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6 Things to Consider Before Buying or Upgrading Phaco Machines & Microscopes

Purchasing medical equipment is a big decision with a large amount of weight for admin staff. Cost, Long-Term reliability and ROI and just a few obvious details that should be considered. But we believe there are more corners in the room that need to be scanned before making your final decision.

If you are in the market for a phaco machine for your hospital or ASC, there are:

6 things we think you should consider before buying or upgrading phaco machines and microscopes.

 

1) Do you have the capital?

One of the biggest factors in purchasing equipment is price and whether that purchase will bring a healthy ROI to your facility. The main questions when it comes to cataract surgery is (a) will you have enough volume to make the capital investment worth it, and (b) is there another specialty field that could benefit more from your capital dollars and provide a higher ROI for you facility? Surgical Direct provides the solution that allows you to maximize your capital funds to where it will make the most sense, and still acquire the use of today’s latest phaco technology in your OR right away. Along with obtaining the equipment you need, we provide more than enough phaco trays for today’s stringent sterilization regulations.

2) Repair & Maintenance Costs.

Not only do you need to delegate funds for purchasing the equipment (and all accessories and supplies that come with your phaco), but it’s equally important to allocate funds for ongoing maintenance & repair costs. Manufacture preventative maintenance is absolutely essential to keep your equipment running safely and correctly for surgery. But this is an added expense that can cost you tens of thousands over the life of ownership and that doesn’t even touch the scenario where you need an additional repair or part. At Surgical Direct, all of our machines are enrolled in the same PM schedule with the manufacturer that your machine would be, providing the same level of upkeep and care to your facility without the ongoing (and unexpected) bills.

3) Disposable Supply, Lenses & Inventory Upkeep.

Of course, every phaco machine comes with specific accessories and supplies that only work with that specific machine. Are you and your staff in a position to manage these aspects efficiently? Surgical Direct’s Mobile Cataract Service provides everything needed. Handpieces, tips, sleeves, tubing packs & bss are machine-specific and must be on hand for surgery. We take care of all the details like all disposable case supplies specific to each surgeon’s preference, including standard & premium lenses for each case.

4) Brand & Surgeon Loyalty.

Since purchasing is a big ROI decision, you want to be sure of a 2 things before pulling the trigger with confidence. 1) Is this machine (and it’s brand) a good fit for the surgeon (or all of the surgeons that might be using it) longterm? Short term thinking does not produce good ROI results. Are you certain the surgeon will be happy with this machine longterm? 2) Are you certain the surgeon will be operating in your facility longterm? There is no obvious answer to these questions because there is no guarantee of the future. Surgical Direct gives you the flexibility to use a machine as long as you like with not buy-in or tie-down. Switching brands or upgrading to the latest model is EASY!

5) Staff Training & Troubleshooting.

New equipment means new things to learn. Does your team have the capacity to learn all the ins-and-outs of the new technology? Knowing what to look for, troubleshooting inconsistencies and errors, and acting quickly can be the difference between a smooth day and day full of cancellations. Surgical Direct provides highly-trained and helpful technicians each surgery day in your OR that uses our service. Our techs are specifically trained on the equipment to know how to circumnavigate issues to keep the equipment working all day. Plus, if the issue is too technical, we bring backup machines!

6) Cataract Technology Advances Quickly.

No matter how certain about all of the other 5 topics we discussed, there is still the fact that Ophthalmic Surgical Technology is one of the fastest evolving/changing specialties in the medical field. New tech is introduced almost annually and can be difficult to stay on top, not only financially, but practically.

We bring all of this up to let you know that if you are considering purchasing a phaco machine, you have options! Exploring a Cataract Outsourcing partnership with Surgical Direct could be the solution that saves your facility tens of thousands in capital, provides the latest technology, award-winning support, and consistent reliable ROI that you can track.

Our solution is mobile, turn-key, and simple. We would love to speak with you about how together we can make a smoother, more efficient cataract program.

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More about our Mobile Cataract Services

How much are cataracts really costing you?

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 tonic 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 advanced 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 before they are used, 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 PO’s, custom ordering specialty lenses, reordering and restocking used lenses; 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 manufacture 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).

Save Capital Dollars on Cataracts

Surgical Direct can help your bottom line.

Over the last few years, Medicare reimbursements for Cataract Surgery have been on the slow but steady incline (between 1-5% depending on the type of facility). This is great news if you are facilitating or interested in facilitating cataracts in your OR, and should be an incentive to pursue cataracts. But this doesn’t help you save capital dollars on cataracts.

Even though the reimbursements have risen, the cost of surgery is increasing and investing in new technology can put a big dent in your capital funds. However, not investing can stifle the inflow of patients that surgeons want to bring to your facility because they don’t want to be stuck using old technology. Surgical facility administrators are then forced to make a decision…(a) invest a large amount of capital or (b) run the risk of losing the business. This all depends on the annual case volume of cataracts in your facility. However, it’s fairly safe to say that if your facility is a surgery center or hospital, investing in new Cataract Technology may not actually help your bottom line.

So the question poses itself here.

If you are not an Eye Center, can you stay current with technology and equipment while keeping cataracts profitable in your facility?

Yes, you can!

Save Capital Dollars on Cataracts with Surgical Direct’s Mobile Cataract Services.

Surgical Direct provides a unique cataract equipment outsourcing model that eliminates the need for capital expenditure on cataract equipment, making your cataract cases profitable from day1. Our pricing model is priced by the case and is only a percentage of your Medicare reimbursement. Not to mention, NO long-term contracts. What does this mean? This means you get the latest technology for cataracts (and a happy surgeon), without spending a dime of capital, and your facility makes money every case.

To get an idea of a real-life example of savings that we can deliver, you should read this article “There’s that Cataract Van Again” from September’s issue of Outpatient Surgery Magazine, written directly about our services by one of our long-time customers.

In the article, you will see a cost breakdown of this particular surgery center’s annual savings in a Buy vs Outsource comparison.

Our goal is to be a source of information and a resource to you. We know that outsourcing equipment does not make sense for everyone. That’s why we have put together a quick checklist for you to see if outsourcing can save capital dollars on cataracts in your facility. If you answer yes to any of the 5 below, we believe you are a candidate.

  1. You are a facility that is looking to upgrade your existing cataract equipment.
  2. You are a hospital or surgery center that facilitates cataract cases and/or you have multiple surgeons requiring different technology and case supplies.
  3. You are currently not facilitating cataracts in your facility but have the desire to start and lack the capital to get it going.
  4.  You simply don’t have the time and manpower to keep up with the intense inventory management required for eyes.
  5. You have the capital, but you are not sure you want to invest in eyes because you are unsure of the Doctors long-term commitment to the platform that is being requested.

All of the scenarios above are scenarios we’ve seen first hand in facilities that were at a crossroads about purchasing new equipment, simply because they could not justify the capital expenditure. That is the beauty of outsourcing. You get the latest technology in your facility, spending $0 capital. But the real beauty of our service model doesn’t stop there. Our services include a whole slew of other benefits like inventory management of all cataract case supplies, lens consignment management, hands-on technicians in your OR on every surgery day, and more.

Interested in learning more about what we offer? Visit our Mobile Cataract Services page to find out more about what we do. Or call us directly at 314-997-4455.