MRI sales heat up with focus on cost

July 31, 1991

Medicare's new capital reimbursement rules (SCAN 3/13/91) havenot dampened hospital interest in magnetic resonance imaging purchases,according to Steve Shearer, an analyst for MD Buyline. Demand for assessment of proposed MRI and computed

Medicare's new capital reimbursement rules (SCAN 3/13/91) havenot dampened hospital interest in magnetic resonance imaging purchases,according to Steve Shearer, an analyst for MD Buyline.

Demand for assessment of proposed MRI and computed tomographyacquisitions is as strong as ever for the Dallas-based equipmentadviser. Shearer will prepare 20 reports on proposed MRI purchasesin this month alone, he said. MD Buyline has 1200 hospital clients.

"It (MRI) is a pretty hot topic right now," he said.

This wave of new inquiries indicates that MRI buyers are increasinglycost-conscious. Arguments that powered high-field MRI's dominancein the late 1980s now carry less weight, he said.

Cost awareness will make the Siemens 1-tesla Magnetom Impactsystem a major success story in the anticipated surge of salesto come this fall, Shearer said. The system's low price and promisedlower operating costs have attracted attention (SCAN 4/10/91).

The Impact costs between $1.6 million and $1.7 million, dependingon the configuration. That positions the system at about $200,000less than the 1.5-tesla Siemens 63 SP, although it is loaded withnearly the same software, Shearer said. The Impact's expectedoperating costs are $50,000 a year lower than the 63 SP becauseit uses a single cryogen.

Shearer also sees a strong market for the Hitachi MRP 5000and MRP 7000 systems. The 0.2- and 0.3-tesla permanent magnetscanners are finding a niche as second units for established centersand as entry-level systems for smaller facilities, he said (seestory, page 5).

About 50 MRPs now operate in the U.S., Shearer said. That representsa 20-unit jump in the domestic installed base in seven months.

"Hitachi has done a great job showing how a newcomer canpenetrate this market," Shearer said.

Demand continues to be strong for Philips T5 mid-field MRIsystem as well, he said.