End of SERVICE SUPPORT Issued for GE Discovery ST, STE: What's Next for Users

If your facility uses a GE Discovery ST or STE PET/CT scanner , you've probably received a letter from GE notifying you of the "end of service support" (EOSS) for the product line. We can assure you: this is not the major issue that, on its face, it might seem to be. Yes, you will come into some changes and expenses you weren't expecting for another few years. But you don't need to change immediately or come up with a great, big chunk of money right now.

With the EOSS-designated GE Discovery ST PET/CT series as our example, we'll share why OEMs use EOSS, why your response can be timed gradually, and how an EOSS letter can be a signal of significant savings to come.

What Does End of Service Support Mean?

The International Medical Device Regulators Form (IMDRF) defines End-of-Service Support as the "life cycle stage of a product starting when the manufacturer terminates all service support activities and service support does not extend beyond a certain date". 

 

Why Is Service Support Ending for Discovery ST and STE?

Most of the time, a manufacturer issues an EOSS for a product about ten years after they stop making it. An EOSS puts an official end date on their obligation to offer service support or parts for that product. On top of that, an EOSS means the manufacturer does not have to provide updates or any kind of retrofit to make the product compliant with changes in regulatory standards.

The main reason an OEM will issue an EOSS though, is to push the market toward their newer models. This isn't all bad. Newer systems offer improvements in technology, image quality, workflow, and patient experience; but they also have price tags that are tough to grapple with on short notice.

 

Why EOSS Isn't an Urgent Issue

There are two things to keep in mind before you take an EOSS letter as a prompt for immediate action:

  1. If you have an OEM service contract, they are still legally bound to provide you with service, even if the contract expires after their EOSS date. Oftentimes, OEM's will prorate the contract if they cannot provide support through the contracted date.
  2. When an OEM issues an EOSS, third-party parts and service are still there. Often, there are enough resources in the third-party market to extend the life of an EOSS system by several more years.

 

How an EOSS Scenario Can Save You Money

Sometimes, you might find an EOSS designation can give your bottom line a little boost. Here are a couple of examples of what that might look like:

  1. With OEM service ended, and a budget that has you waiting a few more years to upgrade, you look into independent service providers and learn that they offer comparable coverage for your Discovery at 25% - 35% lower rates than you were paying for OEM service.
  2. With your Discovery now under EOSS, and a little budgetary headroom, you choose to upgrade the PET/CT at your main campus. While that's in motion, you partner with independent parts and service organizations to move your Discovery to your outpatient facility, upgrading from something even older installed there, and taking advantage of the service coverage savings we mentioned above.

 

The Takeaway

It's still true that an EOSS notice means change is on the way, but there's no reason to try and make all those changes right away. By exploring third-party parts and service options, your EOSS system can keep ticking for years more, and you can start socking away the savings for the time when an upgrade feels right.

Want to know more about the outlook for parts and service after the OEM window closes on Discovery ST and STE scanners? Our team is ready to help! Give us a call or use the button below to start the conversation.

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Chris Kinnas

Chris Kinnas is a National Service Solutions Manager at Block Imaging. His goal is to see imaging facilities covered by the very best service for maximum equipment uptime. Outside of the office, he is a husband, a father of 4, and an avid Chicago sports fan.