From selecting a vendor to picking the right machine, here are some points to consider when purchasing refurbished equipment.
Purchasing a refurbished CT or MRI machine could be a good option, particularly if your budget is tight. But practices should proceed with caution, said Joyce Bates, RT, director of imaging and radiation oncology at Carolinas Medical Center-Union in Charlotte, N.C., who offered a few considerations.
First, be sure to select a company with a strong reputation for quality products and service. If possible, she said, purchase a refurbished machine from a vendor with whom you have an existing relationship, and be sure to secure a warranty. Next, be sure the vendor fully updates their machines, including replacing parts, installing new software, and painting the equipment. Everything should look new, she said.
Second, she said, only consider purchasing refurbished machines that are less than three years old. Technology changes so rapidly in the industry that older equipment cannot give you the same clinical capabilities.
Lastly, it’s also important to remember, Bates said, that refurbished equipment isn’t suited for every modality. Machines that approach $1 million in price, such as CTs and MRIs, can be refurbished and provide the same level of performance as a new machine would. Nuclear medicine cameras, although their price tag hovers around $300,000 to $400,000 dollars, can also offer suitable refurbished options. However, Bates recommended avoiding refurbished equipment of less than $100,000, such as ultrasound machines, because the technology becomes obsolete much more quickly.
Above all else, she said, consider the current health care landscape when making your purchasing decisions.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen to affect our capital equipment choices,” she said. “Budgets will be tighter, and health care economics will be really tough. It could very well be that refurbished equipment will be the standard within the next five years.”