Used vs. Refurbished
Used, by definition, is pre-owned and subjected to prior use. A synonym is “worn” which means anything from slightly employed to significantly deteriorated. Typically, used medical equipment is sold as-is with no recourse to the seller as to usability or functional life. That means if the equipment malfunctions or fails, you are responsible for the cost of repair or replacement. Additionally, training healthcare professionals on the use of the equipment is the new owner’s responsibility.
So your experience may mirror the good or not so good outcome of buying a vehicle from Honest Charlie’s Used Car Emporium. Caveat emptor is the cautionary note.
In contrast, refurbished medical equipment is previously owned equipment precisely restored to the original manufacturer’s standards. The bottom-line for buyers means “good as new” refurbished equipment, rebuilt piece by piece to the precise standards of the original manufacturer. Professionally refurbished products by a qualified refurbisher evoke the customer response, “It works and looks like new”. That’s because it has been refitted and pre-tested with the new or reconditioned parts.
And while price should never be the primary purchasing criterion, especially when it comes to life preserving medical devices, refurbished products can cost half that of a comparable new product.
Please! Never confuse “used” with “refurbished” medical equipment.
The Refurbishing Process & Deliverables
You can find many companies that claim to properly refurbish medical equipment. But, without overwhelming you with the details of the refurbishing processes, a quality refurbisher will ensure the following steps are strictly followed:
- Properly clean and disinfect equipment;
- Inspect and replace all worn out parts;
- Recalibrate to ensure “like-new” performance;
- Include technology upgrades, if any;
- Cosmetic reconditioning so equipment looks like new;
- Test to confirm uncompromised efficiency and accuracy in operation.
As evidence of the confidence placed in the quality of the refurbished equipment, an established refurbishing firm will provide the same, or similar warranty as that of an OEM that sells only new equipment. Additionally, a first-rate refurbisher will provide delivery, installation and training.
A brief word on the topic of training: Often, training time for healthcare professionals may be significantly compressed when refurbished equipment is the choice. Familiar models in new condition don’t require training from scratch as is the need with a newly introduced device. Also, the refurbisher can provide in-person, email or telephone assistance on training questions that arise subsequent to the training.
Service during the period of the equipment warranty and thereafter is a critical aspect of buying any medical devices … and refurbished equipment is no exception. Anything that breaks down needs to be fixed in a timely manner. That means responsiveness to keep you up and running, not up and waiting.
The question to ask is what is the refurbisher’s promise to repair it and how fast will they respond. Ideally, the answer is on call around the clock delivering responsive service and maintenance – 24/7 … plus, technical support and attention that OEMs don’t provide. Problems arise, whether equipment is new or refurbished, but the service level you receive from a provider can make all the difference.
State-of-the-Art Refurbisher’s Value-Adds
In addition to the foregoing, a first-class refurbishing firm will provide the following:
Sales consultation and support: There is never a one-size-fits-all solution. A consultative sales approach ensures a focus on your needs in the choice of refurbished medical equipment alternatives.
Valuation & liquidation services: Circumstances may make knowing the value of your equipment critical, e.g. liquidating, upgrading or an accounting for insurance purposes. In the event you need to get rid of your existing equipment, a capable refurbisher will work with you to get the best value with the least hassle.
Easy and fast financing: While refurbished equipment costs a fraction of new, you may prefer not to pay cash. Refurbishers that provide lease or loan facilities deliver the solution to alternative sources of financing.
Clearly, the current advanced and constantly evolving state of the industry has resulted in refurbished products accepted as an appealing option by the medical community. Increasingly, surgery centers, hospitals, laboratories, medical schools and private practices are embracing the improved operational-cost efficiencies of refurbished equipment without compromising the accuracy and functionality of a brand new product. That coupled with enhanced service and responsiveness from an established, qualified refurbishing firm makes refurbished medical and surgical equipment an attractive, and often superior, alternative.