3 reasons why buying refurbished ultrasound machine is good idea

Refurbished ultrasound machine

Why would anyone buy a refurbished ultrasound machine or for that matter any second-hand medical equipment? Why else… because of budget constraints of course.  Is that right? Not always.  It is true – most of us work with limited budgets. Not everyone has the luxury of spending money as they please without concerns about Return on Investment (ROI). Still, if you could manage enough funds somehow – should you always buy new medical equipment?

Nearly 1/3rd of the medical equipment market in India is used/refurbished or Pre-owned. Why? More than 90% of private hospitals in India are small or medium sized with 15-100 bed capacity. A pair or small group of doctors usually own and operate these small hospitals. Increasingly such hospitals are coming up in tier-II & III towns and cater to patients looking for affordable treatment and care. Refurbished products are usually priced about 35-65% less than the original equipment. For this reason they provide tremendous value to small-and-medium hospitals that are set-up and operate with budgetary constraints.

When someone wishes to start a small hospital, apart from IPD, OPD and basic OT or ICU facility – the one diagnostic equipment that is most commonly required is ultrasound machine. A sonography machine is expensive equipment and can consume lot of precious funds, when starting a hospital.

Here are 3 reasons why buying a refurbished ultrasound machine is a good idea.

1. Patient volume or case-mix is uncertain

When starting a new hospital or diagnostic centre facility, there is a certain business plan and expectations of patient case mix. Doctors would have invested in a standard 4-probe configuration in anticipation. However very often we come across doctors wanting to sell 1-2 probes or infact the whole unit.  Some of the applications, features and probes are un-utilized or not used at all. This is all because either the number or types of patients did not turn-out to be as expected. On the other hand there might be features they could have utilized but are absent because they compromised on the configuration of the machine due to budgetary constraints – to buy a new machine.

When starting a new facility its growth pattern may be uncertain – especially in a potentially growing market in smaller towns. It may be better to go with a machine with a more extensive set of features, but at lower investment. A refurbished ultrasound machine usually costs around 65% of its original equipment cost. A used machine could cost anywhere between 25-50% of the original price depending on its age and current working condition.

Refurbished Ultrasound Machine Price
Fig 1.0 – Used/ Refurbished Ultrasound Machine Price

Please see the Fig 1.0 above. What you can observe is that – for the price of a new mid-range ultrasound machine, one can buy a used high-end/ premium ultrasound machine or with a little more even a good refurbished ultrasound machine.

The advantage of refurbished ultrasound machine

The advantage is – you can try out more extensive range of capabilities for lower cost of the machine. Later, once the business volumes pick-up, you can upgrade with the right new machine with a better view of the current or future requirement. When you upgrade after a couple of years of operations, you can not only afford a new machine but also get the requirements right.

2. Equipment may not deliver as promised during demo

During the pre-sales process, the seller may have highlighted how user-friendly the ultrasound machine is. However, in actual usage it does not turn-out to be as convenient or efficient as promised. Now you find another make/model used by a friend or the one used earlier by you more attractive or suitable. If you have already purchased a new ultrasound machine, you can do little, except getting frustrated. Resale value of a medical equipment – no matter how sparingly used – crashes drastically.

Clearly it is a better idea to invest in a used/ refurbished machine initially and once you are absolutely certain that you are comfortable using it, then upgrade to a new machine.

3. Well-established refurbished ultrasound machine market

Most people are concerned that a used machine may not perform well. There might be too much trouble with many repair issues cropping up. We have seen ultrasound machines in good use for more than 10 years. A well refurbished machine can serve well for 5 years. Most common problems that one faces with ultrasound are related to probe defects or damages. If well maintained and detected early most of the common probe damages are repairable saving significant costs.

In India, used/ refurbished ultrasound machine market is well-established. After-sales support is reliable and spare parts availability is good. There are several reliable third-party refurbishers and even OEMs selling their workshop refurbished machines with warranty. There are good facilities for probe repair as well.

It is always better idea to go for a model that has been popular in the market with high volume of sales in the past 10 years. The reason is it has better chances of used spare parts and probes availability in the market. Repair and maintenance is also relatively easier.

PrimedeQ is an eMarketplace for medical equipment. We offer all types of imaging equipment including used / refurbished GE ultrasound machines and other used ultrasound machines from Philips and Seimens. We also assist in ultrasound machine repair and probe repair & maintenance services at www.Primedeq.com. Contact us at +918971223957 or +917019759765 for all your medical equipment related needs.

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