Where do you buy used medical equipment?

H1: Where do you buy used medical equipment of top quality?

Where do you buy used medical equipment of top quality?

 

Estimated reading time: 5 min

 

The first time you do your research to find the perfect used CT, MRI or PET-CT scanner, it is a confusing task. 

How do you know where to look? 

How do you find the gems and avoid the rubbish?

 

This blog is an intro to where to search and where you turn to get help in the hunt for used imaging equipment.

At the bottom of this text, I have added a few extra reads to assist you in your search.

 

You can find anything online, but. 

While it is possible to find all kinds of equipment on the internet, I absolutely do NOT recommend buying your next scanner from the first shiny webpage with some flashy copy you come across. 

 

A good buy needs more than a becoming and intriguing price tag on it.  

 

I DO recommend buying from a reputable source, someone who actually knows the difference from one CT scanner to another. That is why I recommend a bit of caution when you decide on a dealer. 

 

 

Where do you find valuable used medical equipment?

 

You can ask a friend or colleague. That is a tried-and-true approach. Ask someone who has bought that type of equipment themselves. What did they do? Do they have any tips for you? Do they know the person or company you consider buying from? References are always valuable.  

 

If you have zero networks within the industry, a public trading forum could be one place to begin your search for a stable system that fits your needs. Online you find several public trading forums that focus on medical equipment, parts and service. They are only a quick Google search away.

Under all circumstances, I recommend you only buy equipment from a member of IAMERS.

This trade organization guarantees ethical business dealings. In fact, given your supplier is a member, if you feel they have tricked you, you can always ask the IAMERS ethical committee for assistance.

 

 

Give the ownership, or proprietorship, of the system a thought. 

 

Does the one you negotiate with own the system themselves or sell it on behalf of someone else? Taking ownership into consideration has immense potential for saving you time, money and trouble.

 

 

How YOU benefit from buying directly from the owner

 

Cut out the go-between and save money. 

 

When you are in direct contact with the owner, there is no go-between needing payment too. Not having to pay a fee usually means you save a significant bit of money. Money that you can spend on the shipping, a site visit, or whatever you prefer. 

 

Buying directly from the source is a guarantee that the system is actually available. 

By the time you have finished negotiations with your go-between, chances are the actual owner of the equipment has sold the unit to somebody else. 

If you have already wired a deposit to the go-between, then you spend your time getting that money refunded.

 

 

You get the liberty to inspect the equipment.

 

The possibility to inspect the equipment is one of THE best things you can do when you buy used scanners. Because most often, the contractual term will be “as is” (or WAF). 

Your inspection is the only chance you have to check the equipment and make sure everything is as desired and as promised.

 

Preferably you even inspect the system BEFORE de-installing. That gives you the best chances of catching any minor or dominant malfunctions or other quirks of the system before you settle on a price. 


In case you are buying a piece of equipment already de-installed, at least make sure your seller has performed an extensive test of the kit AND that they will present to you their findings. Such a test report is no guarantee, but it is certainly far better than nothing.

 

Follow me to my next point.

 

Where do you buy used medical equipment of top quality?

 

You have an easier time troubleshooting any issues

 

Simply because you are in direct contact with the seller and you examined the device.

 

Having direct contact with the seller often gives you the complete history of the system. 

Did a full-service contract cover the system? Have there been any issues with the scanner? What were they? How and when were they repaired?

 

You can say the communication will be less complicated without a go-between where XYZ gets lost in translation. 

 

 

 Are there no drawbacks?

 

Just as you cannot eat onions without getting bad breath, there are also a few things to consider in this situation.

 

When you are new to buying used imaging equipment, you most likely will not know the usual things to look out for in neither a system nor a sales contract. If you are buying “as is”, it is of utmost importance as the risk is on you.

For this, reach out to your network. If you do not know anyone who can help you, reach out to someone who does. Most people like to help others. No matter what, I would like to stress the importance of choosing a company member of IAMERS as this brings you security.

