Purchasing capital medical equipment is a key operations prospect for every healthcare provider. But with today's world of healthcare reform and diminishing budgets, the need to keep costs low while still improving patient care can be a challenge.
It's important to look for cost-efficient ways to invest limited capital, so before you make your next big purchase, consider these ten quick tips:
1. Smart Financing. While paying cash can be attractive, it has the drawback of cutting into your working capital that you may need for other expenditures. Strict leases are a good choice for lowering the upfront costs associated with the equipment and protecting your organization from future tech discoveries that may make the new equipment soon-to-be obsolete.
Loans are another good choice, but both lease and loans include interest rates that increase the item's final cost. In lieu of both of these, consider capitalizing equipment costs over time and recording equipment as an asset to be expensed in future periods. These capitalized costs can include all of the logistics cost associated with getting the equipment into the new facility.
2. Go for the Warranty. Many healthcare vendors offer maintenance service and warranty contracts for their equipment. Read through the contract, but in most cases these warranties are well worth the minimal added fees.
3. Plan for Space and Development. Every room in a healthcare organization, whether it's a patient room or a clinical laboratory, has its own unique demands. So before you assign a label to a room, ensure its design undergoes collaborative brainstorming between design experts, contractors, and healthcare personnel for efficient spaces that enhance patient satisfaction, utilization, and even revenues.
4. Collaborate with an Equipment Planner. A medical equipment planner has the knowledge and experience to help evaluate your organization's needs along with the total ownership costs of medical equipment, as well as ensuring everything conforms to local regulations.
5. Equipment Delivery Process. Research vendors and distributors and select one that offers direct-to-site services with an excellent track record. A good vendor will ensure that everything is properly labeled and that equipment gets delivered on time and to the desired end-room.
6. Checking Regulations. Every healthcare-oriented facility has its own regulations in regards to local building codes, federal and state legislature, and industry standards that it must conform to. During the planning process, identify with regulations will apply to your purchases and how you can follow it.
7. Anticipate Shipping and Receiving. Plan ahead and work with your vendor to avoid premature deliveries of your medical equipment. This will prevent potential damage and the costs associated with storage until the equipment can be delivered to its end-site. Conversely, equipment that is delivered too late can interrupt your patient care and cause expensive workflow delays.
8. Prevent Patient/Workflow Interruptions. This point bears repeating; ensure that the delivery and set-up of all medical equipment purchases are timed effectively. Ideally, you'll have this done just before opening or closing or other downtime periods when there is a minimal amount of patients in the building.
9. Involve the Appropriate Departments. Any department that will be regularly interacting with the new equipment should participate in the entire capital equipment procurement process. This will protect your group from purchasing equipment with expensive, unneeded features or functions, as well as getting you the appropriate feedback for future options.
10. Inspect and Test Before Ownership Transfer. Before signing the final papers, have your Biomedical Engineering technicians inspect the equipment. They should do an electrical safety inspection as well as testing for operations before they give the final affirmation.
With two corporate offices and 35+ service centers, our mission is is to help healthcare facilities nationwide reduce the cost of the equipment they purchase, make their equipment specification, delivery, installation, and maintenance processes more efficient, and help them seamlessly launch, renovate and expand on schedule.