During the 2019 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting, Konica Minolta Healthcare featured new technology and differentiation in service provision. 24×7 Magazine recently caught up with Kevin Chlopecki, executive vice president of service and operations at Konica Minolta Healthcare, to understand this new technology and its potential applications. 

24×7 Magazine: Konica Minolta Healthcare introduced a “smart glass” feature for service at RSNA. What is your vision for bringing this technology to healthcare service operations?

Kevin Chlopecki: Smart glass units overall are anticipated to grow from approximately 28,000 today to more than 1 million by 2020. This year we’ve displayed a prototype technology to enable our partners to leverage augmented assistance. The most common use case was demonstrated for remote service, where the smart glasses become the eyes of the engineer to help them focus deeper than is possible with a picture or text in an operator’s manual. For example, our call center can send schematics directly to the glasses or highlight and circle something in their field of view to help expand upon the issue at hand.

The other use case we demonstrated at RSNA is more unique. We can use the smart glasses to scan across a room. While scanning, the optics are looking for serviceable, or calibratable, medical devices. An indicator is displayed when a device is found, and the user directly interacts with that device; correlates it to the room they are located; and acquires instant graphical information on the usage, calibration statistics, or recent error messages on that device.

This unique technology is in its infancy—think facial recognition for medical devices in a healthcare environment. Our objective was combining pattern recognition with real-time delivery of relevant information to the user in a whole new way. 

As we investigate how to best utilize IoT devices like the smart glasses, we see other opportunities as well. Increasingly we see medical devices used in remote locations. A service person may have been trained many years ago and trying to troubleshoot an issue; our opportunity is to be the expert by their side. If we can actually see what is going on, then it is much easier to isolate the issue down to one area or the exact component, rather than sending three or four different replacement parts that may be causing the issue. 

Generally, smart glass technology has great potential for training and education, using the ability to combine virtual and real environments. Our goal is to explore completely different interactions, which can help us solve customer issues faster so they can get back to taking care of patients quicker.

24×7: How did you realize the potential for this technology in a service application?

Chlopecki:We displayed our first augmented support technology in 2018 using an iPhone. During the demonstration, the engineer continuously had to put his iPhone down and then set it up so our call center could watch the repair. That’s when we realized the manual dexterity of these service events may need another form of technology—there is a tremendous need to see what is happening in real time and for the engineer to have [his/her] hands free. We realized the potential for smart glass technology would solve this issue.

24×7: How does this fit with your vision for delivering service?

Chlopecki:At Konica Minolta, we are focused on leveraging the latest IoT and remote service technologies to deliver an extraordinary customer experience that differentiates our medical imaging solutions from the competition, whether it is x-ray, healthcare IT, ultrasound, or any of our other systems and devices. We have service teams all around the country and we want that information to be at our customer’s side at all times. 

What better way than to use IoT to provideaugmented reality so that what they see and hear is through a trained service individual? Our vision is to use technology to minimize downtime by acting proactively, predicting customer concerns, and responding quickly to unanticipated events. Equipment downtime goes beyond the cost of the equipment. There is also an impact on patient satisfaction if the medical exam or procedure is delayed or can’t be performed that day due to the issue, as well as the impact on our customers’ satisfaction with their work environment. 

24×7: Is it safe to say Konica Minolta is focused on preventative maintenance and using data and analytics to help drive decisions?

Chlopecki: Precisely, and it was through internal analytics that we realized engineers weren’t turning screwdrivers as often; they solve 70% of service calls through augmented experiences. We gave our partners and customers new tools to help them understand the vast data generated from their imaging equipment through our Insights analytic dashboards. 

The cornerstones of differentiating our service leverage predictive/prescriptive technologies using IoT and analytics, enhanced cybersecurity, and education with a diverse group of professionals supporting that mission. Incredible service is about making the best decision on the next action to solve an issue. As technology evolves, Konica Minolta Healthcare can help bolster that decision and make it more informed, faster, and instantaneous.  

Our main priorities are focused on increasing productivity, reducing costs, and increasing patient and customer satisfaction. The quadruple aim initiative also applies to healthcare service. Our goal is to design solutions to run an amazingly efficient operation and deliver quality care at lower costs with higher satisfaction.