 

 

To wrap this blog up in less time than a sneeze, the benefits of buying a used CT, MRI, PET/CT directly from the owner are:

  • You save money when you cut out the middleman.
  • You should have vast opportunities to inspect the equipment. 
  • Troubleshooting is easier.
  • The seller often knows the history of the system.

 

 

If I can be of any assistance to you, you are welcome to contact me, and I will do my best to help in any way that I can.

Mads Vittrup

CEO & partner

+4528599829 (cell)

mv@flexraymedical.com

 

 

BONUS 

When you want to find out which tips are essential

 

Are there significant factors to consider when you are on a budget?

 

Read here what difference it makes choosing a system from a smaller OEM or The Big Five

5 Fundamental Tips When You Buy a Used Scanner

5 Fundamental Tips When You Buy a Used Scanner

You Wish To Buy a Used Scanner – 5 Fundamental Tips

Estimated reading time: 3 min   

 

You find yourself in the position where you want to buy a used scanner. Maybe it is a CT or an MRI or some other large and expensive piece of equipment. Then the question arises WHAT specific system do you choose to buy? One thing for sure, there are a lot of different imaging systems. 

Let us be honest buying a used scanner is more complicated than choosing something new and shiny from a catalogue. Fear not, in this blog, we give you five bulletproof points that will help you narrow down which system to buy. And from whom. I wonder if you agree with me on these points? Your feedback is always appreciated.  

 

1 – The Need

First, you need to know what you are searching for. Do you need a scanner able to scan a lot of patients daily? Is there a demand for specialized scans, like cardiac exams? There is no need to pay for the capability to perform cardiac exams if this is not what your clients need. Also, consider what type of device your competition has? If, for instance, the competition all have 64-slice systems, you do not want to show up with a 16-slice. Do not bring a knife to a gunfight; do 64 or higher – let the arms race begin. 😉

These are all questions you need to answer before you go looking for the right scanner. It is easy to get caught up in the possibilities, but if you do not need an expensive feature, try to avoid it. More extras often mean more pieces that need maintenance and sometimes repaired. The unnecessary extras add to the total price of your chosen device.  

 

2 – The Cost 

When you decide what to buy, the price of the system is an imperative factor. My advice to you is to think big. Not in the sense that you only spend money on the equipment. Big thinking means taking into consideration every piece of the price puzzle. 

You have to factor in the site requirements and the refurbishing requirements. What size of tube you need and when will you have to replace it? I know it is delicate, but try always consider the lifetime investment. A favourable price often hides an unpleasant truth down the road.

Those numbers get added to the costs of the equipment hardware. And there is more you need to take into consideration.  

 

5 Fundamental Tips When You Buy a Used Scanner

 

 3 – The Service

I can not underline this enough: You should NEVER buy a system without the possibility of support by local, third-party service providers.   Generally, this means that the used scanner you buy is from any of “the big 5” original equipment manufacturers. In alphabetical order, they are GE, Hitachi, Philips, Siemens and Toshiba/Canon.  

Having local service providers reduces the downtime if a system needs repair and service and saves you money in the long run. You do not want a system if it makes you dependent on over-priced OEM service. 

Sadly there is a little devil-in-the-detail here. It is increasingly difficult to find a make and model not locked by an OEM service key. You must make sure that your servicer confirms that they can arrange for a service key. It does not come cheap, but it’s all a part of the price puzzle.  

 

4 – The Inspection

It is all-important to inspect the used scanner that catches your eye. If possible, take the time to check out the system onsite and before it is de-installed. That way, you can perform test scans and see if said equipment lives up to your expectations. And if the system lives up to what the seller told you. What looks superb to the seller may not look the same to you.

As I write this, the World still experiences different lockdowns because of a little virus called COVID-19. Inspection of any systems you might be interested in is difficult or impossible. All this leads me to the final point.  

