Whether it is for hospital use, clinics, or home there is no question that medical equipment is considered an investment. They are an integral part of the business. It is for this reason that when selecting these machines a lot of research and planning should be done prior. In most cases, buyers take a shortcut and just approach salespeople who are well-versed when it comes to medical equipment. They can take into consideration the needs of the customer along with their budget and offer suggestions on what to purchase. But for those wanting to cut the middleman off and do the purchasing themselves, far more planning and research are necessary. The internet is an enormous resource for people to utilize. All available medical equipment in the market is surely listed in a site or two with specifications and even the price. Asking professionals and technicians/operators is also a good way to gather information on these machines. They have the first-hand knowledge about this equipment and they can give you a first-hand account of their benefits as well as their downside.
This article summarizes into 6 key questions that need to be answered when you consider purchasing medical equipment. While there are other factors to consider besides these, I feel these take precedence over others as they help you make your final decision.
- How will it help the practice?
Above all else, this question should be the first to be answered when you are thinking about purchasing medical equipment. Think about how this investment will make a difference in how you treat your patients. Will it be beneficial to the practitioner as well as the patient? How can it boost revenue to the practice? One good way to differentiate one's practice over others is to stay on top of technology. Having modern equipment in your hospital or clinic may drive more patients into your doors. But just because the equipment is new and fancy doesn't mean it fits right in your practice. An OB-GYN clinic makes a lot of sense to own an ultrasound machine; they use it every day in almost all their patients. But a family clinic purchasing an X-ray machine doesn't make a lot of sense. This machine requires highly skilled people to operate and will only be used sparingly. It makes a lot more sense to refer patients to a diagnostic center rather than have an expensive machine in the clinic.
- How will it affect patient care?
The next question to answer is how such equipment will impact the care given to all patients. Will the new equipment allows practitioners to give quality care or efficient care? Will it give patients more peace of mind? How can it improve the care that the staff will give to patients? And will patients like the new machine? These questions raise a valid point. A patient-centered practice will always prioritize the needs of the patients over everything else. With this in mind, all the decisions they make, including the acquisition of new equipment should reflect that philosophy. Decisions made should center on improving the quality of care a hospital or clinic give or make the practice more efficient. This is especially true when a practice acquires new equipment. While people think it is to increase the practice's revenue, a lot of the time, these machines imbued with the latest technology helps staff to give care to their patients. It allows them to gain a better understanding of the physiology of their patients so they can create better care management.
- Will it attract better staff?
One might wonder what attracts the top talent into the practice. The answer is simple; people naturally gravitate towards a work environment that is seen as forward-thinking and modern. Younger professionals nowadays are always seeking work environment that challenges them and allows them to grow. One such sign is through their easy embrace with new technology. While it seems practical to keep old equipment as long as there is a regular maintenance schedule that is followed, some may view it as a sign of stagnation. New equipment means new technology, and new technology means a better way of providing care to patients. A medical practice that is up to date with the latest technology will always draw the attention of the best talents.
- What is the return of investment?
New medical equipment, obviously, is not cheap and while the main reason that institutions purchase them is to improve the work that they do in terms of the care they give to their patients, it can't be helped that a few of the decision-makers in the practice or in the hospitals will think about the return of their investments. In order for a practice to continue giving care, they also need to make revenue and that is why ignoring this factor when making the decision would be a lapse in judgment. A medical institution that doesn’t make revenue will ultimately fail. Upon purchase of the new machine, how long before revenue is made? Will it increase revenue altogether? Will it attract more patients to seek care at that particular institution instead? These are very important questions that need to be answered before making any purchase of any equipment.
- How do you optimize the use of the machine?
A medical machine, no matter how brand new and modern it is, will only ever be as good as its operator. This means that machines go hand in hand with the people who know how to make them work. This could either be a professional trained to use it or training existing staff on how to operate it. Getting new medical equipment without the properly trained staff to make it work is already a bad investment. In order to maximize the full potential of the new equipment, it is imperative to also invest in a skilled technician to operate it, or at least pay for the training of the people who will be using it regularly. This limits the machine from malfunctioning from misuse. It will also save the institution money from repairs as training for the operation of the machine includes how to troubleshoot for errors and how to spot for potential damage to the equipment.
- How do you finance?
Like I said previously, medical equipment can be expensive. It's very rare for people to buy them out of pocket. More often than not, this equipment is purchased with the help of some type of loan. Normally, institutions approach banks to assist them with the purchase. Lenders who specifically deal in the medical field are also an option. Some can even offer a great deal for clinics and hospitals who they have worked with in the past. For the most part, it is the bank or the lender who will pay for the cost of the machine and the practice or institution pays them through a payback schedule. Others have also opted to lease their equipment. This is often a worthwhile consideration because it offers a lesser cost compared to purchasing a machine that they will eventually upgrade or replace in the future. Small privately owned clinics are usually the ones who opt for this option.
Author Bio: Sarah Brooks is an ardent blogger who loves to write about health, beauty, fashion, food, travel and more. She loves to spend her time travelling. She also blogs at KemperMedical, one of the leading national and global distributor of premium medical products including radiation protection products and radiology/ medical imaging supplies.