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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).

Why upgrade from Alcon Infiniti to Alcon Centurion?

In 2013, Alcon introduced the Centurion Vision System to the North American Market. Alcon for decades has been an industry leader in cataract surgical technology, leading the charge in innovative surgical platforms such as the Legacy, Infiniti, and now the Centurion.

With decades of experience in cataract surgery at Surgical Direct, we have never seen a machine that has offered so many practical and technological benefits as does the Centurion. Before we go further,  we just want to make clear that we believe that the Phaco platform of choice in your facility is ultimately a decision in the hands of your surgeon. We offer all current Phaco platforms available today to our customers, based on their preference. However, we believe that if you are still using the Alcon Infiniti for your cataract procedures, that there are great benefits available to you in upgrading from Alcon Infiniti to Alcon Centurion.

So, Why should you upgrade from Alcon Infiniti to Alcon Centurion?

Let’s look at some of the main differentiating advantages between the Alcon Infiniti and Alcon Centurion.

(1) Fluidics

Infiniti – The Alcon Infiniti uses a custom fluidics software that is powered by gravity flow. This means that the BSS bottle is placed on the automatically adjusted IV Pole, and is raised or lowered to accommodate the surgeon’s preferences in each step of the procedure. The bottle height determines the depth of the chamber within the eye, and each step in the procedure typically has slightly different parameters. Gravity-based fluidics has been a standard in Phaco technology for decades and still has certain benefits. The only downfall to a gravity-based fluidic system is that the chamber will tend to fluctuate each time the surgeon steps on or off the pedal. This can create sudden increases/decreases in pressure inside the eye. Additionally, a gravity-based fluidic system has little control over a post-occlusion surge from occurring.

Centurion – The Alcon Centurion introduced a ground-breaking technology in cataract surgery called “Active Fluidics TM”. The main difference between “active” and gravity (although there are many), is that Active Fluidics uses sensor-directed plates that squeeze the bag of BSS in a controlled environment. These plates are hyper-sensitive (down to single-digit mmHg readings of pressure in the eye) and are automated based on the pressure reading inside the eye using pressure sensors.

In short, Centurion actually controls the pressure in the eye dynamically, keeping a constant state of pressure based on the inputted settings. This virtually eliminates the chance of a post-occlusion surge, because the plates adjust according to the pressure reading, making Active Fluidics the safest fluidic platform available today. In our experience, each surgeon that has used Centurion will rave about the chamber being stable and “quiet”. In turn, this allows the surgeon to be more at ease during his cases, not worrying about a surge in intraocular pressure. Relaxed Surgeon = Better Outcomes!

More info on the Centurion’s “Active Fluidics”

(2) Energy

Infiniti – The Alcon Infiniti introduced the “Ozil” Torsional power to the phaco market. This brought a different ultrasonic motion to the Phaco tip that reduced overall energy displaced in the eye significantly compared to previous Phaco technologies. With the power of traditional phaco power combined with Alcon’s new “Ozil” power, total energy levels per case were reduced. Lower energy output in the eye during surgery, the better.

Centurion – With the release of the Alcon Centurion, came the release of the “Balanced Tip”. The balanced tip (only available for use with the Centurion) harnesses the Torsional power of the tip in a different way, dispersing the energy in a more efficient way. What does this mean? This means that the energy used in each case is more effective. Even at lowered power outputs, the “Balanced Tip” can cut more efficiently, reducing overall power outputs into eye significantly on each case. This makes for a happy surgeon because lower energy output typically means better vision outcomes for their patients.

More info on the Centurion’s “Energy Delivery”

(3) Practicality

Infiniti – The Infiniti has first released in the early 2000s in the North American Market. With a number of software updates since its first release, Infiniti has continued to be supported and improved upon by Alcon until 2013 when the Centurion was released. What this means is that no updates or improvements have been made to the Infiniti software for the last 5+ years. Infiniti machines will start to have a higher risk of break down and malfunction simply due to older parts. Plus, Alcon has made an obvious manufacturing shift due to their new technology offering, and fewer replacement parts for Infiniti are being manufactured. If you still have an Infiniti in your facility, just by simple math, it’s only a matter of time before a decision will have to be made to upgrade.

Centurion – The Alcon Centurion comes with many practical features that make upgrading from Alcon Infiniti to Alcon Centurion an easy choice. Aside from what we’ve mentioned already from a surgical aspect, there are quite a few other practical upgrades to this platform.

A)Wireless FootPedal. This seems like it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but to the surgeon and room staff, the wireless foot pedal is actually a very nice upgrade. Alternating from left eyes to right eyes is easier. Room turnover (rolling beds in and out) no longer have to worry about chords. It’s a small thing, but in our experience, is a nice feature.

B) Handpieces. When you upgrade to Centurion, you no longer have to buy all new handpieces.  Even though Alcon introduced a new handpiece with this system, you are not tied to using them. You are able to use any of the old “Ozil” handpieces with Centurion and still enjoy all the new fluidic and energy features. Why is this important? With the ever-changing sterilization requirements from joint commission (or other governing medical bodies), having a shortage of handpieces can make a heavy cataract day difficult. We think it’s a very nice feature.

C) AutoSert IOL. With Centurion comes the opportunity to use Alcon’s “AutoSert IOL Delivery System”. This is a motor-driven IOL injector that hooks into the Centurion, allowing for single-handle injection of the IOL at predetermined insertion speeds. A very nice feature that brings more stability to this vital step of the cataract procedure.

More info on Alcon Centurion and its features.

There are many more amazing features that Centurion has to offer. Perhaps you were already well aware of the benefits of using Centurion, but your facility doesn’t have the capital funds to purchase Centurion. Or maybe you have multiple surgeons operating in your facility, and one wants Centurion, and the other does not.

Surgical Direct exists to serve. With our unique Mobile Cataract Outsourcing model, we are able to help you upgrade from Alcon Infiniti to Alcon Centurion with NO upfront capital investment. On top of that, our well-trained and professional surgical coordinators know all the ins-and-outs of Centurion and will help your staff acclimate to the change in platform. We make it easy.

Are you thinking about upgrading from Alcon Infiniti to Alcon Centurion? Leave us a comment and let us know your reservations. We are confident that we can help make it possible in your facility.

Want more info about Surgical Direct?

Click HERE for info pertaining to Hospitals. 

Click HERE for info pertaining to ASCs.

Click HERE for info pertaining to Ophthalmologists.