Do exhibitions really make the World go around?

Always choose a hotel with a spectacular view

Do Exhibitions Really Make the World go Round?

Estimated reading time: 4 min

In a way, a year in this line of business is somewhat similar to Groundhog Day. The wheel turns, but it is still a new year, same plans. Or at least the same “exhibition procedure as last year”. But not this year.

As always my 2020 started with The Arab Health in Dubai. Through the year the recurring shows and meetings then follow like pearls on a string. As such the RSNA in Chicago normally marks the end of the year for me as it catapults me into the Christmas spirit. But this year the normality ended after Arab Health. COVID-19 stopped the clock.

It has been a sort of unconscious force which pushed all of us to do our work in new ways. Finding new ways for the ends to meet. Normally I’ll fly out for the exhibition in Chicago Friday after Thanksgiving on the 14:00 KLM flight from Amsterdam (that’s virtually like right now as I’m sitting here typing!).

At 17:00 Chicago-time I would have checked in at the Intercontinental on Michigan Avenue and at 18:00 I would be sitting in the bar having my first meeting. Trying desperately to fight off the jetlag by staying awake to midnight. That procedure didn’t change much the past 13 years or so.

2020 really made me think about what I normally do and how I think this year will have changed things for good.

 

Airborne on the way to yet another exhibithion.

 

The oh so very crucial preparations…

For me, any exhibition always begins with a sense of excitement and the best of intentions. The Calendar is filled with an overwhelming heap of meetings, dinners and drinks.

From morning to late night there’s never a dull moment. I guess I believe(d?) the faster you run, the more successful a show? Frankly, that’s bollocks.

 

Picking the right flight

We also have to find the right flight. A flight which somehow gets us to the event at the very last moment but also leaves time for sightseeing (food and drink!). We also try to travel with the same airlines as we always do.

It needs to be just right to fight the jet lag – both going in and out. Also, comfort and those frequent flyer miles really mean something when you (normally) spend a LOT of time in the air. For us and all the other people going there. It’s really quite silly.

 

Don’t forget the hotel!

Wherever you go, you need a place to stay. Every year we talk about staying in a different place, but every year we end up staying at the same hotels. Why is that?

Maybe it is because it’s a nice hotel? But, there are many nice hotels.

Is it location, design, hospitality? Who knows? Or maybe part of the reason is that a hotel begins to feel a bit like a home away from home when you stay there enough times?

Plus, they do say that man is nothing but a creature of habit? Maybe we all are a bunch of lemmings?

After a day at the exhibition always choose Miller's Pub in Chicago.

 

Where to eat?

Being quite a foodie I always spend a great deal of time preparing where to eat. This is often planned and arranged months (years!) in advance. As Persius put it: The belly is the giver of genius. ☺

For sure, during a week in Chicago or Dubai, there’s always room for one (or perhaps two) new restaurants, but in reality, 90% are the same as previous years. How stupid is that? It seems that the only thing better than change is no change.

 

Reality and recommendations

I do love going to exhibitions. I do love meeting with friends, colleagues and competitors – it’s always great fun. And of course the excitement of meeting new potential clients.

But do you want to know what I miss the most from going to an exhibition? I miss going back home!

That’s the best feeling in the World. No great deal, no Michelin meal, no client reunion, no great pub revisited can match it. None of it gets even close.

Lesson learned in 2020: Looking ahead I’ll spend far less time on exhibitions than what I previously did.

 

A couple of exhibition recommendations

 

  1. Do FAR fewer expo meetings. Spend your meetings with NEW people and not the ones you anyway speak to on the phone every week.

  1. Spend a day to see the location. Do some sightseeing. This will rewind your batteries and clear your mind.

  1. Don’t just spend 15 min of your oh so busy schedule talking to a new client in the middle of The Grand Concourse of McCormick Place. Honestly, more often than not it’s BS and nothing will come from it. If you respect your (potential) client, then take the time. Go out for dinner, spend hours. And don’t just speak about boring diagnostic stuff, make it interesting.

  1. Get a hotel downtown. This will make it easier to accomplish both #2 and #3.

  1. Arab Health, Dubai: Best skyline view and best sushi outside Japan: TOMO at Raffles hotel.

  1. RSNA Sunday I always have a meaty lunch at Millers Pub at Adams/Wabash.

  1. At all costs avoid going to the Redhead Piano Bar in Chicago. Instead, go to Buddy Guys for blues.

  1. At ECR? Leave the show early, go to the lobby bar of Grand Hotel Wien and enjoy the piano player.

  1. At Medica? Wait, why do you even go to Medica?

Always choose a hotel with a spectacular view

Hope to see all of you soon!

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)
mv@flexraymedical.com

 

3 Arguments to Choose Permanent MRI

MRI-units-per-million-population-WHO

3 Arguments to Choose Permanent MRI

 

Estimated reading time: 4 min

If you are opening an MRI centre in an area with insufficient and/or unreliable infrastructure, we do not recommend investing in a high-field MRI. This is a rule of thumb, så exceptions do occur.  More on this in our blog post When Size Matters.

What we DO recommend is investing in a permanent MRI. This would typically be a 0.4T. In this blog post, we will elaborate on why we find permanent MRI solutions to be the smart choice. This goes for instance for many site locations on the African continent.

The key to understanding this is knowing the weakness of any high-field MRI, typically 1.5T. The soft spot of any 1.5T is the cooling chain. Because in case of a power cut, there is a serious risk this will fail. The magnet might even quench.  A magnet quench results in the loss of all helium and the loss of the magnetic field. Then the ability to run the system gets lost.

