By Ed Coombs, MA, RRT, NPS, ACCS, FAARC
Thinking about purchasing a new piece of respiratory equipment? Here are eight things respiratory managers and members of the value analysis committee should ask about when making an equipment purchase.
1. What is the total cost of ownership? Unit price alone does not always represent the total cost of an item. The total cost of ownership (TCO) takes into consideration both the direct and indirect costs associated with the management of the asset. TCO accounts not only for the cost of purchase (including financing) but also all of the costs associated with the operation and maintenance of the equipment, device, or system for its useful life.
2. Is it marketing, or science? While many new features offer significant benefits, some may be non-value-added items designed to help sell the device by distinguishing it from previous versions or competitive devices. Objectively evaluate all these new features to determine the true clinical, technical, and operational cost benefits.
3. Will it grow with my organization’s needs? An organization’s capital equipment purchasing process needs to be designed to serve your needs today and five years down the road. While no one has a crystal ball to predict the future, it is important to consider the possible landscape over the life of the equipment.
4. Is the company stable? Since many capital equipment investments have relatively long useful lives and depreciation periods, it is important to know the manufacturer will be there to serve your needs after the sale. If you are preparing for an investment in capital equipment, you want to invest with an organization that will be there to support the products and your facility in the years to come.
5. Does the product allow for IT connectivity? Information technology (IT) connectivity is increasingly important in acute care facilities. This is especially true for ventilators. You should be absolutely certain that the software level of your specific ventilator is properly interfaced to your IT interface drivers.
6. How would this piece of equipment impact hospital-acquired infection rates? Third party payers and insurance companies including Medicare will no longer pay for “hospital-induced” diagnoses such as nosocomial infections or ventilator-associated pneumonia. How would the equipment you’re evaluating help reduce the incidence of these infections?
7. How will the company manage upgrades to technology? The latest generations of many capital equipment products are software based and software driven; therefore, improvements are made through software revisions. This makes it really important to consider long-term vision and the need for a replacement roadmap.
8. Sure, the company will provide education and support services, but how much and for how long? Given staff reductions in the acute care setting to improve the fiscal bottom line, many department educator positions have been eliminated. Department heads have turned to their vendors to support their educational needs within the department. It is important to ask a vendor what type of support it will provide, and how often a customer can expect it to provide clinically oriented product education.
Ed Coombs is the Regional Director of Marketing North America, Intensive Care at Dräger Medical.
This article was republished with permission from Dräger. It originally appeared as a blog post in INSIGHTS by Dräger. INSIGHTS by Dräger is a continuous series of ideas and innovations that can help you achieve your clinical and business goals by improving clinical outcomes, managing the cost of care, ensuring staff satisfaction, and enhancing the patient experience. Check it out here.