As budgets tighten across the healthcare industry, it is imperative to provide high-quality patient care and reduce operating expenses. Addressing the way hospitals and medical centers acquire medical equipment has, in itself, become a way of reducing expenditure. In this article, we have compiled five tips to help your healthcare organization save money on medical equipment and supplies.
1. Research Online, Then Inquire in Person or by Phone
Many suppliers, particularly those specializing in refurbished medical equipment, list products directly on their website, allowing you to compare list prices quickly and efficiently. In instances where prices are not displayed, pick up the phone and ask to speak to a sales representative. Often, calling is preferred because the list price, as stated online, is not usually reflective of the actual sale price. A sales representative will factor the manufacturer, model, year and feature set you are looking for into the price of the piece of equipment you are inquiring about.
2. Consider the Time of Year
Although it is not guaranteed, suppliers are more likely to offer discounts on prices towards the end of the year in order to unload existing inventory. The same can be said for the end of the fiscal year, as well as the end of a fiscal quarter when there is increasing pressure among suppliers to meet sales goals. Also, look for when trade shows are. Exhibitors will often offer show specials or discounts during an expo. The Florida International Medical Expo, for example, is the largest expo in the U.S.
3. Decide What Level of Equipment You Require
The technological capability of some machines can often be far greater than what is required for your clinic, hospital, or practice. Many high-end CT scanners, for example, offer imaging technology that may go beyond what is necessary for your imaging needs. Sometimes a 64-slice scanner can prove to be just as effective for your diagnostic needs as a 320-slice scanner, which can cost up to 250% more.
Higher-end imaging equipment can also have higher installation costs. In the case of MRI machines, upgrading to a machine with an increased power output requires additional outfitting to the facility itself, as well as additional training for technicians. Knowing what your requirements are when searching for imaging equipment can help you avoid overpaying.
4. Buy Certified Refurbished Equipment
By 2021, it is estimated that the global market for refurbished medical equipment will reach $38 billion. With this market expanding, you will find that high quality refurbished medical equipment is more readily available.
Purchasing refurbished medical equipment offers the greatest potential for cost-savings. A new ultrasound machine, for example, can cost between $35,000 to $200,000, whereas a refurbished sells up to 60% less.
Certified refurbished equipment will not only be fully tested but will also look and function as if it was new. Additionally, refurbished equipment providers usually provide a warranty. However, when purchasing equipment does not confuse refurbished medical equipment with used medical equipment. Unlike refurbished, used equipment is typically sold as-is and with little to no guarantee with regards to its operation.
5. Consider Trade-Ins or Short-Term Rentals
When replacing an older machine, it may be possible to trade it in to offset the cost of new equipment. Not only is this beneficial from a cost perspective, but it’s also efficient because you can dispose of your old equipment at the same time you are receiving the new equipment.
If you are concerned about downtime when your new equipment is being installed, you should consider a short-term rental. This will mitigate potential losses so you can continue to service your patient population. Rentals are available on a wide range of medical equipment and usually come with service, installation, and training.
The costs to provide high-quality patient care continue to rise each year. It is imperative to analyze the expenses you can control and engage the help of your partners and suppliers to help. Many hospitals and medical centers have chosen to optimize their medical equipment acquisition process as one method to control costs.
Below is a summary of the tips we covered to help your healthcare organization save money on medical equipment:
- Contact the supplier, either in person or over the phone. This way you can talk to them about the exact piece of equipment you are looking for.
- Consider the time of year when you make your equipment purchases. Towards the year-end, as well as the fiscal year-end, certain suppliers may be more inclined to offer discounts in order to meet sales targets and clear inventory. Medical industry trade shows may also offer show-specific discounts.
- Decide what features you require prior to making the purchase. It is possible to overspend on advanced medical equipment with features that you don’t need.
- Leverage certified refurbished medical equipment instead of new. Certified refurbished equipment offers the biggest cost savings potential, often by a margin of up to 60%
- Leverage your trade-in to offset the cost of your new equipment. If downtime is an issue, short terms rentals are a good way to keep revenue flowing between purchases.