By: First Union | Date:
Investing in Radiology Equipment
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MRI scanners. CT scanners. Rad rooms. C-arms. Portable x-rays. PET/CT. Mammography. Urology suites. Rad/Fluoro. Bone densitometers. Whatever radiology equipment your practice is looking to invest in, there are smart ways to go about making sure you're making the right decisions.
Investing in radiology equipment doesn't have to be stressful. Equipment comes at a high-rate, but you will see a great ROI, that the upfront costs are only difficult in the short-term. There is a lot to consider financially and clinically when making a decision. You want to make sure that what you purchase meets your practice's needs while keeping some important factors in mind:
- Your budget, so you know what financial state you're working with
- Your existing equipment/assets, so you can determine what purchases need to be made
- What type of images to you typically capture?
- How many image exams are performed daily?
- Do you need accommodations for ventilators and pumps?
- Your existing challenges with your existing equipment?
- Your existing patient's needs based on who you provide services to
- Your existing patient reasons for visiting and appointment schedule, so you can make scheduling changes based on your projected down-time
- Your referrals, so you can let them know you are investing in a better experience (and that there may be downtime/)
- Your competition, so you can see what equipment they are using and determine if you want to use the same or better
- The equipment companies that are trying to recruit you to their "family," so you have quick access to your first round of radiology equipment research
- Your practice's workflows, to make sure a new piece of equipment either aligns with existing workflows or if workflows and procedures need to be updated
- The type and size of the room(s/) that will house the radiology equipment, so you know the specs that can fit into your practice
The decisions you make regarding the radiology equipment you need to buy impacts patient treatment, patient safety, operator safety, and your practice's bottom line. You need to think about more than the slices of magnet strength, you need to look at the ROI the equipment can provide you while maintaining excellent patient care. Before starting the process, remember, you need to ask radiology equipment vendors a lot of questions and you shouldn't buy solely on the best price.
Should You Update Your Existing Equipment?
You may find that investing in the radiology equipment you already have is the best path for your medical practice. What are the pros?
- You already know how to use the radiology equipment
- You do not need to update organizational workflows and procedures to accommodate the machine's process
- You do not need to make changes to your radiology suites/rooms
- You do not need to hire heavy lifters or pay for delivery and installation
- You do not need to buy additional accessories that go specifically with the new radiology equipment
- You do not need to train staff on how to use the new equipment
Investing in improving your existing assets can be cost-effective and provide the devices/equipment the longevity it needs for you to get a profitable ROI.
Should You Buy or Lease?
If you decide you're path involves acquiring new equipment, when you start looking at your options, you'll need to decide whether you want to buy or lease.
Buying Radiology Equipment
If you're looking to buy new radiology equipment that you do not have at your medical practice or replace existing radiology equipment, consider the condition of the high-cost/high-fail aspects of the equipment. For example, if you're purchasing a CT machine, find out the life expectancy of the tube and find out what else would need to be replaced to ensure cost-effective outcomes. If the machine will be obsolete in five years, you may want to reconsider your approach. However, if you have the budget to support the turnover of radiology equipment's lifespan, then buying may be a great option, as you can resell your used equipment for a competitive price.
Make sure the existing equipment matches the original equipment manufacturer (OEM/) specs, so you can get an idea of the performance level the machine can provide you. When discussing the specs with the equipment or service company, make sure they have replacement parts on hand or can direct you to where to find them. Figure out what their support model is and the types of warranties available for the machine. You need to make sure you are making the right long-term decision for your practice and that they'll be there with a solution when if/when you call.
See if there are ways for radiology equipment to connect automatically to PC, cell phone, tablet, etc,.so you can review on the go and save on printing costs. If you can connect to a tablet via a mobile application, do you need to purchase the $1,000 computer that comes as a standalone option? Find ways to cut costs while also maintaining the highest level of care.
Think about how tech-savvy your staff is and how much training will be required to get everyone on the same page using the new radiology equipment. A commonly forgotten cost is having employees come in for implementation and training on top of the cost of the machine.
Leasing Radiology Equipment
You may end up paying more for a lease, but you have the luxury of deciding to buy out the equipment in the end or upgrade to the latest and greatest model. Other than cost, the real question is how important is it for your medical practice to have the most up-to-date and "new" equipment at all times? If that's something you pride your practice on, then leasing is the way to go.
Leasing equipment is also a great way to test out radiology equipment. If you're not 100-percent sold on a solution, lease/test it out. Also, if you're unsure of the direction your practice is going, it's nice to have the option of a lease.
Don't forget! If you plan on leasing on shorter terms, you'll have to take into account the downtime that comes with replacing radiology equipment. But if it's worth the investment, then go for it!
Should You Buy Pre-Owned Equipment?
It never hurts to see what pre-owned/used equipment is available. You may find something on eBay, Amazon, or even on local community boards (Craigslist, Nextdoor, Facebook Marketplace, Offer Up, Let Go, etc./) that is exactly what you're looking for, meets all of your needs, but is priced at half the cost.
You may also be able to find a great piece of equipment that requires a tune-up - and that's okay. If the cost makes sense and you can provide radiology imaging to your patients in a safe environment, then buying pre-owned is not an issue at all.
Stay one step of your current needs, because healthcare is an ever-evolving industry. The equipment you purchase should serve the purpose and objective of acquiring it.
Looking to Finance New Radiology Equipment?
If you find yourself needing to find funding for new radiology equipment, First Union Lending is here to help.
We have nine different business loan types to choose from. This means that we're uniquely qualified to help you find the perfect loan to open your small business.
Applying for a business loan doesn't affect your credit. Better yet, your business loan may be approved as soon as the same day.
To discuss our business loans with one of our lending experts, click here or call 863-825-5626. We'll talk about our various business loans and help you find the right one for your equipment.
Get started with the process now by learning more about our business loan types here.