Consider this before you buy Pre-Owned CT
Before you commit to buying a pre-Owned CT, there are several factors to consider.
Buying a CT is a big financial investment for many facilities. Some facilities have the big budgets for new, and others will prefer to save and purchase pre-owned. There are many great opportunities out there in the pre-owned CT equipment world. However, as with anything pre-owned, it is very important to take certain steps before finalizing and making that commitment to buy.
Beyond the money spent, it is very difficult to be confident in the technical quality of the equipment and it’s critical components.
When deciding on the CT, it is understanding your financial budget and setting a realistic expectation of what you can get – for the money you can spend. This can be a daunting task, and it is important to work with a reliable, trustworthy company to help you during this process.
What is the specific use for the CT
You will need to begin your process by identifying the specific use of the system. From this you should then identify which direction you should go, or can go, for the Slice count of the CT. Meaning should you go with an 16, 64 or maybe even a 128 slice CT system. CT slice count will impact speed of image reconstruction, so knowing your use, will help guide you to the correct slice CT. Having the correct hardware is important to optimizing your patient throughput and achieving the desired study outcomes.
Now that you have identified the specific use and slice count, you can begin to narrow down the search by manufacturer and model. There are some distinct pluses and minuses of each manufacturer. On a basic first glance, GE systems are typically easier to maintain, as parts and service personnel are more readily available worldwide. Siemens on the other hand, can be very attractive to the buyer, as the up-front cost slice, count/slice count, will be typically lower than the GE models.
A lower upfront cost doesn’t always translate into an immediate desire to buy. This needs to be researched further. The Siemens CT will have a lower upfront cost, but this is also due to the fact that replacement parts are more expensive. The primary part that is of concern is the tube. A CT tube has a life expectancy and does need to be replaced. A Siemens tube can cost up to 2x more than a GE tube. So this decision should be balanced out – do you want a lower upfront cost, or, a higher after purchase cost?
Begin Looking at Systems
At this point you have identified the proper slice CT, the manufacturer, and now looking at specific systems that are available. It is very important to note, that there may appear to be good CT inventory available, but in reality very few systems will sit around, for sale or on a shelf, for a long period of time. This is especially the case with CT systems that have lower usage tubes. Therefore, it is very important to be realistic with your purchase time frame, and also be upfront with the company that you are working with to help you buy the correct CT.
If you are looking to buy a year from now, it only serves to waste everyone’s time to begin looking at specific systems available in current inventories. The best time to buy is at least 90 days before the desired implementation. This means that to live in the realistic purchase time frame, it is very important to begin looking at systems, and making commitments to buy 4 to 6 months prior to desired implementation deadlines. It is very realistic that a nice system comes available, but deinstallation dates are scheduled 3, 4 sometimes even 6 months out.
Pre-Owned, Reconditioned, Inspection
Keep in mind that every purchase of pre-owned is subject to inspection, if the CT is coming direct from a facility. However, if you are purchasing a reconditioned unit, then you can have good expectation that the unit will meet all desired requirements of a reconditioned unit. The caveat here is that again you are working with a good reputable company, that you can rely on to provide good quality equipment, and will be there to support you throughout the process.
When you buy reconditioned CT, this will not be subject to inspection, and you will rely that the company has selected the best system to meet your particular need. However, the company that is preparing the unit for you, will have purchased the unit from a site, and they would buy subject to inspection. So you can feel very confident that the unit has been scrutinized thoroughly and purchased as a top quality system. The specific use details on the CT can be shared with you.
This brings us back to the tube. It is very important to know the specific use of the tube of the CT that you are signing and paying for. The tube usage is measured in mAs or Scan Seconds. These details can be shared with you by the facility, or by the company preparing the system for you.
Bottom line, know what you are buying.
It is normal for a tube to have a third, to a half, and up to two-thirds usage. Some sites can go through a tube in 6 months, and some can take a few years to bring tube to full use. You should know these numbers. If you do not completely understand the significance of the numbers, get guidance from the sale person from the reliable company you are working with.
Install, Service and Support
You should be aware that a CT simply is not plug-and-play. You do need to have a properly prepared room, and also a professionally installed system. This installation service technician should have significant experience working with CT, and specifically the make and model of the system that is being installed for you.
Ongoing service is important. Many sites may use a local bio-med group, or establish a service/warranty agreement with the reputable company they are purchasing the equipment from. So check and see if the company you are buying from has experience in the industry, and has good sourcing for proper installation and on-going service and support.
Of course before you have the CT installed, it is critical, let me repeat, it is critical that the room space be properly prepared for the CT. Site planning guides are available on-line, and hopefully the group that is doing your installation will be able to guide you through the proper site-planning.
Site planning will include identifying correct room dimensions, advice towards room layout, and also advice toward the correct power necessary for the CT to operate.
Now you are ready to go out and begin your search to find your CT, and the company that you will partner with. This company will help you through every stage of the daunting CT purchase process, from the purchase, to the site-plan, install, and your after sales support.
To discuss CT systems contact Jeff Rubinoff at Complete Medical Services.
For further detail regarding CT, or other imaging equipment such as Ultrasound, Bone Density, or C-arm contact Complete Medical Services Tony Orlando President for reviews and more information.