Without medical equipment, the role of a doctor would be very difficult indeed. Many of the improvements made to medical outcomes over the past few decades have come due to innovative technology and equipment. Few procedures or tests conducted today don’t rely on some form of a medical device.
With that in mind, purchasing medical equipment is one of the most crucial roles of a healthcare manager. If this task is your responsibility, you have to weigh up a series of factors to ensure you’re doing the right thing from a financial, operational, and medical perspective.
Continue reading to gain a little more insight from medical device companies into the elements you need to consider when it comes time to purchase your next medical device.
The first factor is clearly cost. There’s no way around it — medical equipment is often a substantial investment. Of course, you are really investing in the health and wellbeing of your patients, but you also must be able to look at your facility as a business. Running at a loss will not help your patients.
When purchasing any type of equipment, be it medical or construction, you need to consider the total cost of ownership. This includes both the upfront price for the equipment, any fees that come with shipping and installation and the ongoing cost of maintenance. What seems like a feasible purchase may actually be extremely expensive when you step back and look at the bigger picture.
If the medical device is going to be used frequently, then you’ll likely have a better return on investment. Calculate these factors before making a purchase.
This brings us to our next point: necessity. In an ideal world, every medical device you need would be at your fingertips. Unfortunately, several factors tend to prohibit this from happening.
Ask yourself: how often in the past twelve months have you wished you had access to this particular device? Every day? Once a week? On just one occasion?
Keep in mind that purchasing equipment not only costs money but also time and space. You’ll need to find somewhere to store the device, which may not be an issue if it’s a portable machine but can be a problem for larger capital equipment.
The needs of your patients should always be your top priority but consider what devices will really benefit them before making a purchase.
Service and Maintenance
Purchasing a medical device is rarely a one-off transaction. Medical equipment is like any other type of equipment in that it will require ongoing and proactive maintenance.
When purchasing a device, consider how you will organise this maintenance. Ideally, the equipment supplier will have a dedicated team of trained engineers who can take care of everything for you and perform service to the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s standard. Such a set-up should fill you and your clinicians with confidence that your equipment is in the best of hands.
If this is not offered as part of a purchase, be aware that it will be your responsibility to arrange for maintenance and repairs and check that the technician is appropriately qualified. Your equipment will be used to diagnose and operate on your patients — meaning its performance is your liability.
Organising maintenance is a significant responsibility, and it helps tremendously to have an experienced supplier in your corner.
Medical device companies are constantly looking for ways to improve the accuracy and efficiency of equipment, and new devices are being introduced to the market all the time. It’s simply not practical to upgrade your equipment at the same rate that the market moves.
Investing in innovation can be a life-saving measure for your patients, but you also need to weigh up all the above-mentioned factors. Brand new devices are likely to be more expensive, and you may struggle to find spare parts.
All of this is to say that purchasing a medical device is not an easy task. It’s also not a one-size-fits-all approach; what works for one medical facility may not work for your own. With that in mind, the best strategy to implement is to partner with a qualified, experienced supplier of medical equipment. They’ll be able to identify exactly what you need and can work with you to ensure you meet your financial, operational, and medical goals. You won’t need to sacrifice innovation or exceed your budget to help your patients.
If you’re looking to upgrade your current equipment, your first step should be finding such a supplier. Good luck!