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Quality Refurbishment Processes, Regulatory Relaxations, Persuasiveness of Circular Economy, and New Marketing Channels Fuel the Market Adoption of Refurbished Imaging Equipment
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Advancements in medical imaging technology are serving to achieve state-of-the-art healthcare management across the globe. However, not all hospitals and independent diagnostic imaging centers have access to these advanced medical imaging equipment. This is mainly because of budget constraints and continuous consolidation of healthcare facilities. Upfront capital investments and lower reimbursements are making healthcare providers re-evaluate purchases of new medical imaging equipment. However, with a rising demand to drive patient volume and have a top-quality imaging equipment fleet, end users have to balance the return on investment with the purchase of capital equipment. To this end, refurbished medical imaging equipment serves the purpose due to the “like new” condition of the equipment and significantly lower front capital investments.Refurbished medical imaging equipment are pre-owned medical imaging equipment that are restored to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) specification to “same as new” condition. The refurbishment process includes “Full Refurbishment” and “Semi-refurbishment”. Refurbishment refers to the process wherein OEMs or Independent Service Vendors (ISVs) transform the pre-owned medical imaging equipment to its original “like new” condition. The process of refurbishment includes decontamination, cosmetic enhancement, repair or replacement of parts, software upgrade and, finally, quality and performance check. OEM refers to the company that had originally manufactured the medical imaging equipment. ISV refers to the company that provides refurbishment products and services but does not manufacturer the medical imaging equipment by itself. Extending the life of pre-owned medical imaging equipment requires a set of refurbishment processes that are described as Good Refurbishment Practices (GRPs).The US, Western Europe, and Japan are the major sources of pre-owned medical imaging equipment, which undergo the refurbishment process. After the refurbishment process is completed, medical imaging equipment are either sold locally or exported to other countries around the world. Although in some countries local refurbishment is predominant, other countries have restricted/banned the import of refurbished equipment. The reasons for end users to choose refurbished medical imaging equipment can include limited budget, requirement for consistency in clinical outcomes (from an aged equipment), restriction of high-end imaging equipment for specific functions, improving the age profile of the installed base at lower upfront capital costs, and ensuring the utmost care and safety of patients.
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