Normally you can bring such a system can back to life, but it takes massive investments in helium. Often weeks of down-time too, as special tools, labour and helium need to get flown in.

On the contrary, a 0.4T doesn’t have helium cooling, as it is a permanent magnet. If you experience a power cut, you simply switch the system back on, when restoring power.

 

1 Buying a permanent MRI

2 Owning a permanent MRI

3 Benefits for the patients

The takeaway

 

 

Permanent MRI Hitachi Aperto Eterna 0.4T | FlexRay Medical

 

1 Buying a permanent MRI

First advantage: Your initial investment is low. Our clients often break even after about 1 year of operation.

The price for a state of the art “turnkey” 0.4T permanent magnet is mostly close to that of buying a 1.5T  “as it is, where it is” out of a warehouse. For the 0.4T permanent magnet, that price includes a new RF cage, delivery, installation, calibration, warranty and application training.

Added to this comes the before mentioned plus a lot of helium, since your 1.5T would typically be delivered and installed warm. Depending on your location, it could easily add up to EUR 50k or more to cool down a 1.5T.

In short: The initial investment in an installed and operational 0.4T will cost you about half of that of a 1.5T.

Second advantage: The physical footprint of, for instance, a Hitachi Aperto 0.4T, is only 4*5 meters. On top, there is no need for an equipment room. The smaller RF shield is also a cost saver.

 

2 Owning a permanent MRI

It is not only the initial investment which is lower. The running costs with a permanent MRI are significantly lower than it is the case of a helium-cooled MRI too. The permanent design means no need for helium-cooling. As the price of helium is on the rise, with little to no perspective of it changing, this alone is a tangible reduction in the running costs.

If you are based in Africa, please also keep in mind helium is a scarce commodity registered as dangerous goods, which on top needs to get flown in. This brings even further expenses to a 1.5T.

A permanent system is also much cheaper to maintain. The running cost of open MRI is reasonable with no need to buy expensive periodic replacement parts and supplies. Also, the stable operation is assured, with no risk of the system quenching. In most cases, we would even say a traditional full-coverage service contract is overkill. A couple of preventive maintenance visits per year is all you need. This adds further to your savings.

Since the required power supply for eg. an APERTO 0.4T is only 10kw and a large-scale cubicle is not required, the monthly cost of electricity is very reasonable. So, compared to other systems, permanent magnets also save money for electrical power.

All this adds up to lower running costs when you buy a permanent MRI. The lifetime running costs are significantly lower. This contributes to our clients typically breaking even after 1-1,5 years.

 

Permanent MRI Hitachi Aperto | FlexRay Medical

 

3 Benefits for the patients

The open design of this diagnostic imaging equipment equals better comfort for patients. Especially for claustrophobic, children and bariatric patients. This because these scanners have smaller physical footprints and wider bores. Furthermore,  a variety of configurations to maximize patient comfort and reduce claustrophobia

Minimizing patient claustrophobia is essential and not only for the comfort of the patient’s. It is also key to avoid image artefacts as a nervous patient will be more prone to movement during the scan. Fewer artefacts equal better pictures and, as such, the patient on average spends less time in the exam room. This also has the benefit of giving you time to scan more patients per day.

 

The takeaway

The only real disadvantage of a 0.4T is that it is not a 1.5T. For instance, a 1.5T will in many cases be a faster system. As such a 0.4T is not the best choice if you specialize in, for instance, cardiac exams.

But for about 99% of routine studies, it is a terrific technology which brings you great value and diagnostic power at a very attractive price point. This is for sure, the right choice of system for any small private clinic in Africa.

 

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)
mv@flexraymedical.com

 

From Initial Inspection to Final Shipping in 5 Steps – De-installing a Philips Brilliance 64 CT

From Initial Inspection to Final Shipping in 5 Steps – De-installing a Phillips Brilliance 64 CT

Do you know how to dismantle and move your 2000 kg heavy CT scanner, like a Philips Brilliance, from its current location and onto a truck parked outside your facility?

If you don’t, that is totally fine. Because when we buy a system, we also handle all the details related to planning and executing a successful de-installation of the system. Making everything as easy for you as possible.

Buying and selling used diagnostic imaging equipment are not as simple as unplugging and rolling the equipment out the door and onto a truck. Anyone who has been a part of such a process can testify to that.

How do we handle this huge task at FlexRay Medical? In this blog post, we give you a tour behind the scenes. We walk you through the process of planning and executing a removal of a Philips Brilliance 64 CT-scanner, from a Scandinavian hospital.

We have shared a bit of this story before in our mini-series on LinkedIn and Facebook. If you want the short version, you can get that there.

1 Initial Action

2 On-site Inspection

3 Detailed Planning 

4 De-installing

5 Shipping

 

 

1 Initial Action

The planning work begins even before the initial on-site inspection. We begin by preparing ourselves by looking into the OEMs manual for the correct handling of any given system.  In this case the Philips Brilliance 64 CT.

Using and ordering the correct tools and transport devices is all part of ensuring a smooth process and safe removal of the system. We always take the time to ensure we bring essential brackets for securely locking the system into the transport position.

The essential information for the planning process is often found in the pre-installation manuals, installation manuals and site planning guides. Each specific system has its manuals and guides.

For the Philips Brilliance 64 CT-scanner, we use a kit consisting of a special transport device/wheelset, a plate bracket to lock the rotation of the gantry. We also use  4 pieces of bolts to lock the tilt of the gantry and a stabilizing jack. The bolts and the jack ensure the gantry bearing is not damaged during transportation.

