Purchasing a new ultrasound system is huge commitment that affect both your business and your patients. As technology and medicine continue to evolve, so do the features that come along with ultrasound systems. You need to feel confident that the equipment you are purchasing is at the highest standard of quality and that you are getting exactly what you need. Before making the large financial decision in purchasing a new ultrasound system, there are some questions that you should be asking to make sure that you are getting exactly what you and your patients need.
1. What is my budget?
It is important to develop a price range consisting of costs that you are comfortable paying before starting the buying process for ultrasound equipment. Ask yourself as well as others who may be involved in the buying process, how much can we spend on a system?
Another factor to consider when going over pricing is whether you have an older system that you can trade in with the purchase of a new system. Trading in a system that you no longer need could possibly decrease your system price and could be the difference in dropping a price to somewhere within your budget range. The company you are working with can determine the trade in value of your current system.
2. What is my timeline for this purchase?
Along with setting your budget, you should also determine when exactly you are going to need this new ultrasound system. It is common for some people to receive quotes on different systems without any real intentions of buying in the near future. This can be troublesome to the purchasing process because the prices of systems (especially refurbished equipment) can vary throughout the year and may be a different price once you decide to come back and seriously consider the purchase. Be sure to communicate with your representative if you are looking to purchase the equipment quickly or if you just need quotes for budgetary purposes for the following year.
3. What make/model am I looking for?
You can do almost all the research you need right from your computer on the different makes and models of ultrasound systems. While this can be beneficial, you may also want to talk to colleagues and industry experts about their experiences with certain systems and their preferences of different brands. Just like purchasing anything else, look at the benefits of each system in addition to price so that you can meet all of your patients’ needs while staying within your budget.
4. What probes am I going to need?
It is very important to know what studies you are going to be doing on your system so that you can determine what probes/transducers you will need to do them properly. Doing your research or working closely with your sales advisor will help navigate which transducers will best fit the types of scans you are looking to do. Also, the model of probes and amount needed will directly affect the cost of the system. 3D/4D probes, as well as specialty probes, could increase the overall value of the system.
5. What studies are we going to be doing and what clinical applications & options are available on the system?
Clinical applications can be one of the most important factor to consider when purchasing a system. The equipment can perform as much or as little as the operator desires; options may be narrow or broad. Some examples of this include: panoramic view, 3D/4D, and Doppler. It is important to think about what you'll do on a daily basis, whether it's OB/GYN, Veterinary, Cardiac, MSK etc. You'll want to mention the different studies that the system will be used for (stress echo, pediatrics, DVT, PICC lines, etc.) to ensure that the system performs properly to meet your needs.
6. Does a new or refurbished system make more sense?
Nowadays, many refurbished ultrasound systems are hard to differentiate between their new counterparts. Working with a company who specializes in quality refurbished equipment can not only save you money but also provide you with top notch systems that can last for years. Many refurbished systems can accommodate the needs of the facility and can be purchased with the software levels, options and applications the new equipment provides. There are many benefits to going in either direction. Be sure to do your research into the quality of equipment the company provides as well as the reputation of the service you will receive after the purchase. The days of only getting good service from the OEM are long gone. Another point to consider is that many independent companies can offer both new and refurbished ultrasound systems at a cost savings over the OEM. Work with your sales consultant to determine which direction works best for your needs and budgets.
7. How are we going to service our system?
Many department directors use to believe that the OEM was the best option for ultrasound system service, but service contracts can be very expensive. Another option to consider is using a reputable, independent service company. Not only can you receive highly experienced service but a considerable cost savings. Be sure to thoroughly investigate the company to make sure they are highly trained and reputable. Ask for references and what experience they have working on your make and model of machine. Another important point to factor is the location of the service engineer. Be sure to inquire about where your engineer is located to ensure prompt and timely service. Additionally, don’t forget to ask about backup engineers because it is imperative to have overlapping coverage.
At Trisonics, our engineers have an average of 15 years’ experience in ultrasound service. With one phone call, we can provide solutions to ALL ultrasound needs across a multitude of manufacturers. We feel that the service you would receive from Trisonics can easily outperform that of an OEM. In some cases, customers of Trisonics can receive same day service as well as same day parts delivery. This is service that you just cannot get from OEM! We also offer our customers an uptime guarantee that eliminates unnecessary downtime. Our phone and on-site response times are the best in the industry. Because Trisonics is an independent service company, it allows us the flexibility to tailor our service plans to fit the needs and budgets of our customers. Trisonics also prides ourselves on providing customers high quality new and refurbished ultrasound equipment that is back up with a comprehensive warranty. Between the exceptional engineers, personalized service, decades of experience and high quality/affordable equipment, customers no longer need to question whether going with OEM is the safer option.