Tips for entering the PET and SPECT marketplace

Tips for entering the PET and SPECT marketplace

June 06, 2018
Molecular Imaging
From the June 2018 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
Today’s radiology department is an ever-changing environment. Given the uncertainty in the future direction of healthcare, hospitals have to make their own way and hope for the best. Many hospitals across the country are tightening budgets as reimbursement declines, trying to squeeze every last bit of usage from their legacy nuclear medicine equipment, be it a SPECT/SPECT CT system or a PET/CT system.

As facilities plan to replace their legacy SPECT systems, they are considering a SPECT CT system in order to stay competitive with the imaging center or hospital down the street. The traditional SPECT systems most often considered are variable-angle, dual-head systems, which offer the versatility to perform a wide variety of exams. We also see some interest in dedicated cardiac systems, mostly from doctors’ offices and cardiac hospitals.

The PET/CT market has changed drastically. Just as with the rest of radiology, PET/CT is moving to full-field digital. Hospitals want to replace their legacy PET/CT systems with either a digital or digital-ready PET/CT. This has encouraged vendors to bring their systems up to digital – not only to help with demand but to be competitive in this market.

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Cris Bennett, R.T.(R)(MR)
Many of the facilities weighing the purchase of digital systems are looking into it for the long haul. They expect to retain their systems for at least ten years, and they believe that the digital systems will get them there.

With digital-ready systems, hospitals can choose to upgrade to full-field digital at a later date to take advantage of the technology without having to budget such a large capital purchase on the front end. This spreads out available capital funds over time, relieving pressure on budgets and allowing for other important purchases in the department.

When purchasing either SPECT or PET systems, facilities expect the OEM to include workstations as part of the system quote. We are not seeing third-party workstations considered during the configuration or purchasing process.

When considering vendors and PET/CT systems, facilities need to closely examine FDA recalls, reading and understanding each recall. Get a written statement of the status and resolution actions taken by the vendor. Use recalls as leverage in your negotiations. Check out the ratings of the system. Make sure the vendor has the proper contact point for further recalls. Finally, always negotiate uptime guarantees.

Every system purchase should be accompanied by a point-of-sale service contract. The best time to purchase service is at the time of the capital purchase. Historically, purchasing service when the warranty has expired is a lot more costly. Many vendors offer American College of Radiology (ACR) support packages, education, software upgrades, and support. Make sure the service support level and time period covered are in line with the facility’s departmental needs.

About the author: Cris Bennett, R.T.(R)(MR), Clinical Analyst, MD Buyline.

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