The ongoing competition between the demand for quality healthcare and the continually escalating cost of providing it has hospitals and medical clinics looking for creative ways to save money. One of the ways to do this is to reduce expenditure on capital equipment such as medical imaging equipment.
A report by the Healthcare Financial Management association (HFM) shows that the amount hospitals across the country spent on fixed and movable equipment increased from $12.3 billion in 2001 to $15.9 billion in 2007. At approximately half of total capital assets purchased, the ratio of equipment to land and buildings is almost 1:1.
The days of refurbished equipment being a negative concept are over. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is popular and used machinery is widely available. By purchasing refurbished equipment, hospitals and medical clinics can stretch their dollars significantly. The secret lies in selecting the right machine for your purposes.
Choosing Magnet Strength
Determine the magnet strength that best suits your facility. 3T magnets have one of the the higher magnet strengths commonly used in diagnostic imaging, and are well-suited to studies involving minute detail, such as sophisticated brain imaging. The 1.5T systems are well-suited to the majority of scanning requirements, and often offer the most bang for the buck in image quality and functionality. The 1.0T systems were mostly manufactured before 2002, typically use more cryogens and don’t have the same image quality as higher tesla magnets. They remain an economical choice for smaller clinics that don’t require advanced functionality.
A magnet strength of below 1.0T is typically found on open or extremity systems. They produce the lowest image clarity but are convenient for extremities, as well as selective use in patients who are obese or claustrophobic.
Mobile MRI scanners are technologically identical to the scanners used at a fixed site. To date, there is no evidence that they are in any way inferior to fixed scanners. The only physical difference is that these systems are installed in mobile trailers. The trailers are equipped with magnetic shielding, chillers, and other requirements for proper MRI operation, and they can be a convenient choice for clinics and smaller hospitals. Refurbished MRI equipment is well-suited to this type of application.
Installation, Warranty, Extended Service Agreement
Installing a new MRI scanner may require deinstallation and removal of the existing equipment, which could cost you around $20,000 in total. Then, budget for preparation of the site and delivery and installation of the new equipment, along with the cabling and tuning required. Each of these aspects costs money, and you will need to factor the costs into the price of your new MRI. The average cost of installing a typical 1.5T system ranges between $50,000 and $80,000 excluding the removal and transportation.
Consider the operating costs of your refurbished MRI scanner too. If you purchase an extended service agreement, the cost of a pre-determined quantity of helium is included. If you exceed this amount, you will incur additional costs, but without a service agreement you could experience difficulty maintaining the levels you need. A complete cryogen fill can cost up to $60,000 for a one-time replenishment.
Benefits of Refurbished MRI
With the high cost of purchasing MRI equipment, medical facilities that are prepared to consider refurbished units are looking at achieving hefty savings.