Diagnostic imaging equipment is often heavy and sensitive machinery. So, to ensure that we can perform safe and correct removal of the systems, we always “do our homework” before the initial inspection.

With these things in place, we are ready to continue with the initial on-site inspection.

On-site inspection - brilliance 64 | FlexRay Medical

2 On-site Inspection

The de-installation of a used CT system is one very small part of the process of replacing an existing system with a new system. The process as a whole involves many stakeholders.

That is why we always aim to perform the initial inspection well ahead of time. We know the importance of all parties being well prepared and on time, with their part of the work.

A crucial part of the initial on-site inspection is to walk through the outtake route of the system. We measure each door, elevator and passage and determine which departments along the route can be affected by the removal of the system.

This way we verify that the suggested route indeed is suitable. We also make sure to inform the affected apartments about when and where we need to pass through with the large and heavy components.

On this particular project, one door was less than the required 2032 mm.  Because of that, we had to set aside extra time to remove the gantry top, back and front covers. By doing so we were able to reduce the height of the gantry and pass-through this particular door.

At the on-site inspection, we also confirm where all the cables for the system run. Sometimes they run beneath the scan room floor in dedicated cables, ducts or pipes. In this case, the cables ran through the floor and down to the department downstairs and placed in cable trays above the suspended ceilings.

This meant that an additional department of the hospital was actually affected by the removal work. We then had to coordinate a time for accessing these cables of the Philips Brilliance, with this particular department.

We also investigate specifics for the parking area for our truck along with the accessibility along with the outtake route. Taking conditions during and after normal working hours into consideration.

Knowing each one of these details makes it possible to make all the necessary arrangements ahead of time. Careful planning often takes quite some time. In the end, it saves a lot of time in the de-installation process that everyone involved knows exactly what we do, when and where.

At the actual de-installation, it also ensures that we avoid unpleasant surprises.

Detailed planning | FlexRay Medical

3 Detailed Planning 

Back at the office we transform all this data into writing and create the game plan for the de-install.  Included are all findings and agreements made on-site during the inspection. We also map the exit route on a floor plan and document with extra pictures from the route.

An essential part of this particular project with the Philips Brilliance was to complete the agreements with each department affected by the removal works. We had to ensure that we had a green light to work at certain times during the day, at the different departments.

Moreover, at one part of the gantry removal route, the floor could not bear the direct pressure of the weight of the gantry and transport wheels. To handle this we planned to bring thick aluminium plates. This way distributing the weight evenly on the floor at this particular part.

Also, we had to pass through the hospital’s temporary COVID-19 emergency reception. So, we had to stay in contact with the pre-hospital services during the day. This to ensure not to bring any large component through the department when a suspected COVID-19 patient would be received. This meant we had to wait until the day of the removal to agree on a small part of the schedule.

When working in areas with an added risk of spreading infections or diseases, we always follow the local guidelines from the hospital. Especially on PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and the like.

For each project, we always share with the hospital and all involved parties a document listing the following details:

 

  • Which system we remove
  • Site and location details
  • Time schedule
  • A check-list for the customer/hospital, to prepare for our work on site
  • Contact details of involved persons

We also share relevant attachments like:

 

  • Outtake route report
  • System component weights and dimensions
  • Notes about which special permissions we need to have in place

With all these details well documented, we ensure that all parties involved are in agreement with the plan and well prepared for their part of the process.

Day of de-installation | FlexRay Medical

4 Day of de-installation

We begin in the morning with one final test, to make sure everything is as it should be and that the scanner is still within OEM specifications. These tests require that the CT is still connected to power at our arrival.

Following the last QA test of the system, we begin with removing the gantry floor bolts. On this particular model, we need to use the tilt function of the gantry to loosen the floor bolts. Without any power to the gantry, we are unable to remove these bolts and unable to remove the actual system.

We always agree with the hospital to keep the system connected to the power grid to perform the last tests. As in the case with this Philips Brilliance, most systems also need us to still have the system powered on, to bring the system into the correct transport position. Then our engineers tell the local electrician when to isolate the power supply to the system.

After isolating the power supply we loosen the floor bolts of the gantry and patient table. Then we finally bring the system into the correct position for transport. Next, we mount the transport wheels onto the CT gantry.

When the gantry and table are on wheels and ready to move, we pack all the smaller components and electronics from the system.

At the agreed time we begin to move the CT gantry and table via the designated outtake route, making sure the coast is clear. Finally, we load these onto the truck at the agreed loading and parking area.

The last that remains is to remove all cables from the cable trays. In this case, we did this after working hours. This way we avoided disturbing the department below the scan room, where we had to remove the ceiling, to access the cable trays.

At the end of an around 11-hour long workday, the complete system is loaded on the truck. We sweep the empty room and the truck and personnel leave for the warehouse. Everything on time and as planned.

Shipping | Phillips Brilliance | FlexRay Medical

5 Shipping

When we sell the system to a new customer, the last step in the process takes place at our warehouse. Here we check the complete system and prepare it for packing.

After all that care and effort in planning and carefully de-installing the system, this final part is also not a place to cut corners. We package the system precisely and all its components. Using internationally approved materials, suitable for the shipping method, which the customer chooses.

E.g. if shipping via sea or air, we use vapour barriers to protect the equipment during transit. This ensures that no moisture reaches the sensitive electronics of the system. There is a possibility that this can cause corrosion and electronic failure in the system.

The final and outer layer is a customised wooden crate. This protects every component of the CT system and makes it suitable for international freight.

