A critical element of patient safety is high-quality, reliable medical equipment that your personnel trusts and knows how to use. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues challenging the healthcare supply chain in unprecedented ways, investing in brand new equipment may not always make sense financially.
Although carts have seen service in at least one other medical facility in the past, investing in refurbished pre-owned carts offers many critical and unstated advantages over brand-new or plain used equipment.
Used vs. Refurbished
Although these terms may appear synonymous, there is an essential difference between used medical devices and refurbished ones.
Used equipment is pre-owned and purchased as-is, with no changes or alterations. While used equipment is often available at the lowest cost possible, there is little to no quality control. Even if you trust your supplier, the sold-as-is nature of used equipment means they haven’t been tested or checked for suitability.
The alternative to buying used medical carts is to go refurbished. Like used material, refurbished carts are pre-owned and cost significantly less than new models. The critical differences between the two lie in the presence of a testing and quality control process, ensuring they are fit for service in a new healthcare facility.
How Cart Manufacturers Refurbish Used Carts
The testing process used by cart manufacturers to refurbish used equipment is relatively straightforward. First, the manufacturer acquires the used carts. They may come from a customer requesting refurbishing services, or the manufacturer may buy them for later resale.
After receiving the used carts, the manufacturer inspects them, testing and checking for deficiencies, such as worn out or broken parts. Any part that doesn’t pass inspection is either repaired or replaced with a like-new equivalent, essentially restoring these parts to their factory condition. Most often, used equipment needs little more than a few repairs to return to service.
After conducting all necessary repairs and part replacements, the manufacturer tests the carts once more to pass safety and quality control testing, as they would with new products.
If the refurbished carts pass testing, they are now ready to be used. Depending on the original acquisition method, the medical industry’s demands, carts are returned to their original owners or placed on sale.
Advantages at a Lower Cost
If your medical facility’s budget is limited, buying a set of refurbished medical carts offers numerous undeniable advantages.
On average, a refurbished medical cart costs 20% to 40% less than an equivalent new model. So, going refurbished gives your nurses and caregivers access to the full capabilities of a new fleet of carts for a fraction of the brand-new cost.
Buying refurbished is the best way to manage your facility’s finances without negatively impacting patient care quality. There is no need to take chances with used, untested equipment and no risk of going over budget with the sticker price of a brand new fleet.
The trusted supplier factor
Working with an experienced medical cart supplier with refurbishing or retrofitting services allows you to benefit from their expertise and unique offerings.
For example, carts refurbished at Scott-Clark Medical can be equipped with our unique, patented technologies, such as the FMCPT System. These upgrades replace the old cart’s power system with a newer, more efficient one.
A common myth surrounding used and refurbished medical equipment is that they don’t come with a warranty as a trade-off for the lower cost. A trustworthy supplier not only offers a warranty even on refurbished equipment, but it should also be long-lasting and comprehensive.
For example, Scott-Clark Medical offers a 60-month warranty on all mobile computer carts, regardless of whether they’re new or refurbished. Should you need it, the warranty covers any damages, defects, or issues related to the cart.
If you choose to get your carts retrofitted with the FMCPT batteries, Scott-Clark Medical also offers a separate, limited warranty on the lithium-iron-phosphate batteries.
Refurbished is sustainable
A 2020 study outlined the increasing importance of sustainability in medical equipment. Using refurbished equipment and prioritizing repairs over replacement helps you reduce more than just your costs: you are also doing your part to reduce the healthcare industry’s environmental impact.
Equipment Familiarity: The Key Advantage for Your Caregivers
On top of being safe, reasonably priced, and sustainable, a less-discussed benefit of using refurbished equipment is equipment familiarity. This concept has two aspects: The reliability of a proven design and your personnel’s confidence factor.
Refurbished used equipment employs older yet more well-known and proven designs. Buying the latest, brand-new models always comes with an inherent risk; you’re taking a chance on whether the new design is adequate for healthcare use and your particular facility. Not every new cart design is guaranteed to work for your facility or your personnel.
A refurbished cart made using a proven design gives you the peace of mind that it will function adequately in a healthcare environment. Pre-owned equipment has seen actual use, and if the previous owner used the carts successfully for years before selling them, it means they functioned in real workplace conditions.
The second aspect of equipment familiarity is the confidence of your staff. Your caregivers are used to working with carts of a specific type or design; they know their way around a particular model, letting them work at maximum efficiency.
If you opt for refurbished computer carts that your personnel already know how to operate, they won’t have to deal with the risks of using a new and unproven product. This investment eliminates a possible re-learning or adapting period, during which they may waste time getting used to the new designs, potentially decreasing patient care quality.
Scott-Clark Medical, Your Trusted Medical Cart Supplier
At Scott-Clark Medical, we understand the challenges healthcare facilities of all sizes face daily. Our team has over 20 years of experience with retrofitting and refurbishing projects to meet the demands of the medical industry.
We have the expertise to equip your facility with the mobile computer carts and battery systems you need without having to invest in costly, brand-new replacements. For more information about our products and services, call us today at (512) 756-7300.