Purchasing Used Medical Devices: A Recipe for Success
By Ibby Smith Stofer
Have you ever wished there was a guide to help you get the best medical equipment for your money? Here are questions to ask and research to perform when considering pre-owned devices.
Choosing the right equipment for your nursing or respiratory simulation labs requires knowing your healthcare community and the standardized technology choices of the healthcare providers in your market, including the clinical or financial reasons behind these choices. This is key to providing your students with career opportunities.
In today’s patient care settings, it’s very important that students have a chance to practice with equipment comparable to that being used in future employment settings. Whether you’re looking for respiratory, infusion, or other types of medical equipment, the many differences between models make the school’s choice more difficult.
In addition, medical equipment technology changes rapidly and is often replaced in hospital or other healthcare settings well before its useful life has ended.
Let’s assume that the local acute care facilities use two different infusion pump technologies but your current systems are older or from a different manufacturer.
You can acquire the same equipment that these facilities have. Sourcing can begin with the manufacturers where the hospitals have purchased their equipment. Be aware the manufacturers often will not sell direct to a non-acute care facility. Frequently, they will use distributors to sell to this market and they can provide insight into what companies may be authorized distributors or authorized providers or resellers of their equipment. They may have authorized providers who are held to a standard of conditions that assure the manufacturer and customers that the units are patient-ready and include both hardware and software maintenance updates. While most rental providers, distributors, and resellers of used equipment will advertise and provide units, often they are neither current nor patient-ready when shipped to you.
They often acquire this type of equipment when a hospital decides to dispose or replace the manufacturer with a competitive system. They rarely have a history of ownership, use locations, repairs or recalls that were done. They may or may not be certified to repair and may leave another healthcare provider’s software data in place. These are all causes for concern, and are all reasons to be cautious.
Also be cautious about the software revisions. Software updates to medical devices happen frequently and can affect the way the clinicians program the unit. While you may not be using the device on patients, the correct level of software and how to program the infusion is very important for the students to learn correctly.
Your budgets may require you to purchase used or refurbished equipment. Before you do a manufacture and model search with any reseller or distributor, here are some points you should ask any potential supplier.
- Are you an authorized distributor of (name the manufacturer)?
- Can I get the serial number of the proposed unit in advance?
- Date of manufacture?
- Has the device been recalled and if so, were the required corrections made by the manufacturer?
- Current software revision on the device?
- Do you provide training materials and manuals for the device?
- Will the device be patient-ready and have undergone a preventative maintenance check?
- What type of warranty will you provide and if service is required how is that service performed?
- What options do you offer for after-warranty repair?
While these are pretty fundamental questions, often the various sources that sell preowned units or rent equipment will not be able to answer them. By asking these types of questions, you will have a much better idea of what you are buying and what you can expect from the seller or distributor.
For the past twenty-five years, Med One Capital has partnered with the leading manufacturers of infusion delivery (and respiratory) devices to provide leasing, rental and resale of their equipment. We have additionally invested in our own biomedical services division. When we rent or sell units, they undergo a thorough cleaning and repair including a preventative maintenance process to insure that the units are patient-ready. Although you may be using them in a classroom or simulation setting, knowing that the units come to you updated and inspected and cleaned as well as patient-ready is something you can count on from us. If you’re looking for medical equipment leasing, please visit our website to explore the devices we have available for either rent or purchase, and give us a call to discuss how we can help you provide the devices you and your students need.