Make sure new equipment pays off


Before this doctor bought a single machine, he did his homework. The first thing he considered: cost-effectiveness.

One digital radiography machine and three fully stocked laboratories later, Dr. Adam Cohen is loving the equipment he purchased for his three Florida hospitals. But before he bought a single machine, he did his homework. The first thing he considered: cost-effectiveness.

"When I was deciding which lab system to buy, I looked at what I was currently paying in equipment costs compared to what I'd be spending with the new lab," Dr. Cohen said. "I considered the up-front costs as well as what it would cost to run certain diagnostics." He discovered that most new lab equipment carried a similar price tag, but the costs associated with running different tests varied.

Equipment Questionnaire

Dr. Cohen could've simply chosen the system that saved him the most money. But instead, he carefully weighed factors that wouldn't necessarily show up in his budget columns. He ended up choosing the equipment that allowed him to perform the most complete testing and came with a level of company support he was comfortable with.

Figuring out what matters to you, both in terms of finances and professional values, is key to making smart equipment purchases. First and foremost, you must ensure that the new equipment will break even financially. Ideally, it should help you increase profits.

Dr. Cohen's new digital radiography machine certainly boosted his bottom line. The machine allowed his team members at Southgate Animal Hospital in Sarasota, Fla., to take 60 percent more radiographs. As a result, he didn't need to raise fees to see an increase in profits.

"The technicians' labor time has been cut drastically," Dr. Cohen says, "so it's actually cheaper for me to run a radiograph now. Plus, clients are amazed by the technology and realize I'm a progressive doctor."

Client satisfaction is another intangible Dr. Cohen considered. He knew the new machine would not only improve the quality of care he provided, it would also make an excellent client education tool. The digital radiographs allow him to show clients why their pets need certain care. He and his team members are also creating a brochure to explain the upgraded laboratories in his hospitals.

So what's the bottom line? It's that new equipment isn't just about the bottom line. There are a host of intangibles you must ask yourself about. The best part: There are no right or wrong answers. You just have to decide what works for you and choose the machine that has it all.

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