How much does medical equipment downtime cost hospitals?

Author: 
Puneet Pandit
Thursday, August 31, 2017

The increasing demand for better diagnostics is putting pressure on hospitals to invest in high-end medical imaging equipment such as ultrasound and X-Ray devices, computerized tomography (CT) scanners, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, and positron emission tomography (PET) scanners. These machines can range from several hundred thousand to a few million dollars each.

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While they significantly improve a hospital’s diagnostic capabilities and patient offerings, they also bring a different challenge: maximizing the life and the uptime of these expensive equipment, as across the world, there is a significant push to reduce the cost of providing healthcare. For ex: In the US, there is a push to move from a service-based payment to a value-based payment and thus emphasising doing more with less. Also, Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates for imaging procedures have been cut along with other procedures and services to reduce the cost of health care, adding even more pressure on the hospitals to run a tight ship. These trends are not just in US, but impacting healthcare across the world. 

To understand the cost of downtime, let’s look at the example of one of the most common Imaging equipment, MRI. According to a research, on an average, an MRI machine can be down for 30 – 60 hours a year.  At an average cost of 2,000 USD per scan in the US and one hour per scan, hospitals can easily lose between 60,000 to 120,000 USD per year just on a single MRI machine. 

Other costs to consider

Aside from the projected loss of revenue or reimbursements, there are other short-term and long-term costs caused by medical equipment downtime.

For instance, when equipment fails, hospitals continue to shoulder the costs of idle staff and technicians in charge of that piece of equipment. Furthermore, diagnosis and patient care are delayed, not only adding to the short-term staff costs, but also potentially damaging a hospital’s reputation and hurting its long-term profitability. According to a report by Deloitte, higher patient experience ratings are associated with higher hospital profitability, with hospitals garnering excellent patient ratings having a net margin of 4.7% compared to only 1.8% for hospitals with low patient ratings. 

Reduce the likelihood of medical equipment downtime

Glassbeam helps hospitals and medical institutions reduce the likelihood of medical equipment downtime with its Big Data Platform and Machine Log Analytics for healthcare providers. Glassbeam’s platform enables medical institutions to ingest, parse, and analyze complex machine data logs of usage and performance. This empowers them to analyze the condition of their high-value medical equipment such as MRI and CT scan machines in real-time and perform predictive maintenance, effectively extending their service lives. 

With rapid, streamlined data transformation capabilities, Glassbeam helps medical institutions start harnessing insights from machine log data today and see significant improvements in their revenues and operating income. Click here to learn more about Glassbeam’s solution for healthcare providers.