When hospitals and imaging facilities purchase new equipment, such as an MRI, CT, or PET/CT camera, there is often a period of down-time during construction or installation.
In most instances, the hospital is responsible for finding an interim imaging provider to bridge the gap. However, more and more OEMs are offering temporary imaging services in their proposal as a way to incentivize the deal.
While bundling mobile services with the purchase of equipment can be convenient, it’s not without its challenges. As a leading provider of CT, MRI, PET-CT interim imaging, DMS Health has a unique perspective on this issue. In the post, we take a look at how the process works and how to avoid common mistakes.
How Bundling Interim Imaging Works
There are many ways to structure a “bundling” agreement, but the OEM will typically contact an interim imaging provider, arrange the service, and sign a contract directly with the provider.
The OEM acts as a facilitator – receiving the hospital’s requirements and then meeting those needs with a third-party mobile imaging company. The hospital provides the dates that the imaging is needed and a preference for the type of equipment to be furnished, and the OEM takes care of the rest.
At the agreed-upon date, the mobile imaging trailer arrives, the interim provider sets everything up, and the hospital can begin using the mobile camera while construction occurs.
At the end of the contract, the mobile imaging company picks up the trailer, and the OEM pays the invoice for the services provided during the contract.
Why Bundling Interim Imaging is a Smart Move
One Less Item to Worry About
Purchasing new equipment can be very stressful. Hospitals are forced to juggle renovations, contractors, permitting – all while managing an active imaging department. If an OEM is willing to do the leg work and offer the service to win the business, that is a significant benefit for the hospital.
There are a host of expenses that come with the installation of a new camera. Construction, software, warranties, not to mention the camera itself. Including the costs of the interim imaging contract removes an expense from the hospital and allows the OEM to provide a financial benefit.
Removing an Obstacle
Keeping your imaging department up and running is a top priority. A new camera will add many benefits, but the downtime can be an obstacle to completing the purchase. Bundling mobile imaging with the purchase of the camera removes some of the uncertainty and simplifies the logistics.
Four Mistakes to Avoid When Bundling Interim imaging with Your Camera Purchase
While the bundling of interim imaging services has many benefits, there are also crucial mistakes to avoid. Often, these circumstances are unexpected and not worked into the original contract.
1. Construction Delays and Contract Extensions
The most significant source of frustration from bundled imaging relates to delays and contract extensions. A delay in the facility’s construction process or the camera’s manufacturing is a real possibility. If the OEM’s contract with the interim provider only covers six weeks, and an extension is required, who pays for this? Having that question answered ahead of time can save both the facility and the OEM a tremendous amount of trouble.
Interim providers book their trailers weeks, if not months, in advance, and it is not guaranteed that they can leave the trailer in place – especially on short notice. If communication breaks down between the three parties, and the extension is not requested in time, the facility may be left without a camera.
Communication between the parties is critical to avoiding these issues. Many times, extensions can be worked out without contractual addendums, but waiting until the last minute greatly complicates arriving at an agreement.
2. Communication Bottlenecks
It may sound simple, but fundamental miscommunication can cause trouble for both the OEM and the hospital. If the contract is structured where the hospital has little or no contact with the interim imaging provider, the possibility for miscommunication is significantly raised.
We suggest maximum transparency and communication between the OEM, facility, and mobile provider. If the OEM insists on being a go-between, details such as where to park the trailer, how power will be supplied, how the data will be delivered can easily be mixed up.
Engagements that run the best allow the interim imaging provider to offer their expertise and be proactive in the process, so issues are avoided before they become a problem.
3. Missed Expectations Around the Equipment
Interim imaging is a fluid market, and there is not a warehouse of 100 Espree cameras sitting and waiting to be used. The inventory is dynamic, and getting what you want may take time. If a specific camera is required, the OEM must build-in enough time so that an interim imaging provider who has that inventory can be engaged.
Comparable cameras are often used for mobile imaging, and the expectations of what will be arriving should be set and clear from the very beginning. Any changes or substitutions should also be communicated as soon as they are known so that the imaging facility can prepare.
4. Responsibility for Damage
When bundling interim imaging with a camera purchase, it’s essential to identify which party is financially responsible for damage to the mobile imaging equipment. No one wants or expects an accident, but they do happen. If there is a charge to repair the trailer, camera, or ancillary equipment, does the hospital pay, or does the OEM cover it? Having clarity about this question before agreeing to the deal can prevent heated arguments. By proactively addressing the issue, both parties can be covered in the event of damage.
Best Practices for Bundling Imaging Services
As more OEMs offer this benefit, the process will continue to improve, and both the manufacturers and the hospitals will be more prepared for how to structure the arrangement.
The best advice we’ve seen is to keep the lines of communication open between all parties. Address issues ahead of time as much as you can, and if equipment malfunctions or delays cause problems, you will be prepared for how to work through those issues.