After this, the Philips Brilliance, or another system, is shipped and on its way to the new owner, where it will help serve many more patients in the coming years.

Simon Dyrup Nielsen
CEO & partner
+45 2627 2879 (cell)
sdn@flexraymedical.com

 

5 Reasons Why You Do Not Want a Mobile MRI

5 Reasons Why You Do Not Want a Mobile MRI –On The African Continent

Estimated reading time: 5 min

 

To some, a mobile MRI unit sounds like the perfect solution. Especially when you want to bring diagnostic imaging to patients in rural areas. As such you might think a mobile MRI or CT would be the perfect solution for a continent as big and diversified as the African continent. No rules without exception, but generally I do not agree with that at all.

You might not agree with me first of, but after you read this, maybe you will.

 

Let’s be clear, when looking at an entire continent it’s impossible to be accurate. There is too big a difference between the countries. For instance, the needs of Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan are not the same.

Looking from a helicopter perspective there can be no arguing that the need for medical imaging equipment like MRI is great in the African continent. If you take a look at the image below from WHO, 2014 it is clear that Africa is the continent with fewest MRI units per million population.

 

MRI-units-per-million-population-WHOAt first, it might seem like a great idea to invest in a fleet of mobile MRIs for the African countries. But, when you take everything into account, it might not be such a great idea after all. The need is clinical there, but there are massive obstacles.

I have accumulated the key points in a few chapters. You can access each here to make it easy to jump straight to the points that interest you the most at first.

 

When the Best Option is in Fact Not an Option

 

Difficulties on the Road

 

Connectivity

 

Helium

 

Keeping Your Patients and System Chilled

 

In Conclusion

Mobile MRI not always a good option | FlexRay Medical

When the Best Option is in Fact Not an Option

For most parts of Africa, I always recommend choosing a permanent magnet. Read more about this in another blog post later this year.

But, as a permanent magnet weighs in the range of 16.000kg and also has a bigger footprint than a high-field. It simply does not fit into a mobile solution. The trailer itself would also get heavier due to extra reinforcements and an extra set of wheels. In total, the weight would get to about 30.000kg. That kind of weight is not only heavy, it is too heavy.

So, if you insist on a mobile solution, the only real option is a high-field MRI. Below I will look at some of the key issues arising from operating a high-field mobile MRI.

Difficulties on the road | FlexRay Medical

Difficulties on the Road

A mobile MRI unit travels many miles and not all the roads are paved with smooth asphalt like in the cities. The many miles driven on bumpy roads will lead to failing boards and significantly more service than fixed-site MRI’s. That alone means higher expenses than for an MRI unit at a clinic or a hospital.

Also, moving the mobile MRI on bumpy roads can easily lead to magnet quenches. As I am sure that you are aware of, this is not something to take lightly. Keeping an MRI filled with liquid helium is also a very expensive affair and also not widely available across the continent.

Mobile MRI Connectivity | FlexRay Medical

Connectivity

When moving an MRI from place to place you are very much dependent on the sites to be ready for you. For instance, this means that enough power infrastructure has been established at all locations.

Typically you will need 125 AMP. To establish this is not cheap or without difficulties. Even in Europe, you can not get this everywhere. Also, it goes without saying that the power grid needs to be stable and without power cuts. Unstable power or power cuts can lead to quenches.

Helium MRI | FlexRay Medical

Helium

Because of the constant risk of a quench, you must have a local supplier of liquid helium. This is because you need to be able to get 250-500 litres of helium within 24 hours at all times. Otherwise, an elsewise functional system risks getting damaged beyond realistic repair/cooldown.

The price of helium is fluctuating and is different between regions. As of today, in the EU we are paying in the range of USD 22 per litre. But in Africa, we have seen prices anywhere from USD 35 to almost USD 50 per litre.
If you are curious to see a controlled magnet quench this is a video of such a thing.

Mobile MRI Keeping patients and system chilled| FlexRay Medical

Keeping Your Patients and System Chilled

The walls of a mobile MRI are thin and scarcely isolated. There is simply no room for much else as a high-field MRI system takes up a lot of space.

This also means the temperature inside the trailer is very much influenced by the temperature outside the trailer. Typically a trailer built in Europe is equipped with air conditioning suitable for the European climate. So, when it hits significantly higher temperatures it cannot keep up. This results in overheating of electronics which again results in the system breaking down.

Used mobile systems are extremely rarely equipped with enough isolation to deal with the African climate. If you buy a brand new one it might be different, but that is at a completely different price point.

 

In Conclusion

The largely unmet need for MRIs and the vast distances on the African continent make mobile MRI units seem like the right match. It is my claim that it is not.

It is too costly an affair to maintain and repair them in the long run. If you proceed and get a mobile MRI anyway, I will almost guarantee that you will end up with a warm, quenched magnet too expensive to bring back to service.

Buying an MRI is not about the initial investment. The key is the total cost of ownership and THE most expensive system to own is a mobile MRI.

The money would be better spent on transporting the patients to the MRI and not the other way around. One could also choose to buy more MRIs.

In my view getting the patients to the equipment and getting them a proper diagnosis is the best solution for most places in Africa.

 

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)
mv@flexraymedical.com

 

When Size Matters

– Why The Big 5 is better in the world of used medical imaging equipment

Estimated reading time: 4 min

 

Bigger is not always better, but when talking about support and service of used medical imaging equipment bigger is better. If the manufacturer of a system is one of “The Big 5” you as a buyer of a used medical imaging system are better off than with a smaller manufacturer.

With this blog post, you get some basic and very impotent advice when you consider buying a used piece of diagnostic equipment.

