It’s no secret that opening an imaging center requires a lot of capital. Purchasing an inventory of diagnostic imaging equipment alone can set you back millions of dollars. Add in the ongoing costs of maintaining the efficiency of that equipment, and your operating budget can certainly seem daunting.
But did you know – routine preventative maintenance by expert technicians (like the team at Altima!) can save business owners thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars? That’s because imaging equipment that isn’t maintained can create a domino effect of costly mishaps. 24/7 remote system monitoring saves business owners the not-so-easily quantifiable cost of turning patients away due to downtime.
Certainly, there are other vendors who can provide you with a diagnostic imaging service plan. But not all plans are created equal. Before choosing a vendor, you deserve to know what’s included, and what might cost extra. Transparency is key in any relationship. Before partnering with a vendor, make sure your expectations are addressed and documented prior to approving the service.
Let’s break things down a bit and get into the details and numbers of a customized service plan.
What does a diagnostic imaging service plan from Altima include?
Yes – even in this shortage! Helium has become harder and harder to source as demand in the healthcare industry and other sectors has skyrocketed around the globe. However, Altima has maintained its steady supply of helium through our rock-solid relationships with trusted vendors. This means that we supply the helium needed for your system, right when you need it, before it ever dips too low and causes a cooling issue.
Let’s translate this into cost.
Although the level of helium consumption depends on the manufacturer of your magnet, type of MRI scanner, and the OEM maintenance requirements, systems generally burn anywhere from 1-6% of its helium capacity/month. Let’s say, for the sake of averaging, your system burns 5% of its helium per month, or 60% per year. Now, let’s say your magnet has a capacity of 1700 liters of helium. You are burning 1,020 liters per year (1700 x .60). Assume that helium, in this scenario, is around $20 per liter. Your cost of helium per year is $20,400, not including labor.
Not only does a diagnostic imaging service plans from Altima provide the helium required for the health of your equipment, but it saves you from being at the whim of market demand. The price of helium can rise drastically overnight. Protecting yourself and your business from this volatility can help you stay on budget.
Part Replacement and Part Repair
When parts on an MRI fail, or need to be replaced, it’s not as simple as running to the general store to get a cheap replacement. Take the coil, for example. A typical 4 to 8-channel coil usually ranges from $12,000 (on the very low side) to $80,000. Moving up the scale, a 16 to 32-channel coil can run between $40,000 to $120,000 depending on their application. Prices do start to fall when you work with a used part vendor, but either way, parts aren’t cheap. With a service plan from Altima, many parts are included. Which means even if you need just one part a year, those savings may very well outweigh the cost of the plan.
Many times, a full-on part replacement can be spared with the proper repair techniques. Altima’s expert technicians have been in the industry for decades, and we’ve worked with clients around the globe on specialized repairs. One other thing to note – Altima is routinely able to source rare parts that no other vendor can secure. If it’s a rare part you end up needing, perhaps because it’s on an older system or MRI that’s no longer in production, chances are we can help you.
Labor is another area that can get very expensive, very quickly. Many service companies can charge upwards of $500/hour, and it can increase from there depending on the time and date you need service. If you call an OEM for labor, it could be triple that cost. But the real cost of labor to businesses is the unpredictability involved in equipment repair and maintenance. Unless you have a crystal ball, nobody can predict how much time is needed to fix an issue. This leaves businesses unable to plan for and budget labor costs. With a dedicated service plan from Altima, you won’t ever have to try and “fit in” labor costs.
Quarterly Preventative Maintenance
Finally, we round out each diagnostic imaging service plan with quarterly preventative maintenance, or we build you a specific timeline based on your OEM’s specifications. Preventative maintenance is the key to eliminate or greatly reduce downtime, as it is a means to perform regular check-ups on imaging equipment so that full-blown problems never manifest.
Preventative maintenance also ensures optimal image quality – one of THE most important things you can provide to your patients. If a clear image isn’t produced during the first scan, the patient may have to be scanned again, leading to potential out-of-pocket costs and an unpleasant patient experience. Even worse, poor image quality may prevent the physician from making a proper diagnosis. That’s why preventative maintenance is so important – it not only saves costs, it saves lives.
When Altima provides preventative maintenance services, it usually entails either onsite or remote system monitoring, a combination of tests (diagnostic, performance and mechanical), system calibration, and internal/external cleaning. Preventative maintenance also helps centers to maintain accreditation and stay eligible for reimbursement. The American College of Radiology (ACR) is one accrediting agency and generally, they require systems be maintained per OEM standards.
Let the Altima Team Customize a Plan for You
When you align with Altima, our team will work with you to customize your specific service plan, which may include some or all of the aforementioned components. A diagnostic imaging service plan from Altima is one of the smartest investments you can make for your imaging center or hospital! Call us today to learn more – (972) 382-5617