In conclusion to the qualities one would look for in an ultrasound machine, we will be looking at the arguments on new and used medical equipment, training and the maintenance and warranties associated with ultrasound equipment.
New vs. Used
When purchasing an ultrasound machine for your organization, you may have the choice of buying/leasing new or pre-owned ultrasound equipment. Just like with most things such as automobiles you can typically save thousands of dollars looking for used medical equipment with all of the specifications you need and is a couple of years old. It is best to look for a system that has been under continuous service contract or coverage. Having a system inspection and certification at the time of delivery ensures that the system is in good operational condition and ready for use.
Since ultrasound machines are sophisticated machinery, it is important to make sure that maintenance and repairs are considered in the overall value proposition. Most new ultrasound machines comes with normal warranties; one year is the most common but may have a 3-5 service agreement added on to the price. There are some very good, national, non-OEM service organizations that can offer comprehensive service agreements for all pre-owned ultrasound equipment. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you understand exactly what will be covered and how. Are the transducers covered if you drop them, are there any limitations on the coverage. You don’t want to find out after the fact that you only thought you had coverage.
Unless you and your staff are already proficient in the operation of your new ultrasound machine, you’ll want to make sure that training is part of the overall package. Application training may only involve what we call “knob-ology” which is getting the sonographers up to steam on what knobs and buttons do what on a specific ultrasound system. If you are making the jump to a more sophisticated pre-owned ultrasound system, such as portable ultrasound machines, more detailed application training may be required. Make sure to understand what training needs are, both initially and on an on-going basis.