The primary goal of your ophthalmic practice is to provide exceptional care and service to every individual you treat. However, with reimbursements declining and patients expecting even more from their eye care experience (but wanting to pay even less), smart practitioners are learning where and how to allocate their spending to ensure the best return on their investment.
Not surprisingly, it starts with buying the right ophthalmic equipment.
While some practitioners have the means to outfit their offices with the latest high-tech devices complete with all the bells and whistles, many times purchasing used or refurbished machinery and accessories can provide the same benefits at a fraction of the cost—and often with similar financing options and manufacturer warranties.
These days, there is a substantial market for used ophthalmic equipment, as practices either close their doors or sell their older devices and instruments to upgrade to newer technology. That means there are plenty of bargains available if you know where to look.
Essentially, there are pros and cons either way, so it’s worth taking the time to evaluate your needs and options. Here are a few important things to consider when deciding whether to purchase new or used equipment for your practice.
First and foremost, do your research.
As with any purchase, make sure you have all the pertinent information before you make a decision, starting with knowing exactly what you are buying and who you are buying it from. In other words, choose a reputable equipment provider like veatchinstruments.com who is knowledgeable about the products they offer and can answer any questions you may have about how to use them.
If you choose to buy used ophthalmic equipment, the vendor should be able to provide documentation as to the condition of the device, its serial number and manufacture date (anything over 10 years old is likely obsolete in terms of price and diagnostic value), and whether or not it meets manufacturer specifications.
In addition, it is important to make sure you completely understand any warranty or return policy on the used instrument or equipment you buy, and a good vendor will provide this information up front. Also make sure they offer easily accessible service and support if necessary.
Consider what you really need.
Before making your decision, confirm that the equipment you want to buy is compatible with the other equipment in your office. If so, it then comes down to how quickly you need it and how much you want to spend.
For example, do you need to immediately replace a piece of broken equipment but lack the financial means to purchase a brand new version? In this case, buying a used or refurbished version is likely your best option. (Remember, reimbursement and tax advantages will be the same regardless of whether you purchase new or used equipment.)
However, if there is no immediate need and you are thinking about upgrading one or more pieces of equipment in your practice, it is worth it to consider buying new, especially if you have room in your budget. In some instances, you can replace multiple pieces of ophthalmic equipment for a great price and upgrade significantly from your previous technology.
Also consider buying new for certain devices like retinal imaging and refractive lasers, as ophthalmic technology is rapidly evolving and you want to make sure your equipment retains its diagnostic value for as long as possible.
Think about the big picture.
At the end of the day, you want to provide the highest level of patient care while at the same time improving financial performance for your practice.
It may be that used equipment is your best option; however, if you spend a few hundred dollars more to replace a piece of outdated manual equipment with a new, automated device that your technicians can use (ultimately freeing up your time to build your practice) isn’t that a better decision in the long run?
Likewise, consider how you might further expand your practice and monetize a piece of new equipment when compared with a piece of used equipment. Which will better maintain its value—an older device or a new device with up-to-date technology? These are important questions to consider before making your final purchase decision.
Bottom line: While used equipment can be a cost-effective option in the short term, buying new may provide a greater return on your investment over time. The initial cost may be more, but you are also guaranteed a pristine piece of equipment that is likely to last a good 10 to 15 years.
Still on the fence? We can help you make a decision.
Veatch Ophthalmic Instruments has been an integral part of the ophthalmic community for over 30 years, and we have built a reputation for outstanding service and commitment to customer satisfaction.
Our experienced team can help you assess the needs of your practice and find exactly what you need to combat reimbursement reductions and increase efficiency while getting the most value for your dollar. In fact, many of our customers have reported significant increases in revenue simply by upgrading to a digital practice. Call Veatch today at 800.447.7511 or fill out our online form to learn more.