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Purchasing Insights: The ABCs of buying an MR

By Cris Bennett, MD Buyline Analyst
From the October 2017 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine

The general shift in the health care industry from price-based purchasing to value-based purchasing has impacted many areas, including MR.

When purchasing a new MR system, facilities need to consider both their current needs and scanning capabilities they anticipate needing in the future.

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While facilities are keeping their MR systems longer than the seven-to-10-year period we’ve seen in the past, they need to think about whether these systems will help them stay competitive in the health care market they serve.

An important feature in today’s MR market is channel count, which currently ranges between eight and 128 channels.

When looking at channel counts, it is wise to ensure that your facility stays ahead of the current market so that future upgrades and coil purchases will keep pace with your future scanning needs in areas such as advanced cardiac, advanced neuro or advanced research.

With the advancements in coils, it is recommended that MR systems with more than 32 channels be considered to retain competitiveness.

With so many MR systems available, facilities should submit an RFP that is specific to their needs and avoids options that are not in line with your goals.

Given the current value-based health care model, many facilities are focusing on workflow, patient comfort and patient satisfaction when considering an MR purchase. Many vendors offer systems that can complete an automated brain MR in five minutes or less.

In addition, many vendors offer advanced software that can increase the workflow by reducing the time for set-up, automatic reconstruction and completion of the scan.

Some vendors offer in-bore entertainment systems that ease patient anxiety, promoting less patient movement. The result is a decrease in repeat visits and greater patient satisfaction.

Another factor to keep in mind is FDA recalls on the systems under consideration.

Facilities should investigate each recall to gain an adequate understanding before proceeding with the purchase. Facilities should also receive a written statement of the status of recalls and resolution actions taken by the vendor.

Lastly, it is important to purchase a service agreement at the point of sale. The price for such an agreement will be higher at the end of the warranty period.

Cris Bennett
About the author: Cris Bennett joined MD Buyline in 2015 with more than 19 years of experience in medical imaging. He has a diverse background in general radiography, CT, MR and radiology IT. Before joining MD Buyline, he served in multiple positions at Dallas Regional Medical Center as lead MR technologist and PACS administrator. These duties provided valuable experience in coordinating the radiology department’s quality assurance program. He has also worked as a dedicated pediatric MR technologist at Children’s Hospital of Dallas, where he gained experience in pediatric MR and DTI research. As an MR field service engineer, Bennett helped develop new T1 Fast Spin Echo scans that had not previously been available on low-field MR systems. At MD Buyline, he serves as the primary analyst for CT and MR systems and provides insight, along with other analysts, on radiology IT solutions. Bennett graduated from the Parkland School of Radiology in Dallas and completed the Medical Technology Management Institute’s MR physics training program in Milwaukee. He currently holds his registry license in Radiologic Technology and Magnetic Resonance through the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists (ARRT).

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