By Kayla Matthews, freelance journalist, Productivity Bytes.
The U.S. medtech industry is one of the most profitable in the world. In 2016, the sector was worth $147.7 billion and expected to top $173 billion by the end of 2019. One of the reasons that it is so profitable is that new medical technology can be exorbitantly expensive, especially for small practices or solitary practitioners. How can you save money while still procuring the medtech you need to provide the best care possible for your patients?
1. Opt For Refurbished MedTech
If you needed a new car, would you immediately choose a brand new model — complete with a costly car loan — or would you consider purchasing a used but still functional vehicle instead? If you compare purchasing a new piece of medtech to obtaining a new car, the idea of purchasing refurbished equipment starts to make sense.
Purchasing refurbished equipment gives you access to the same sort of medtech that you’d receive if you’d bought it new, for a fraction of the cost. You may also be able to choose the level of refurbishment — choosing between a machine that’s only been cosmetically refurbished rather than one that’s been reworked on a mechanical level, or vise versa.
There are a couple of downsides to purchasing refurbished medtech, such as the lack of a warranty and the possibility of bringing a “lemon” back to the office, but if money is your primary concern, this can be a great way to save quite a bit while still stocking your office with all the necessary equipment.
2. Purchase Supplies/Equipment Online
You can buy nearly everything online these days, from clothing and food to kayaks and coffins. The internet can also be a useful tool for medical professionals looking to cut costs. Ordering your supplies or equipment isn’t as convenient as having a local medical supply store, but it can save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you find a distributor who is able to negotiate the best deals for you.
Instead of working strictly with one brand or one manufacturer, shopping online means that you can find the most cost-effective ways to get what you need without being limited to a single brand. If cutting costs is your priority, don’t limit yourself to a single supplier.
3. Maintain Existing Equipment
One of the easiest things you can do to help cut costs and save money is to keep up with maintenance on your existing equipment. The cost of regular maintenance is barely a fraction of what you’ll spend replacing something that fails because it wasn’t taken care of.
If you utilize compressed air, as many hospitals and medical facilities do, preventative maintenance tests cover as many as 20 different problems that could arise and take your compressor offline. Keep up with your regular maintenance schedules to protect your investment and help you save money in the long run.
4. Negotiate Contracts With Suppliers
You don’t have to accept the terms of a supplier’s contract at face value when they hand it to you. In fact, we advise against it. Take the time to negotiate the contracts you sign with any suppliers you work with. You may not even want to ask for the lowest possible price when you’re discussing terms. Include things like delivery windows, product quality, and even payment terms in your negotiation.
You might not want the lowest price if that means you’re getting a lower quality product that could compromise patient care. Take your time with these negotiations, and make sure that you’re making the best choice for your practice and the patients under your care.
5. Consider Reprocessed Items
There are a lot of medtech items that are considered single-use but a growing number of companies are offering reprocessing for items that would otherwise be discarded.
Take cardiac catheters for example. These sensor-heavy devices are used once and often thrown out but companies are starting to offer reprocessing services — collecting the used cardiac catheters, testing and sterilizing them, and making them available for use again. The reprocessed items are as sterile and functional as new ones but available for half the price.
Some departments have reported saving up to $500,000 simply by utilizing reprocessed cardiac catheters during the year. Reprocessing otherwise disposable MedTech is a relatively new field, but it’s an option worth exploring if you’re looking to cut costs.
Running a medical practice is expensive, regardless of your specialty. If you’re concerned about saving money or cutting costs, regular maintenance for existing equipment, purchasing refurbished machinery and reprocessed items can all help you reduce your expenses.
Consider actively negotiating your supplier contracts and seeking out alternative options like purchasing online instead of directly from a single manufacturer. There are plenty of ways for you to cut costs without compromising the quality of patient care. You just need to know where to look.