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Ultrasound Tech Support Tips: Be Prepared When Calling for Help

May 1, 2020

Article by:
Joe Lopez, Field Service Engineer
As a skilled healthcare technology management professional, no matter how experienced you are there will be times that you need outside help to solve equipment issues. 

We all know that speed is of the essence when it comes to troubleshooting, diagnosing, and fixing systems that are not working properly. If you are going to call for phone support on an ultrasound system, there are a few things that you can do before calling to help us provide the best and timeliest support possible. While having every answer is not always possible, I’ve put together a list of a few different questions to know based on the type of issue with your ultrasound.

Answers to have for every ultrasound issue

These are the basics that you should have ready for any issue that could require support:

  • System model (ex. Vivid E9, iU22, Epiq 7c)
  • Software Version
  • Serial Number
  • On GE systems, the BT Level
  • On Philips Systems, the Cart level


Let's go through a quick scenario: You call a service provider for help on a Vivid E9. The issue is that the system is giving an error message after five minutes of use. The support technician asks for the message, and you were told by the sonographer that the message was, “System Error. Please reboot the system.” That's great information, but more is needed. Do you have a picture of the error? What is the software version and/or BT level of the system for parts identification? Could you grab the error logs? Does it happen consistently with a particular probe? Chances are you know a couple of these answers, but not all. Now, you are spending more time on the issue having to go back and forth until you get all these answers. Why would a support technician need you to provide answers to all of these questions? Well, with those answers, system issues can be identified more readily, parts can be recommended more accurately, quick issues can be resolved faster, and onsite service can be coordinated if needed. All this helps to get your system up and running and you on to your next service issue.

The scenario above might seem like a lot of questions were asked, but those questions are important to helping you resolve your issue. In a lot of cases, those questions are not even the only things you should know. To help your next tech support call be fast, smooth, and accurate, I would suggest getting the answer to as many of the questions you will most likely be asked before calling. 

Scenario One: Image Artifact

If the ultrasound system is having an image artifact, start by getting the answer to these questions before calling for tech support:

  • Is the artifact happening across multiple probes?
  • If only happening with a single probe, can you move it to another system to see if it follows? (If the answer to this is yes, then most likely you have a bad probe)
  • If with a single probe, has a different port on ultrasound been tried?
  • Is the artifact consistent?
  • Does it happen at certain times of the day?
  • Has the power been tested for noise?
  • Is the power cord in good shape?
  • Do you have a copy of the error logs?
  • Did any error messages ever pop up?
  • Is it warm/hot in the room?
  • Do you have a picture of the artifact?


Scenario Two: Error Message

When an ultrasound system gives an error code or message, here are the questions most likely to be asked:

  • The obvious: What is the error code or message?
  • Will a reboot fix the error?
  • Is the error intermittent?
  • Does it happen at certain times of the day?
  • Do you have a picture of the error code?
  • Do you have a copy of the error logs?


There is one last piece of advice I would give you and it might be the most important one, try to be in front of the system before calling for technical support. Again, it is not expected that you will always be able to answer every question asked. But every detail helps us to diagnose and quickly set a plan to get your system running properly. By being prepared, your next call for help will be fast and painless.