We're relatively certain that if you own/operate an MRI (or a balloon stand, for that matter) you are well aware that there is a helium shortage. The main providers of helium (Praxair and AirProducts) have limited supplies and prices have gone up.
But, you're under a service agreement that covers helium for your MRI so you have nothing to worry about, right? Think again! Even though you are still under a service agreement there are still a few things that you need to be aware of.
You don't need an MBA from Wharton School of Business to realize that high demand and limited supply leads to increased prices. In today's market, Independent Service Organizations (ISOs) are paying in the range of $15-$19 per liter compared to $6-$9 just one year ago. On average, most MRI scanners require approximately 2,000 liters per year. That brings the average price of helium to $34,000 per year that an ISO needs to account for in their pricing!
As long as the shortage continues, your annual service costs will likely be higher than they have been in the past. But, in spite of the dramatic increase in helium costs, there is still some good news: ISOs will continue to be very competitive in their pricing. After all, the OEMs aren't immune to the shortage.
There will also be higher demand for more efficient magnets. The helium price increase may be the perfect incentive for considering a system upgrade. A low boil-off magnet and an ISO service contract could be a winning combination to save on both coolant and standard OEM service costs.
In any case, we're happy to answer your questions and start a conversation that can make new opportunities out of the current helium challenges. Contact us to learn more about MRI equipment, the helium shortage, and service contract options.