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How to Determine if a New or Refurbished MRI System is Right for You

If you’re deciding whether to purchase a new or refurbished MRI system, there’s a variety of things to consider. While cost is likely your first concern, an analysis of what your imaging center requires for patients in a new, used, or refurbished MRI system is important in making this incredibly important purchase. Whether it’s software compatibility, energy efficiency, a track record of reliable OEM parts, or simply whether or not the equipment will fit in your imaging room, choosing the next MRI system for your practice is a calculated decision.

At Altima Diagnostic Imaging Solutions (DIS), we’ve built a solid reputation installing imaging equipment for over a decade, so our expertise is second to none when it comes to the ever-growing market of used and refurbished MRI systems. In this blog, we’ll walk you through when to buy a new or refurbished MRI system and provide answers to questions you may have during this process.


Types of Refurbished Imaging Equipment

When deciding on purchasing used MRI equipment, it’s important to consider what kind of system you’re buying, as there are distinct differences in the labels of used/pre-owned, refurbished, and reconditioned equipment.

Used/Pre-owned: When it comes to buying a “used” or “pre-owned” MRI system, they’re typically sold as-is. While that can garner you a 50%-80% discount when compared to a new system, it could also require further repairs and testing. You may also incur additional costs for installation, de-installation, or shipment of the equipment. 

Refurbished: With refurbished equipment, MRIs are repaired back as close to the original OEM standard of performance you would expect from a manufacturer when it was first sold. This includes replacement with OEM parts, recalibration, and even cosmetic repairs. Refurbished units can cost more than used/pre-owned equipment but still retain a 35-50% discount compared to new systems.

Reconditioned: When imaging equipment is fully certified as reconditioned, it is tested for complete system functionality and physically repaired to look like its original state per the manufacturer’s original specifications.


Why Should I Buy a Used or Refurbished MRI?

When thinking about the reasons why you may want a used or refurbished MRI system, the following facts, features, and benefits should be considered:

  • Affordability: Used MRIs are 50-80% more affordable than a new system.
  • Faster ROI: Used systems cost less and are generally installed faster allowing your business to begin using as a revenue source quickly.
  • Included services: Used and refurbished models can include installation, service agreements, and warranties with some providers.
  • Repairability: Newer isn’t always better or affordable. Some brand new MRI systems have poor repairability and their sophisticated parts can be expensive to replace.
  • OEM specs: Many systems are repaired to OEM specifications, which can be good as new. ISO certification is also still feasible with a large market of used and refurbished equipment.
  • Proven reliability: In most cases, used and refurbished equipment is easy to acquire, has already been installed before, and has been used successfully by other imaging centers for years. 
  • Compatibility: You can choose equipment compatible with your current imaging center room (think size) and software setup for ease of installation, training, and implementation.


Why Should I Buy a New MRI system?

While there are advantages to buying used or refurbished, in some cases, buying a new MRI system might be the best choice for your business. 

  • Modern features Getting the latest technological innovations can benefit patients and imaging center staff’s ability to get clear images.
  • OEM Reputation A brand new piece of equipment requires less homework as these systems do not require an inspection. Siemens, GE, and others have name recognition and renowned technological track records.
  • Warranties and service agreements You’ll receive longer warranty/service agreements with brand new purchases which can be very beneficial when investing in such valuable equipment.
  • Less maintenance New diagnostic imaging systems have brand new parts that can last a long time before incurring substantial wear and tear. For example, a new coldhead generally lasts 4-5 years before it requires replacement and each replacement can cost between $5,000 to 10,000.


Questions to Ask When deciding to Buy a New or Refurbished MRI System

When weighing the major decision of buying a used or new MRI system, there are several important questions to ask your organization before signing the dotted line.

1. What is your timeline? 

If you have only a few months to get things up and running, a new system with an OEM install could be prohibitive (60-90 days) when compared to a quicker installation of a refurbished system by Altima DIS, which can be completed in as little as 10 days.

  1. What is your budget? 

When budgeting for your new or refurbished MRI system, consider costs for preventive maintenance or other service agreements as well. Given a new MRI system can run anywhere between $150,000 to $1.2 million, and a refurbished model can cost 50-80% less than a new system, a little math goes a long way with such an impactful investment.

  1. Does the equipment come with a warranty or service agreement? 

If not, you may need to consider what it will cost to maintain an MRI system including replacement parts should a problem arise. New MRIs come with a 1-year warranty on parts and labor while refurbished equipment is a more limited situation (e.g. 30 days). Be sure to talk with your team to see what level of risk you’re willing to consider. Here at Altima DIS, we’ll provide a custom warranty built for your practice’s needs in addition to a service contract to keep your equipment protected.

  1. Do you want to be able to inspect equipment before purchasing it? 

When making a large purchasing decision, it can help to have the entire story. A new MRI system can only be evaluated by comparing it to track records of other operational models and product reviews. On the other hand, used and refurbished equipment can be professionally inspected. In this case, there may be years of documented successful operation and repairs ron record, whereas a new MRI system may run into unpredictable and very expensive repairs you can’t predict once out of warranty. All of this knowledge can be incredibly valuable for this decision.

Consult an  Imaging Equipment Expert for the Answer

Every practice is unique and the market for used and new MRI systems is ever-growing. With the above guidance, you should now be able to work with your team to make an educated decision on whether to purchase a new, used or refurbished MRI.

Nevertheless, if you need support for what is a very important and expensive decision, at Altima DIS, we offer 100 years of collective experience working in the medical imaging industry. We provide turnkey, imaging equipment solutions for practices of all sizes.

Our team is ready to support you in your choice for your team and customers. Whether you are interested in purchasing new, used, or refurbished systems, we offer a myriad of solutions. In every transaction, we are committed to collaborative, communicative relationships with you, your imaging team, and your stakeholders.

Experience the Altima Advantage for yourself and give us a call at 972-382-5533 or email us.

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