Vyaire Medical’s field service technicians have been keeping up with the increased customer demand for ventilator installations and maintenance thanks to a little help from their friends, both inside and outside the company.
In recent weeks there has been a lot of attention focused on the manufacture and delivery of new ventilators, but the servicing and repair of existing devices is just as important in order for hospitals and others to maintain and expand their respiratory treatment capacity in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.
“It means immediate deployment of that product. If they have service today, they have that device today,” said Dominick Iuliano, senior director of U.S. Field Services at Vyaire Medical. He noted that every device his team keeps running is one less device that has to go through time-consuming ordering and manufacturing processes.
The ongoing need for service and maintenance, coupled with the installation of all the new devices being delivered, has kept Vyaire Medical’s field service technicians extremely busy in recent weeks.
“During the last month we’ve probably touched 1,000 devices in terms of maintenance and installations,” Iuliano said. That’s about five times the average activity of 175 to 200 devices per month, he added.
Ventilators have hundreds of electronic, pneumatic and mechanical components. An average service call takes about three hours, depending on the ventilator and the scope of the repair. Installations require the devices to be assembled, then delivered and then training the staff on operating the machine.
All of that adds up to some long days for Vyaire Medical’s 33 field service technicians. Sam Mannis woke up early one morning and drove four hours in order to be onsite for the delivery of 10 AVEA™ ventilators to an Illinois hospital; her manager Dustin Highland drove about 2 hours. After the devices were assembled and installed, Mannis and Highland turned around and drove home to get ready for the next day.
Most, if not all, of the field service technicians could tell similar tales. “They’ve been in the heat of things,” Iuliano said, noting technicians often are working inside care sites in some of the hottest of hot spots for COVID-19, such as New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area. “They’ve been in the hospitals and working closely with the hospital teams to meet hospital protocols,” he said.
Vyaire Medical makes personal protective equipment available to all technicians to keep them as safe and healthy as possible. And there has been some changes to normal procedures, such as assembling devices in offsite facilities, when possible.
During one such installation, a delivery of 45 VELA ventilators for the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency were placed in a warehouse belonging to the Georgia state police academy. There, the Vyaire Medical team of Brandon Marsalis, Javier Martinez, Hector Ortiz and their manager John Koch were joined by three state police academy recruits in assembling the equipment.
“They were great. They totally rolled up their sleeves and pitched right in,” Iuliano said, adding the service team also has been augmented at times by Vyaire Medical training and sales personnel.
Iuliano is proud of the effort he’s seen from the field service technicians to meet customer demand to date and is confident they will continue to do so going forward, even as the number of installations needed continues to climb.
“These people are still flying. They’re getting on planes and getting in their cars and driving to these installations. Whatever it takes,” he said.
For more information about Vyaire’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, visit the company’s COVID-19 Response Center at https://www.vyaire.com/Covid-19.
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