Missing resources for high-tech medicine can be an emotive topic, but it is here to stay. No hospital or practicing doctor can do without it – the diagnostic possibilities offered by MRI, for example, are undisputed and indispensable. And each new generation of equipment brings greater precision, reliability, and efficiency while reducing the adverse impact on patients.
The benefits are not in doubt – the problem is the runaway costs. And the fact that a large chunk of the funding for MRI and other equipment is spent right at the start of the asset’s lifetime. Procuring and funding assets with acquisition costs that run into six or seven figures can be a challenge even for large organizations.
Hospital managers have a dilemma: the market for medical treatments is regulated and the prices have been standardized. This creates a high level of complexity in the profitability calculation. Will it be possible to carry out subsidized treatments, more expensive treatments, and more treatments overall? Will there be a return on the investment within a reasonable period? Is it in line with the hospital’s budget? And what running and servicing costs will the equipment incur? How can the expectations of medical management on a high-value equipment be satisfied without overstretching the budget?
This calls for innovative thinking. In industry, funding based on price per unit is common. So why not pay-per-patient or pay-per-procedure? Under this model, the overall cost of procuring and using the medical equipment is broken down by individual case of treatment. This makes it much easier to determine whether using the equipment is economical or not.
Affordability no longer needs to be the main consideration when using high-tech medical equipment. Instead, the focus is on how the equipment can benefit the patient and the hospital.