If you are looking to purchase used medical equipment it’s imperative that you buy from a trusted seller and know exactly what to look for and what questions to ask. Purchasing used medical equipment can be a great way to expand or update a healthcare facility while keeping costs down. In fact, the biggest differences between buying new or second hand medical equipment are the price and the amount of time searching for a great deal. Almost every piece of equipment you can find new, you can find used at a lower price. Everything from x-ray equipment to DEXA scanners. It can be safe and cost effective so long as the dealer you are purchasing from has done ample research and understands the product. And with the price of medical equipment continually on the rise, buying used could mean 30-70 percent savings.
Three Conditions In Which Second Hand Medical Equipment Can Be Purchased
Most used medical equipment can be purchased in one of three conditions and it is important to understand the difference.
- Cosmetically Repaired
As-is Medical Equipment
This permitted term means that the dealer is selling the item in its current state and the purchaser is accepting the item with any current flaws or imperfections. The dealer is explicitly rejecting any implied warranties and limiting their legal liability. A purchasing representative should thoroughly research any equipment being sold in this condition and the dealer who is selling this product. If buying an “as is” product, it is best to know and trust the supplier.
Cosmetically Repaired Equipment
In most circumstances, this condition type refers to second hand medical equipment that has been repaired to appear newer or unutilized. Specific affirmations about the overall wear and condition of the product would vary and it would be up to the selling supplier to elaborate on the condition of the equipment and state any defects.
Refurbished Medical Equipment
Fully refurbished equipment is of the highest quality pieces of used equipment you can buy. It often comes with certain warrants about the quality and condition of the equipment. Equipment that has been restored to original equipment manufacturers’ specifications is usually repaired, completely rebuilt, and tested by trained and certified biomedical technicians and engineers. Buying fully refurbished equipment is an excellent way to stay within the budget versus buying new, but the purchaser must ensure that a piece of equipment meets original equipment manufacturers’ specifications.
Evaluating Second Hand Dealers
Of course, buying second hand devices takes a bit more work and research than simply buying a new piece directly from the original manufacturer. There has to be thorough research done to be sure of the credentials of the dealer. The policies, standards, and experience of the supplier need to be reviewed to ensure that the medical equipment will be in the condition you expect and works properly. If the machine is not properly functioning, it could potentially harm patients or result in a misdiagnosis of a serious health condition.
Pick Your Dealer with Care – Do not purchase second hand equipment through resellers whom you can’t research and verify their resources and knowledge. You will need to verify that the company is honorable and see what type of relationship the seller has with the manufacturer. Ask if they are an authorized dealer or a business partner? Do they provide crucial services like instruction and do they offer installation? Do they provide any extra options like a warranty, financing options, or an exchange plan?
Request the Equipment Serial Number – Used equipment can be traced if you know the serial number. Have the dealer provide you with the equipment serial number before you decide to allow you time to research and understand as much information as you can find about the device Be sure to verify the supply network, the year the equipment was manufactured, locations used previously, any recalls, upgrades, and corrective measures taken.
Trust Your Instinct – If something doesn’t seem right, don’t take the seller at face value. If you feel the manufacture date is more recent, look at the usual time of use for this particular device at a medical care facility and compare it to the actual age of the equipment. Why would anyone sell practically a brand new piece of equipment this soon?
Ask the Seller About Any Reconditioning or Refurbishing Process If Applicable – Discuss what has been performed on the device such as refurbishing, reconditioning, preventive maintenance, upgrades, and testing to meet OEM regulations. See if there is any supporting documentation available and the qualifications of those that worked on it.
Don’t Forget the Little Things – If the medical equipment is older, see if any parts can be ordered and replaced. Some items may have been discontinued, meaning this device won’t be of use to you for long.
Repair and Maintenance – A reputable dealer often offers reliable servicing which is definitely something important to consider when purchasing second hand devices. When equipment is used, there is a greater risk of possible repairs needing to be performed, especially if the equipment is approaching its end. Does your supplier provide continued support and service options? Does the dealer offer any coverage?
Ask About Installation – Do you need help with the installation of the equipment and finding the best place to put it? Dealers who have been in this industry for a long time understand the challenges that come with site planning and making sure your equipment is ready to use so you can take care of your patients. Usually, they will offer to take some of that burden away by providing services to help you make those important decisions.
It can be quite a lot of information to consider and feel like a daunting task. However, with due diligence, you can reap the benefits of saving a significant amount of money and owning a great piece of used equipment. One of the most reputable companies in this industry is Amber Diagnostics. They have been in business since 1994 and have extensive knowledge in purchasing, selling, and servicing used medical equipment. They offer free, downloadable buyer’s guides that inform you of every step of the buying process from packaging to installation and what to expect after it’s being used at your site. They also have a host of services that include assisting the purchaser in evaluating what device will best suit them, offering site planning to help you find the best location to use the device, and offering de-installation of your old equipment if needed. This is the type of dealer you want to look for when considering used equipment. Make sure they have a history that can be verified, is well-respected, and at the very least offer continued services and support to keep your purchase serving you and your patients.