Unlike “The Big 5”, this list is short and sweet. These are the 3 key points:

 

1 Pick Used Equipment Manufactured by The Big 5

 

2 Availability of Parts and Consumables

 

3 Regular Preventive Maintenance

 

Conclusion

 

Pick used equipment manufactured by The Big 5 | Flexray Medical

Pick used equipment manufactured by The Big 5

 

There are many fine manufacturers of diagnostic imaging equipment. But, when it comes to buying a pre-owned system there are good reasons to focus on the major 5 OEMs: GE, Hitachi, Philips, Siemens and Toshiba/Canon.

All these brands make great systems. There is hardly a reason to mention, that they have their “pros and cons”, every system does. But all in all a used system from any of these 5 will be great. Also if you are on a budget. More about buying on a budget in this blog post.

Because these 5 OEMs are major players on the market and because they have been around for decades, you do get an advantage with a system from any of them.

What is then the main advantage of picking a system from a Big 5?  The main advantage is you can get it serviced by a skilled third party company and that parts are widely available.

Most third party companies are founded by people/engineers who first had a career as service engineers at one of the big 5. As such they will hold great knowledge on the equipment. This is the key to keeping a used system running for decades: good, independent service and access to spare parts.

 

Availability of Parts and Consumables | FlexRay Medical

Availability of Parts and Consumables

You need to take the availability of parts and consumables into careful consideration. That is the second important key point when you buy a used system. Not because the system is no good any longer. A well-maintained system will often run well for years to come.

But because, by the rule of randomness, it is a fact that a used system will break down more often than a brand new one. Hence the price difference when you buy a pre-owned system. Thus it is important that both parts and service are easy to come by.

If you buy a great product from a smaller manufacturer you will find it much more difficult and or expensive to get both spare parts and independent service. On top of that, getting basic service is often difficult. That way an often cheaper initial price becomes more expensive over time. Simply due to more costly maintenance in the long run as you quite possibly get depended on an OEM-service contract. Those do not come cheap.

On top of that, even if the availability of the parts and consumables is OK, it is often time-consuming finding skilled technicians that can handle the job if the equipment is not from “The Big 5”. Resulting in very inconvenient and expensive downtime.

Buying a used system of either of “The Big 5” ensures that parts and engineers are widely available from sufficient third party suppliers. This also means increased competition which means you get better prices.

 

 Regular preventive maintenance | FlexRay Medical

Regular preventive maintenance

 

As it is the case with anything, if you maintain your medical imaging equipment regularly, then it will run better and longer. Thus be of service to you and your community for a long time. This is also something that has a positive impact on the total expense of your system.

If you are buying an MRI you should ask your supplier for the availability of online-monitoring of the magnet and cooling chain. Such would typically cost a monthly fee, but it can also prevent sudden break-downs. Planned service is always more cost-effective versus a sudden break-down late Friday afternoon. Especially if parts and labour have to be flown in. This is a quite common situation on the African continent.

 

Conclusion:

We stick to our claim that when you buy used medical imaging equipment bigger IS bigger. You get a system that is easier to maintain and service and that consequently gives the system longer uptime. Thus a better return of investment for you.

That is why we specialise in used systems from “The Big 5”.

If you have any questions about this or want to know more, we are always happy to assist you.

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)
mv@flexraymedical.com

 

Maximise the value of your used medical equipment

Maximise the value of your used medical equipment

Estimated reading time: 4 mins

When you are replacing systems and investing a lot of money in new systems selling a used system easily becomes a secondary priority for you.

Yet, you could still be able to get money for your used equipment and a hassle-free solution for removal of said equipment too.

How do you maximise the value of your used medical equipment? At Flexray Medical we suggest you follow these 4 easy steps:

1 Detailed Equipment Specifications

2 Take Good Photos 

3 Accurate Service Records 

4 Be Honest

When you follow these steps you help us to provide you with correct valuation and a fair market price for your equipment. Enabling you to get a good price, without too much time or effort spent.

maximize the value - detailed equipment specifications | FlexRay Medical

Detailed Equipment Specifications

To make a valuation of your used system as easy as possible, you should ensure that you provide us with detailed specifications of your system.

This often includes information about the system configuration, as it was upon delivery. It also includes information about the systems current configuration and condition.

Not all specifications are relevant for all equipment. Though specifications such as year of manufacturing, current software version and licenses installed, software and hardware options included are all relevant across modalities.

You can provide this information in a few ways. One is to attach the original quotation when contacting us or another company. Another is to fill out a contact form such as this.

Always add as many details as possible. As mentioned in the above, this helps to provide you with the best price possible from the beginning.

take good photos | FlexRay Medical

Take Good Photos

Good photos are not about placing the system in the perfect golden incision. It is as simple as presenting the system in its current condition.

The points that define good photos are as follows:

 

  • Well lit photos with enough light to get a good impression of your system.
  • Sharp and non-blurry photos, ensuring that all details are “caught on camera”.
  • Photos of every label on the system components.
  • Photos of all system components from different angles.

All in all, the better photos you provide to a potential buyer, the more information this soon-to-be new owner of the equipment has. This leads to an accurate valuation and a hassle-free deal.

Everything you wish to sell needs to look the best. This is especially true when selling anything used.

Make the system look its best, by ensuring that the system is clean and the room itself is free of clutter. This makes it easier to assess the actual equipment condition.

accurate service records | FlexRay Medical

Accurate Service Records  

The system you wish to sell has been serving you and your patients well. The next owner wants to ensure that the system is still running according to specifications and safe to use. Ensuring that the next patient also gets a proper diagnosis.

