AtriCure Builds a Unique Medical Device Management Solution With D365 Field Service

AtriCure was in need of a more efficient way to service customers. Learn how AtriCure built a unique solution with D365 Field Service.

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Table of Content

    Client Overview

    As a leading provider of innovative technologies for the treatment of Atrial Fibrillation (Afib) and related conditions, electrophysiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons around the globe count on AtriCure to deliver best-in-class solutions that can treat even the most complex cases. AtriCure’s Isolator® Synergy™ Ablation System is the firstAtriCure Logo medical device to receive FDA approval for the treatment of persistent Afib. AtriCure invests in innovation, clinical science, and education to focus on improving lives its patients worldwide.

    Regulation Motivation

    A publicly traded and heavily regulated company, AtriCure needed to modernize paper-driven device inventory, history, service, and maintenance records with a digitally driven, traceable process. As a medical device company, AtriCure must adhere to regulatory requirements in the US and Europe. AtriCure either owns the ablation equipment and consigns it to hospitals for ablation surgery, or the hospital owns the device. If the device service history is not up to date, the equipment sits unused in the hospital—cutting into
    profits. “In Europe, information on inventory, maintenance, or even signatures was paper-based,” explains Shelly Bramer, director of enterprise applications for AtriCure. “This did not meet compliance requirements or quality standards. That, coupled with our growth meant it was time to increase automation,” explains Bramer.

    “We were managing our service activities in many different, disconnected areas,” says Wayne Farmer, senior director of service operations for AtriCure. With disparate systems, it was cumbersome to pull data, track metrics, or create accurate reports. “We needed one application where we could see all service activity and related documents, pull reports, and have service history records,” adds Farmer.

    “We really did not have a good method to understand or to track where our capital equipment was located,” says Bramer. “We were using Excel and other business systems, and sometimes that information needed a lot of quality control to confirm the location. And it took quite a bit of time backtracking and understanding where the equipment was physically located,” continues Bramer.

    Purpose-Built Field Service Deployment

    AtriCure deployed Microsoft Dynamics GP 10+ years ago for back-office financials, manufacturing, and sales order entry, followed by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Service, for reporting and account management. Starting in 2018, AtriCure switched its partnership from two separate partners to Velosio and implemented the Return Goods Authorization module within Microsoft Dynamics 365 GP. “That was a good start, but we also decided to move our GP and CRM environments to Velosio’s Stratos cloud in 2019. We now have a managed service contract with Velosio—Marty Ruben and his team support our application-level needs,” continues Bramer. Velosio lifted and shifted a total of 48 systems to the cloud for AtriCure. After working with multiple Microsoft partners for Dynamics GP and Dynamics Sales and Customer Service, it was appealing to AtriCure to stick with a partner that could support all its Microsoft solutions, and better plan for the future.

    “Would the GP and Sales solution have gotten us where we need to be in five years? Absolutely. We don’t have a lot of field service revenue. We don’t have separate sales streams and service streams. But we have a vision for upselling and cross-selling and identifying more service revenue use cases. For this reason, we looked at Dynamics 365 Field Service, and found it to be a hands down easy win,” says Bramer.

    Dynamics 365 Field Service for AtriCure

    AtriCure built a unique solution with Velosio and Dynamics 365 Field Service. “Dynamics 365 Field Service provides a more efficient way to service customers with limited people and part resources, while maintaining the highest levels of quality and compliance.”

    In Phase 1 of the implementation, AtriCure deployed one-way integration from Microsoft Dynamics GP to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service so that the equipment is now represented correctly in both systems. Phase 2 of the implementation will include adding two-way integration between the systems.

    High End-User Adoption

    AtriCure included its employees in the system design early in the process and had them help with equipment functional checklists and more, which helped with system adoption. “When we rolled out the new business system, our employees adopted it very quickly, and I think the reason is we included them in the process from the start,” says Farmer. “At go-live, they already had a lot of experience building reports, and building functional checklists within the system. So, when we got to the point of going live, there really wasn’t a lot of work involved. We had a few days of training just to make sure we were all doing things the same way, and the employees understood what they were responsible for, but there wasn’t a problem when it came to adopting the new technology, because they were part of it from the beginning,” continues Farmer.

    Streamlined Service

    As AtriCure implemented Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, the team learned many things about the product lifecycle along the way. “We began to understand some fundamental things around the life cycle of these assets, and now we can better manage the 14,000 devices and ensure that we have a complete quality system around the servicing of them,” says Bramer. Now that AtriCure has service codes in place, they can track what happens on the device, according to which code was applied. This allows for predictive and preventative maintenance, as well as upselling and cross selling. Service reps can now better answer questions and respond quickly to service requests with access to up-to-the-minute information.

    With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Service, AtriCure streamlined its work order process. A manual process in the past, now when a work order is filled out in Field Service, a technician is dispatched to work on equipment at various hospitals, where they can complete all documentation online, add parts, fix the unit, add in details and notes, and complete the work order.

    Many Benefits

    With Dynamics 365 Field Service, AtriCure:

    • Advances its journey to the cloud and replaces disparate, paper-based processes with one solution
    • Saves time with real-time tracking and traceability for over 14,000 medical devices in the US and Europe
    • Can now better understand service metrics such as meantime between failure, parch, UCH, and response time
    • Streamlined work order process
    • Reduces operational cost with less manual processes
    • Field Service engineers can now manage their own schedule without relying on monthly schedules from management
    • Field Service engineers can now work offline if needed
    • Third party vendors can now enter information directly into the system instead of manual entry by AtriCure professionals
    • Better manages contracts and meets/exceeds customer obligations and service history
    • Optimizes spare parts management and stock efficiency
    • Better understanding of customer behavior/trends
    • Adds efficiency to service utilization – aligning customer location to maximize travel
    • Power Platform allows for new “AnalytiCure” operational analytics for complaints, product nonconformance and trends

    “Some technology partners forget that consultants need to consult,” says Bramer. “This was especially important since we built a solution that was net new. Velosio is excellent at consulting, configuration, looking at individual pieces, pivoting, and collaborating with us on ‘if this, then that’ scenarios. The level of expertise on the consulting side is a huge differentiator for Velosio, coupled with their experience in medical devices. It’s a good partnership,” continues Bramer.

    Farmer adds: “There was one Velosio consultant in particular who took great interest in understanding our business. We didn’t understand all the requirements that we even had, because we didn’t have a CRM system in the past. So, this person, not only did they help implement the new system, but they also helped us understand our business requirements, and what we really needed to do. They did many, many, many one-on-one calls with our team to help understand our processes, and what we were trying to get out of a specific part of the system. That was very much appreciated, and they did a wonderful job at helping us understand our business and [the best way to] implement the system,” continues Farmer.