the experience.
“The ability to recall what was learned during training is crucial to getting full value out of investing in training in-house engineers and medical imaging specialists,” he says. “You could listen to someone explain how things are done, but if you spend an hour watching someone repair a system, your retention rate will be better. If you get hands-on experience with the parts and equipment, retention will be higher yet.”
There are also huge benefits to healthcare organizations that invest in training in-house engineers. Being able to service and repair medical imaging equipment without relying on the OEM reduces costs and the downtime spent waiting for help when something fails.
If advice is needed on replacement part installation, repairs, or identifying the cause of a failure, our support team is always available to help with troubleshooting for no charge.
Training and support are two ways we provide financial benefits to healthcare organizations with Siemens medical imaging equipment in their install base.
If an angiography system fails, and just a few patients miss exams, your organization could be missing out on $40,000 to $50,000. Plus, if those patients continue treatments at another healthcare organization, the financial impact is even greater.
Because Budach was trained on the Siemens Artis zee at DirectMed Imaging, he is a valuable asset to his employer. The skills he gained help him limit system downtime and make sure patients are served. Plus, if he or anyone he works with needs assistance, our support is free, which may not be the case if you call the OEM.
Thanks to all this, we made a believer out of Bob Budach.
“Without hesitation, I would recommend to anyone needing training on Siemens’ high-end systems to consider DirectMed Imaging as their primary training source,” he says.
By the way, Budach also found the food to be better than what he ate at OEM training. Make sure you stop at an Appleton area restaurant for some classic Wisconsin fried cheese curds before you head home.
DirectMed Imaging provides training courses on Siemens CT, angio/cath labs, fluoroscopy, radiography, mobile units, and the Siemens Syngo operating system as well as introductory courses, which may be taken online. Discover upcoming in-person training opportunities and start planning your trip soon.