by Carol Ko
, Staff Writer | April 01, 2013
From the April 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Buying supplies for contrast entails a lot more than just the injectors and the juice. Hospitals should ask some questions before signing a contract: What accessories are included? Are they really free?
We spoke with a few experts who weighed in about the hidden costs of ownership that hospitals should consider while shopping around. DOTmed Business News spoke with Jeffrey Mangione, owner of Precise Biomedical; Chuck Marshall III, CEO of Florida Service Plus, Inc.; Stephen Maull, owner of Maull Biomedical Training, LLC; and Scott Scofield, CEO of COVUE Plc.
- Some companies sell injectors that are driven by password-protected proprietary software, meaning hospitals can’t recalibrate the software without buying a license or calling manufacturers in. Though manufacturers offer training services for in-house staff, it might not be worth the effort, especially for smaller facilities that don’t have the scale to leverage the cost.
For those who need to move fast and expand clinical capabilities -- and would love new equipment -- the uCT 550 Advance offers a new fully configured 80-slice CT in up to 2 weeks with routine maintenance and parts and Software Upgrades for Life™ included.
- Before bringing a new injector into the facility, consult your cardiac cath lab staff and involve them in the purchasing decision. This includes interventional staff such as X-ray and CT technicians. Their input as end users may save you headaches in the long-run: what seems like a great deal upfront could cost more down the road because the unit is difficult to work with or impedes staff workflow.
- Some contract deals for contrast also include free injectors. However, be advised if hospitals want to break the contract, they’re required to buy the injectors. This essentially locks them into the contract, since switching contrast would then require them to buy injectors for every lab, potentially incurring enormous cost.
- Always factor disposable costs into the total cost of the contract. Sometimes hospitals overlook the cost of syringes, for example — they can run upward of $800 dollars for a box of fifty.
- On the flipside, if you bought equipment used, the original warranty is no longer valid. If, for example, a syringe fails, you’re unlikely to get support from the OEM.