Many biomedical departments claim that they can save their hospital money by servicing devices at a lower cost than the manufacturer. From an intuitive perspective, this is probably true. If we simply compare a vendor’s hourly charges for field service against the hourly rate of an in-house BMET, it appears that significant savings can be achieved by performing all services in-house.
The difficulty I have with this type of comparison is that when we attempt to determine our in-house costs vs. vendor charges we may not be making apples to apples comparisons. For example a vendor’s service charges must cover every cost associated with keeping service personnel in the field. That includes all overhead, training, vehicle, inventory carrying costs and etc., plus a profit for the company. If we are to make a direct comparison, we must treat the BMET costs similarly, and include all of the factors associated with the BMET’s overhead costs. For example; when you calculate your hourly costs, do you include the BMET’s benefit package which can easily be an additional 20-30 percent? Is the technicians call pay included in your calculations? Also what are the costs of specialized service training and associated travel and hotel expenses? How many technicians must you train in order to assure 24X7 support?
Here are some of the factors that might be included in any cost comparison:
I am certain that there may be many costs that I have not identified. My point is however that when we make claims based on intuitive thought we risk our credibility and we appear to be making emotional decisions rather than true business decisions. As technically trained personnel, our decisions should always be based on data and that our data should be businesslike and thorough.
It is not enough to simply claim that you save your money for your hospital. You must prove that you fully understand your costs and you must demonstrate that you are capable of providing the same high quality service as the equipment vendor.
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