When purchasing cataract equipment (phaco machines and ophthalmic microscopes), not only do you have to take into consideration the initial cost, but also the long-term expense it will take to keep your equipment maintained and surgery-ready. On top of that, cataract costs can go even deeper into your profit margins when managing your own inventory (case supplies, lenses, and special instruments like toric markers and CTR inserters). Did you know that partnering with Surgical Direct can dramatically lower how much cataracts cost your facility? What is the real cost of owning cataract equipment? Let us break it down for you…
What’s the real cost of owning cataract equipment and managing your own supplies?
1) Initial Capital
Easily the highest expense of owning cataract equipment is purchasing it. Purchasing cataract equipment (phaco machines, handpieces, and microscopes) can easily cost your facility over 6 figures in capital expenditure to be ready to facilitate cataract surgery (and if you are considering having 2 rooms operational for cataracts, double that figure). That’s no small dent. But the real challenge in the ophthalmic specialty is keeping up with how quickly new technology is released. Software upgrades typically are released annually which cost you to upgrade. On average, manufacturers release new phaco platforms every 7-10 years, meaning that you may need to re-invest in new technology on that timeframe. Ophthalmology is one of the most rapidly advancing specialties in the medical field.
2) Repairs and Preventative Maintenance
If you purchase cataract equipment for your facility, you must take into consideration the cost of maintaining your equipment. Phaco machine service contracts with manufacturers can cost an average of 5-7k per year (in a multiple year contract). And that’s just 1 phaco machine PM plan. Now let’s talk about repairs. Here’s a list of the most common phaco issues concerning repairs:
- Phaco Foot Switch (3-5k)
- Phaco handpiece failures (2-4k)
- IV pole malfunctions (2-4k)
- Fluidics hardware malfunctions (3k+)
These are average prices and the most common issues you’ll see from our experience. While still on the topic of phaco repairs, we also have to mention the loss of business and costs that correlate if your surgery day is halted or canceled by equipment failure. Not only will your facility lose revenue due to canceling surgery, but it’s a major hassle to reschedule patients, coordinate special service calls, and so on.
3) Case Supply Waste, Lens Management, & Shipping Costs
If you manage your own case supply inventory at your facility, you’ll know that there is almost always some percentage of loss you’ll experience (from expirations to contaminations to damages). With cataract supplies, you may also know that there are specialty items necessary to have on hand just in case the surgeon might need them. Items like Capsular Tension Rings, Malyugin Rings, Iris Hooks, and Vitrectors (just to name a few) are items that need to be available if the surgeon asks for them. Some of these items are so rarely used that they often expire on your shelf, which is a loss in your inventory. And of course, because of the nature of these supplies, they tend to be the most expensive of the cataract case supplies that you’ll order.
Managing your own lens consignments can cost you a significant amount of time and money between processing orders and reorders, shipping charges, special orders, restocking, etc. We also cannot forget to mention all the shipping costs that you will pay for all inventory items including lenses, regular supplies, overnight charges for last minute orders, and instrument repairs. Shipping costs on supplies and lenses can be significant over time.
4) Time & Space
Think for a moment of all the time that’s invested in preparing for cataract day. Ordering inventory, stocking supplies, pulling case supplies for surgery, managing multiple vendor POs, custom ordering specialty lenses, reordering and restocking used lenses, and the list goes on… And that’s just for a normal day when nothing goes wrong! What about when a machine goes down? Patients have to be rescheduled and surgery needs to be re-coordinated with the surgeon. If transportation is involved for patients, that needs to be re-arranged. Service calls with the manufacturer need to be coordinated, arranged, invoiced, and paid. All of this is time that you (or someone on your staff) is taking out of their week to manage. When it comes to space, many surgical locations are limited in storage space. Cataract equipment and case supplies can eat up 200-400 sq ft of your precious storage space.
Surgical Direct provides a mobile cataract service that saves you time, money, space, and stress.
It really is simple. Surgical Direct will provide the latest cataract equipment to your facility when you need it (just for surgery day – even for 2 rooms days) so you don’t have to spend your capital on cataract equipment. Our equipment is manufacturer maintained and routinely serviced with the same service contracts you would have if it were in your facility. We always provide a backup machine in case of equipment failure (because it does happen), and when it does, we pay for the repairs. We provide adequate handpiece volume for your surgery day caseload so surgeries can move along at a normal pace (even with today’s sterilization standards). We provide all the inventory you’ll need for surgery, including case supplies (drapes, blades, cannulas, viscoelastics, etc), instruments, lenses, and those rarely used backup supplies (excluding pre and post-op meds). And all of this comes at a per-case price that is only a percentage of your facility’s cataract reimbursement. OH, and did we mention no long-term contracts?
2019 is the year that you can upgrade your equipment without spending a dollar in capital and save money and time on inventory management.
Check out our post about 5 Headaches Eliminated with Mobile Cataract Services to see how Surgical Direct can help alleviate your cataract surgery woes.
Call us anytime with your questions! Or you can try our services first hand for FREE. Sign up for our Free Demo Day and experience Surgical Direct first hand at no charge. (see demo day page for full details).