One way of ensuring this is to provide the records of all planned maintenance and day-to-day service interventions. Accurate service records are proof that all this has been performed.

Your current service provider can send you an overview of the service done to the equipment, during the equipment lifetime. Both planned maintenance and any break-down service.

Knowing the history of the system means less risk to the next owner and thereby also better resale value. Simply because you have proved that your equipment is in good condition.

Equipment that has been taken good care of is also likely to last longer. That way continuing to provide a diagnosis to more patients in the future, with less down-time. All in all, this makes the equipment faster to sell, because the system is a better buy than equipment in a not as favourable condition.

be honest | FlexRay Medical

Be Honest

One last thing – be honest!

If you know there are some issues with the equipment it is better to get it out in the open right from the start. When you inform of any issues with the medical imaging equipment from the beginning, this often has the bonus of being somewhat easy and cheap to fix. When done in due time, of course.

Often you can have most repairs carried out by your current service provider if the system is under a full coverage service contract. If this is the case, you might as well bring the system up to its best possible condition. This ensures that you get the most value for the equipment when replacing it.

If you want to learn more about how we at FlexRay Medical carry out equipment QA testing and inspections. You can find this on our website, please click here.

Maybe you would also like to get a fair market evaluation of your equipment from FlexRay Medical? Feel free to do so at any time and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Simon Dyrup Nielsen
CEO & partner
+45 2627 2879 (cell)
sdn@flexraymedical.com

 

5 essential tips for clinics when buying a system

5 essential tips for clinics when buying a system

4 min read

Buying any piece of “heavy”  medical imaging equipment can be a daunting experience. In CT and MRI there are many different systems to choose from. Choosing what system to get depends on a lot of factors. The price is without question one, but not the only. In truth, looking only on the price will almost certainly lead you to disaster.

There is no such thing as one single perfect-for-all-solution. Finding the right system depends on a lot of factors. Do your very best to find a solution that fits your needs and budget.

What can you do then to narrow the field and make the decision easier? You need to know what you want, what you need and why. Below is a shortlist of 5 points that will help you in your search.

 

1 Keep an Eye Open

2 Come Prepared

3 Used Scanner or Used Car

4 Remember Third-party Service 

5 Go With the Flow

Essential Tip for Clinics 1 Keep an Eye Open | FlexRay Medical

Keep an Eye Open

 

The first of the essential tips for clinics is to have a look around you. What system do your nearest competitors use? This is important. Not because you want to go out and get the same medical imaging equipment as they have, but because you don’t want to bring a knife to a gunfight.

What you want to do is to use their choice for inspiration. Knowing what your competitors use is a good indicator for you to find a system with similar or better capabilities. Having the best scanner in town is also a way to attract insurance companies etc.

Perhaps you find zero competition? If so you should consider if perhaps you, in fact, need all bells and whistles. Perhaps a lower-priced unit can do the same for less.

Essential Tip for Clinics 2 Come Prepared

Come Prepared 

The second of the essential tips for clinics is to spend some time figuring out exactly how many patients you have and are going to have. Really dig into it and find out how many patients that are realistic. The number of patients sets the bar for how much you can invest.

Not only does this number have an obvious and massive financial impact on your clinic. It is also of significant importance when you consider what kind of system to buy.

Some systems are designed to handle a high patient flow, while others are designed for less patient flow. No need to pay more for a system that can handle more patients that you expect to have. This is essentially a “make it or break it” balance. FlexRay Medical is happy to guide you through the jungle of different system and tube configurations.

Essential Tip for Clinics 3 Used Scanner or Used Car

Used Scanner or Used Car

Buying a pre-owned system is a bit like buying a used car. In the sense that, if you are too specific on what you want,i.e. model, applications and more. Then you could end up waiting years for the perfect system – or perhaps never getting a system at all. Can you afford that?

No matter what used system you are looking for, you can only get what is available on the market. As a rule of thumb, you should figure out what the ideal solution for you is on one hand and what you can accept on the other. Often you get a good system capable of doing 90% of what you wished for and this is normally plenty for you to have a healthy clinic.

Tip 4 Remember Third-Party Service | FlexRay Medical

Remember Third-Party Service

No matter how great a system you get and how great the price is you should NEVER buy a system, which cannot be supported by local, third-party service. In reality, this often means buying a system manufactured by one of the big 5 Original Equipment Manufacturers. This might come at a higher initial cost. But, having local, third-party service will save you money in the long term.

You also have to make sure the system and model you get is not locked by a service key. Getting such a model is becoming more difficult, but they are still around. At least make sure your servicer confirms that they can arrange for such a service key. Remember to learn at what price before you buy because this does not come cheap.

Tip 5 Go With the Flow | FlexRay Medical

Go With the Flow

Finally, it is all about the flow of the clinic. The physical flow of your patients in your clinic is very important when you buy a system. The layout of a clinic can assist in getting more patients through the clinic daily. It can also do the opposite. I’ve seen clinics, which after careful planning of the patient flow, increased the flow by more than 40%. That’s as good as money in the bank – and often it requires close to zero investment.

 

One final thing

Each of these 5 essential tips for clinics could be elaborated on for page after page. But that is not the point with this post. Still, I hope you got a sense of what to consider before proceeding with any diagnostic investment.

No matter what we are always ready to answer your questions and to guide you in the right direction. Give a call or send an email and we’ll find a great solution for you.

We regularly write updates on our LinkedIn profile. If you like this post follow us and never miss a post.

