If you own a 2D mammography system, you’ve probably seen many of your competitors step up to 3D mammography. 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 than in the past.
Your next question might be, “Can I find a quality 3D system on the secondary market?” 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 and parts availability has increased. As a result, third-party parts and service providers are now able to support extended service agreements.
We believe that purchasing a pre-owned Hologic DImensions 3D Tomo unit can make tremendous cents (pun intended) 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, lowest risk, most reliable value on a Dimensions 3D comes in the form of purchasing a system with a "turnkey” solution. A turnkey purchase includes transport, installation, and warranty coverage. When you purchase this kind of package, you can rest easy knowing that you have bumper-to-bumper protection on your system. There may be some price tag appeal in trying to do it all yourself, but if anything happens, all the risk falls to you and your facility.
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 thoroughly inspected, professionally de-installed, the gantry is transported by “air ride” truck, the detector is carefully packed and shipped in a specialized clam-shell detector box, the system is re-installed in a “ready” room (evaluated for size, power, network drops, HVAC, etc.), applications training is scheduled, 2579 paperwork is properly completed, and there is a coordinated hand-off to a service team. The seamless communication a project manager provides is invaluable in ensuring a project goes off without a hitch.
Read the Small Print in Your Service Agreement
The last thing you want to figure out AFTER you sign on the dotted line for the 3D mammography deal of the century is that there are significant gaps in your service plan. To prevent this, take care to ensure your service agreement includes preventative maintenance, comprehensive labor coverage (including travel expenses), and all parts- especially glassware (X-ray tube) and detector coverage. You won't want to be stuck with the replacement bill for the digital detector, which could set you back 50-75k. By measuring twice and cutting once, you will make sure your asset is properly protected.
Know the Market
It goes without saying that you can expect to pay more when more value is provided by the seller. For a turnkey project, managed from start to finish, expect to pay between 200-225k, which includes your first year of service. Accessories such as CAD, physician’s workstations, etc. will generally be quoted separately. A comprehensive parts/service warranty should run $40,000 - $45,000 annually, depending on the length of the commitment. Your service provider may also have a minimum agreement length requirement.
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 know more about your project and to get an estimate.