By: Mark Lautzenheiser, Regional Sales Manager
The answer is less about the actual equipment than you might think.
While it is a great question, if I am being honest, it is not the most important question you should be asking. The first order of business is to succinctly define your objectives for either adding, expanding or upgrading your imaging service line.
Why are you doing this project?
The answer may seem obvious, but it really is the starting point to determine what equipment will yield the best outcome. When Captive Radiology engages with a prospective partner, we go to great lengths to understand what our partner is trying to accomplish. First among the many questions, “what is the process by which your decision on equipment will be made?” Then, there are 3 areas of questions that must be addressed in making this decision:
1. What is driving this project clinically?
Types of studies are being done today?
How would you define a quality patient experience?
What do you want to do that you can’t today?
How do you define quality?
Who will be providing the professional component and what is their level of expertise?
What is the biggest challenge in getting quality results today?
2. What are the financial parameters?
What is your reimbursement?
What is your volume today, or, have you quantified the number of scans being referred elsewhere?
What is your payor mix? Medicare? Medicaid?
Have you established a budget for the project, and if so, what went into the decision?
Have you researched your leasing options, or perhaps you would prefer using cash?
3. What is the competitive landscape in your market today? Do patients have options?
Where do your patients go for scans today? Top 3 and Why?
What is your patient reach? Primary Service Area? Secondary Service Area?
Where do you see the opportunity to capitalize on the competition?
4. Is there a Certificate of Need?
What are the parameters?
What is the capital threshold – in any?
Can it be appealed?
Eventually, the answers to the above questions will have to be applied to an equation. It seems everything in life boils down to a math equation. Sad but true.
(Monthly Volume*Average Reimbursement) –
Operating Expenses – Equipment Cost = Net Revenue
The Equipment Lease/Cost can vary tremendously. That is why the questions above are so important. If you are in the market for a 1.5T, wide bore MRI system, you can spend $450,000 or $1,300,000. You can buy a system straight from the manufacturer and receive a warranty, or you could purchase your equipment and service from a high quality, 3rd party company. (Note: Be careful. There are some unsavory characters in the 3rd party equipment market).
Even if you have established a budget for your project, I would strongly encourage you and your team going through the questions above. It will validate your decision on equipment. It will justify the expense to your organization and it will ensure that your investment is being made based on more than capital.
Captive Radiology prides itself on understanding its partners’ needs. I can promise you that at every meeting we have together, we will discuss your objectives. I will remind you of these objectives and make sure decisions are being made that address them. Our partnership success hinges on our ability to achieve the desired clinical, financial and market results. If we do this, your physicians, your patients and your leadership team will be pleased with the outcome.