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)
mv@flexraymedical.com

 

Buying medical imaging equipment on a budget – 6 things to remember

Buying Medical Imaging Equipment on a Budget – 6 Things to Remember

 

7 min read

 

When buying medical imaging equipment, 6 things to remember might sound simple. When you work with this every day it might be. But if this is the first time that you invest in equipment of this type it might not be that simple. Maybe it has been a while since the last time? We hope that this blog post can be of relevance to you.

Which 6 things are important to remember when buying used medical equipment? We all want to get the best. But what is “the best” when buying used medical equipment on a budget? In our opinion, it is getting a device capable of doing exactly the exams you need for your patients – no more, no less. Why pay for cardiac software, if you don’t do cardiac examinations?

The balance between needed configuration, price and availability is delicate.

Finding the “perfect match” is almost impossible, but it happens. If you find it available – do not hesitate to close the deal and fast! But in most cases, you would need to compromise.

Either way, it’s a good idea to be mindful and consider what is nice to have and what you need to have. This can save you a lot – both money and headaches.

Listed below are the 6 elements we think you should consider when looking for the perfect match.

 

What do you need?

You know what you like and need. Now what?

You never get something for nothing

Refurbished is better than used?

Inspect your equipment

Trust is imminent

One final thing

 

What do you need 6 things to remember when buying medical imaging equipment on a budget

What do you need?

Brand new equipment is tailored for your needs and as such a perfect match – but it also comes at a price. So, is that always what you need to best take care of your patient’s needs? Often what you would like and what you need are two very different things. Of course, this also depends on your budget. Perhaps getting 95% of what you believe you need at 50% of the cost is good enough? This is the real advantage when you buy something preowned.

Medical imaging equipment does not become useless or obsolete overnight due to a previous owner. Any diagnostic system which has been under service from day 1 will easily go on for another 5-10 years. If it is under the careful watch of an independent service provider. One thing is certain, this type of equipment is a heavy investment and that means that you take care of it. So, even though the first owner replaced it for a new model, it can still be of tremendous good use in another place.

You know what you like and need. Now what? FlexRay Medical

You know what you like and need. Now what?

Now you find the best match between the needed medical imaging device and your budget. It is important to think of the budget as the entire investment. Not only the cost of the equipment hardware. What about the site requirements? The refurbishing requirements? And what should you expect for a  lifetime investment?

For instance, the same model CT scanner can come with different tube models. This means, if you need a new one, this can set you back anything from EUR 40.000 to 140.000. On average the models with expensive tubes are available at a lower initial investment. This is very important to take into consideration when deciding on a piece of imaging equipment. What may look cheap at first could with ease end up quite expensive.

Of course, when deciding on the right system, you also need to consider how many patients you’ll be doing per day. Rule of thumb: The more patients you do, the bigger a tube you need. This is very important as bigger tubes have a better cooling capacity. If you try to do a LOT of patients on a small tube it will take a longer time to cool down. On top, you will in general need to replace the tube more often. And it is always somewhat expensive to replace the X-ray tube.

You never get something for nothing FlexRay Medical

You never get something for nothing

Even though you have to consider your budget, you can still buy your imaging equipment too cheap. The cheapest on the pre-owned market is very often not what you need. No rules without exceptions, but often an otherwise popular model is often only cheap if nobody wants to buy it. Which often means it has been in heavy use, has known issues or a high tube count. As such what initially looks cheap will in the long run often prove very costly.

What you need is a long-lasting solution. A solution which keeps lifetime costs low and uptime high. When your equipment is down, then you cannot take care of your patients and that is expensive. You have to consider all this when you decide which offer is best for you in the long run. Usually, this means a somewhat higher initial investment. With that investment comes a smaller risk for expensive downtime or extra costs.

Trust is imminent FlexRay Medical

Refurbished is better than used?

Not always. It depends on many factors. One factor is what level of refurbishing you need. Often there are many ways to refurbish imaging equipment. It’s a balance between functionality and lifetime cost expectations. That means you always have to take into consideration if the benefit matches the cost. If the refurbishment is, in reality, removing dust, painting covers and replacing brushes. Then this will not bring you any extra up-time security. It may of course still be of importance to you.

No matter what: make sure the definition of “refurbished” is very clear in your contract. Every company in the industry has its definition and as such, you can take nothing for granted.

If you need a consultation to determine if refurbished is what you need, please contact us. We are always ready to answer your questions and help you choose what is best in your case. This is, of course, free of charge.

Inspect your equipment FlexRay Medical

Inspect your equipment

Before you buy any type of used medical imaging equipment. We recommend that you spend a bit of time and money to inspect the chosen equipment. Preferably, do so before it is de-installed from its original location. This gives you the possibility to perform a few scans on the system and check the basic functionality and image quality. On another note, if your source can’t show you on-site what they are selling, then they might not own the equipment. If this is the case, buying anything from them is not the best idea.

If you are not a capable user of the equipment, make sure to bring someone along with the proper training. Remember the inspection is your opportunity to check if all is as it should be. Often the inspection is your sole window to make your own test of the quality of the equipment.

6 things to remember when buying medical imaging equipment on a budget Trust is imminent FlexRay Medical

Trust is imminent

You know what type of equipment you need. You know your budget. Who do you choose to help you with your purchase? You always want to make a full check of the background of your final supplier. Who are they? Do you know anyone who will recommend someone to you?

There are plenty of online companies with shiny webpages offering great systems and even better prices. Sometimes it is simply too good to be true. Trustworthy suppliers come in many shapes and sizes. For a first deal, it is often a good idea to visit them. Go see their facility and sound them out. This may cost you a little for a plane ticket and hotel, but compared to buying a system from the wrong company this is money well spent.

