by Carol Ko
, Staff Writer | April 01, 2013
From the April 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
When buying a cath lab, planning is paramount. Hospitals should be asking a few basic questions before they even shop around for labs: what kinds of procedures will they be using this lab for, and what kinds of procedures do they foresee this lab being used for in the future?
Although they seem like basic questions, experts maintain it’s easy to overlook the obvious in the midst of logistics and planning. For some helpful hints around cath lab purchasing, DOTmed Business News spoke with Wayne M. Horsman, vice president of Columbia Imaging, Inc.; Chris Sharrock, product manager of fluoroscopy, cath angio and C-arms at Block Imaging International, Inc.; and Dan Wheeler, president of Transtate Equipment.
- It’s crucial for planners and architects to get input from all the specialists — including cardiologists, electrophysiologists, anesthesiologists, surgeons, perfusionists and echocardiologists — to determine the various layout scenarios for each team.
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- Look beyond purchase price when buying equipment. Ultimately, the purchase price is a very small part of the total lifecycle cost of the equipment, which also includes maintenance, costs involved with downtime and how long the equipment actually lasts. Use these points to calculate average annual cost — this is the real cost of ownership.
- It may take significantly longer than you think to retrofit, plan and install the lab. Someone who says they want a new lab in 30 days is grossly underestimating the scope of the project.
- Make sure to get all the software and options for the lab up front — those options are far more expensive to add after the fact.
- When buying refurbished cath lab equipment, make sure the vendor is qualified. Cath and interventional labs are the most complex systems dealers handle from a technical perspective. Though dealers may boast decades of experience, they still may not be experts in the specific systems they’re selling.
- Though many dealers offer a warranty when they are providing a quote, smaller companies don’t have the risk structure built in to offer full service coverage. Tubes can cost $50,000 to-$150,000, while detectors can run $100 to-$250,000. If someone is offering a service warranty, make sure they have the means or would be willing to write the $200,000 check if a detector fails.