If you own a 2D mammography system, you’ve probably seen most of your competition step up to 3D. 3D systems have been proven better at detecting cancer- especially in dense and/or fatty breasts. More insurance providers have also come aboard with increased reimbursement for 3D studies. With these factors at play, the feasibility of justifying a 3D price tag seems more doable for more facilities.
Your next question might be, “Can I find a quality 3D system on the secondary market?” 6-12 months ago, the answer might have been, "Probably not." Today, however, there is a slow, steady supply of units coming onto the secondary market. We believe that purchasing a previously-owned Hologic Dimensions 3D Tomo unit can be one of the best mammography equipment values if the seller is reputable and the buyer is well-informed.
To help those of you who may be looking for a Dimensions 3D unit, know what to look for and what to expect, we'll share four tips that we've seen buyers apply for better equipment and smoother projects.
A Turnkey Deal Is the Best Value
In most cases, the best, most reliable value on a Dimensions 3D comes in the form of a "turnkey” solution from the seller. In a turnkey agreement, the system is purchased with delivery and installation provided by the seller and, at minimum, a “first scan” guarantee. Essentially, the risk is carried by the seller until you have a complete, fully-functional system, signed off by a physicist. Based on your seller's capabilities, you may be able to reduce your risk even further by adding a parts and service agreement to your purchase.
It's also wise to put in some due diligence by requesting inspection results, QC testing print outs, photos, etc. For your reference, click here to see a list of the photos we usually request from a seller when we bring Dimensions 3D systems into inventory.
Detector Age Is More Important Than System Age
The age of a system's detector is more important than the age of the system itself. The vast majority of a digital mammo system’s value rests on the detector. The serial tag(s) on the bottom side of the detector will tell which year the detector was made. This isn't a definitive indicator of remaining detector life but, in general, newer detectors have seen less use and will have more scanning life left in them. If your system is under a service agreement that includes detector coverage, the detector age may be less important to you, as your service provider will be responsible for replacing it if/when failure happens.
Know the Market
Expect to pay more when more value is provided by the seller. Value often comes in the form of assuming more risk over the course of the project. If you were purchasing a Hologic Dimensions 3D Tomo unit “as is” (assuming all risk and providing all your own logistics) you could expect to pay between $175,000 - $225,000 for the equipment, depending on the age of the system and detector. Logistics costs can vary, depending on what is needed (inspection, de-installation, crating, transport, installation), but a solid ballpark figure for budgeting purposes is $15,000 - $25,000. A comprehensive parts/service warranty will run $40,000 - $50,000 annually and generally require a multi-year commitment. Again, ideally, you will work with a seller who can offer a turnkey package and deliver, install, provide applications training, and cover an on-going service agreement. This allows you to step into the 3D world with the highest value and the lowest risk.
Know Who Will Manage the Project
Make sure you and your seller have a clear, mutual understanding of who will be doing what, and by when. A seller with strong project management services will ensure that the unit is properly inspected, transported, and installed into a room that is properly configured (size, power, HVAC, network drops, etc.). A seller who is able to go above and beyond by providing applications training and an ongoing service agreement will limit your risk, add great value, and take many concerns off your plate.
When you want to set your facility up with a reliable, quality mammo system, a used Hologic Dimensions 3D Tomo unit can be a great pick. On top of that, if you do your homework and work with a reputable provider, the overall value can be very high. There are certainly opportunities out there that will allow you to spend less, but many of them require you to take on more risk and sacrifice ongoing support and peace of mind.
If you're ready to take a closer look at a Hologic Dimensions 3D or another digital mammography system, we're ready to assist. Click on the button below to let us more about your project and to get an estimate.
Written by Jason Block
Jason Block is the Product Manager for Women’s Health Equipment at Block Imaging. Helping to match customer’s needs with equipment solutions is energizing for him. When Jason is not working, he enjoys coaching his kids’ sports, working out, and playing handball.