To a wide extent buying a used piece of diagnostic equipment is based on trust. Make sure you are comfortable with your chosen supplier.

 

One final thing

Always buy medical imaging equipment from a serious and trustworthy company. A company with the know-how and experience to cater to your needs. Of course, we hope you will buy from FlexRay Medical, but if not, then at least buy from another IAMERS member.

 

Back in 2017, we wrote a post on some of the things to remember when buying medical imaging equipment on a budget. To this day that post is still one of our most popular blog posts. That is why we have written this updated post.

If you like this post feel free to share and if you want to read it again we have posted it on our homepage.

 

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)
mv@flexraymedical.com

Global Recycling Day 2020

Why Global Recycling Day is important when working with used medical equipment

 

 

3 min read

Today is Global Recycling Day 2020. At first glance, it may seem that buying and selling used medical imaging systems has nothing to do with recycling. But recycling is not only using systems and equipment for a longer period. It is also reselling it after use. In essence, it is seeing not waste, but an opportunity.

On top of that, minimizing the resources used for scrapping and reprocessing the materials.  20 years ago a used X-ray system would have ended its days in the scrap yard. Where the contents of plenty of different plastics, chemicals and minerals ended their days. Today it is different. Used systems are very often reinstalled in a new facility. Or split up for parts use and thus supporting similar systems installed around the Globe. In fact, even when you today buy a new part from your local OEM representative, it’s quite often a used, but thoroughly tested, part, you are getting. Buying new or used doesn’t make a difference as long as you get the right mix of warranty and affordability.

Recycling is part of using the Earth’s resources wiser. Recycling also helps combat climate change and makes the most of the resources. Used medical equipment might be a small drop when saving natural resources. But every drop counts. On top, it is of real importance in bringing affordable healthcare solutions to more people.

Global Recycling Day is important to us. Because reselling medical imaging equipment gives more patients access to proper diagnostic tools. This is the basis for a successful treatment. resulting in many more saved lives. This also has the fortunate side effect that the specialised equipment functions longer. Saving resources saves lives.

 

Why Global Recycling Day is important when working with used medical equipment
Used medical equipment arriving at a new facility

 

Doing what we can

Flexray Medical has already been part of this cycle for some years and our team for decades more. We have brought high quality and affordable diagnostic imaging to some of the most remote parts of the World. We have even installed some of the first-ever MRI, CT and X-ray systems, in more rural areas of developing countries. But that is a different story which we will save for another day.

At Flexray Medical we are happy and proud to do our bit to a better World. Large words. But a wider reach of imaging equipment leads to better diagnostics for patients in need. At the end of the day investing in used medical imaging equipment and Global Recycling Day wants the same. In essence, it is about better lives for all of us. Without ruining the planet.

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)
mv@flexraymedical.com

Meet FlexRay Medical at ECR 2020

Due to Covid-19 ECR 2020 is postponed

So we’ll not meet up this week. Hopefully in July 2020.

Vienna once again

 

3 min read

Returning to Vienna once again is not only a sure sign of spring. We are going to Vienna to take part in the annual ECR (European Congress of Radiology). ECR is one of the largest medical meetings in Europe. It is also the second-largest radiological meeting in the world that meets every year. As always, there are some interesting things on the programme this year.

The opening is one. This year the motto is “Adagio” and, as always, music is a part of this. The music this year is intending an atmosphere of slow tempo, graceful movements and a leisurely manner. In combination with a big band orchestra, this should be interesting to experience.

There is also a second underlying motto this year; Be a tree’. The European Congress of Radiology has announced this as a part of their work for environmental awareness. This means, that for every person who takes part in the ECR, they will plant a tree. No matter if this person attends onsite or online. The ECR does this to address the issues associated with deforestation. The expected number of planted trees is estimated to be 30.000. This truly is a great idea.

At FlexRay Medical we want to honour this initiative. We promise to plant a tree for every piece of medical imaging equipment we sell during the ECR. This is but a small drop in the ocean, but every drop counts.

 


 

We wish to meet with you

Simon Dyrup Nielsen and I will be in Vienna from Wednesday the 11th of March to Saturday the 14th of March. If you happen to be at ECR too, please don’t hesitate to contact Simon or me, so we can meet up.

Contact Mads Vittrup on cell: +45 2859 9829, also WhatsApp

via email: mv@flexraymedical.com.

Contact Simon Dyrup Nielsen on cell: +45 2627 2879, also WhatsApp

via email: sdn@flexraymedical.com

Besides contacting us in advance, it is also possible to drop by and find me in the business lounge area at Café Motto.

 

Meet FlexRay Medical at ECR 2020

 

All work and no play

That is no way to enjoy the magnificent city of Vienna. One highlight of the ECR is, of course, the traditional IAMERS cocktail party. The Kempinski Hotel is once again a very pleasant venue. This is on Friday the 13th, but we do not expect any ghosts or monsters to attend.

We strongly hope to meet you there. If you are not a member of this group of peers. I will encourage you to become a member. Follow this link to do so.  If you choose to do so, you are more than welcome to use us as a reference.

This impressive capital of Austria has many marvellous options. Der Spanischen Hofreitschule, known also as the Spanish Riding School, is definitely one. We hope to have the time to go there to see this Austrian institution and of course the beautiful Lipizzaner horses.

 

Have a great ECR 2020.

Mads Vittrup
CEO & partner
+4528599829 (cell)
mv@flexraymedical.com

 

 

 

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