 

5 – The Trust

In the end, it is all a matter of trust. You need to trust your supplier. If you don’t my only advice is you make a run for it. Do they own the equipment they wish to sell to you or are they merely brokers? Have they supplied you with sufficient and credible specifications? Do they have a good reputation? Are they a member of an organisation with high standards, like the International Association of Medical Equipment Remarketers and Servicers also known as IAMERS

You have to feel comfortable that you get what you pay for and on time. Another excellent way to find out if you can trust someone is to visit. Obviously, this is a bit difficult at the moment. Then their reputation is imperative to spend a little time researching.

 

Mads Vittrup

CEO & partner

+4528599829 (cell)

mv@flexraymedical.com

Why the Prices of Used CT Skyrockets

Why the Prices of Used CT Skyrockets. And what to look out for

Why the Prices of Used CT Skyrockets

And what to look out for

 

Estimated reading time: 3 min

One of the clear advantages of buying a used CT scanner is that you get very high-quality equipment for a very reasonable amount of money. Obviously, this is highly beneficial for a new or small clinic or when you have a limited budget and still want to give your patients excellent care.

In 2020 the prices for a used CT scanner went skyrocketing. The reason for that is pretty simple: A sudden and massive increase in demand.  This very high and worldwide demand for (used) CT scanners is in tight correlation with COVID-19. The reason is they get used for Covid-19 screening and diagnostics. Pushing up the prices of used scanners as the demand is tremendously high. 

We even saw OEMs selling their own used systems as their factories were unable to supply enough new systems! Concurrent, the supply of used scanners from western hospitals is at an all-time low, as they are too busy with COVID-19 to replace their older scanners. It all adds up, creating a “perfect storm” resulting in high CT prices.

Finding a cheap CT scanner is not impossible, but the bar defining what is cheap has risen.

Why the Prices of Used CT Skyrockets

How do you determine if a low-priced CT is a good buy?

First of all, I strongly recommend you to be very careful about buying a low-priced CT. Systems bought too cheaply only too often ends up being very expensive in extra repairs and general maintenance.  There are a few key things which can explain (and perhaps justify) a surprisingly low buying price. Below is a list and also some of the concerns related to this. 

  1. The CT will be timeworn. Things will start breaking. It can sometimes be difficult to source needed spare parts for older systems. This results in additional expenses to the initial buying price.
  2. The CT has a very high tube count. Inevitably you will soon need to replace the X-ray tube, which is a very costly part. A new tube can cost anything from USD 20k to USD 200k depending on what system you buy. Again, adding to the initial cost as well as the lifetime investment.
  3. The CT is in bad condition or has a bad service history. Possibly even making re-installation of the equipment impossible – or as a minimum inflict many extra expenses for parts and repair.

Often a mix of the above points will be “the perfect storm” for any clinic. You will, in the end, be spending a great deal more than for instance an initial $30.000 to get a low-priced system “as it is” up and running.

And what to look out for

It could be a hoax

If someone is offering you an eye-catching CT with a satisfying tube at a low price, then most likely it is a scam. If so, you will lose all your money. Please be very careful. If it looks too good to be true, then most like it is because it is. Personally, I would recommend you would only buy a system from a company which is also a member of IAMERS. This brings you security. 

To get a decent mid-range CT system in today’s market, you should expect to pay between $60.000 and $90.000 “as is”. On top would come refurbishment, shipping, site preparations, installation, warranty etc.
Of course, it always depends on the model, tube count, vintage and much more – but at least it gives you some idea of the level.

 

No matter how you look at it, for the time being there is substantial demand for CT scanners worldwide. In combination with the fact that the western hospitals are postponing replacing their CT scanners, this results in a significant increase in the prices.

Either you bite the bullet and pay the current prices or you wait for the market to come back down. This could happen tomorrow or in 2022 – your guess is almost as good as mine 😉 .
Otherwise, you will have to look into other options. Perhaps consider other modalities that can assist your diagnostic capabilities? It obviously depends on what type of patients you got and the exams you do. But for a low-budget clinic in remote locations, it is often worthwhile considering if an ultrasound system, a mobile X-ray or a C-arm can do the trick.

 

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

 

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

 

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

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