How to figure out what C-Arm I can afford, C-Arm ROI

C-Arm Buyer’s Guide

Recently I bought a paint sprayer and I wanted to spend about $100 on it.  I know very little about paint sprayers.  Yet, I had a magic number of $100 in my head and I ended up finding one for $109.  Maybe I was lucky, or maybe I have amazing intuition.  Or maybe, it’s because I bought a $50 paint sprayer 5~6 years ago which was really bad (leaked everywhere), and thought maybe if I double that number, I’ll get a functional paint sprayer…  We all try to anticipate how much things cost, mostly based on our past experience & buying similar items in the past.  Often, based on budget and financial situation, we arrive at a specific number we think should be the value, aka, what we can afford.

When doctors or buyers are shopping for C-Arm, very often they have a number in mind as well.  Sometimes, that number doesn’t always align with availability & affordability.  We all love bargains and buying something at a low price.  But when shopping for equipment that you need to rely on every single day, it’s important to consider the value, age of the system & evaluate your affordability based on your need, rather than the most affordable selection you can get.

Considering profitability and Return on Investment, ROI, we can determine what should be your ‘affordability’.  And calculating ROI is a lot easier than you might think.  And a seasoned C-Arm rep can typically help you with this process.  Here’s a summarized process:

  1. Figure out CPT codes & average reimbursement for the procedures you’ll be doing
  2. You multiply that by how many cases you are expected to do a month
  3. Then you divide that in half
  4. The number you get in #3 above is roughly your imaging equipment budget

Now, this is an extremely simplified way of calculating things and it doesn’t factor in things like copay or cash payments &, etc.  But it gives you a general idea of what you can expect when thinking of C-Arm purely as a tool designed to help you bring in revenue.  And keep in mind, most practice will have more cases as time passes compared to initial estimates.

Wait a min, this talks about monthly number, not how much C-Arm cost?

That is correct.  You should definitely consider thinking of your C-Arm cost in terms of the monthly cost, not the purchase price.  C-Arm is not something you buy and keep it on the shelf.  It’s the primary imaging system for your OR, therefore, your ‘budget’ should include cost for maintenance and repair along the way.  We often refer to this as the true cost of ownership.  This cost can include the cost of a service contract or potential repair cost that you could expect from a system.

Assuming you’re financing the C-Arm, monthly payment for the system + service contract or expected repair cost = Your True Cost of Ownership.

If purchasing a Brand New system, you can expect minimal repairs within the first 5+ years if any, while a refurbished system, depends on age, you can expect 2~3 years of good service. [Why you need Brand New C-Arm]  Once you do the math, the result can often surprise you.  The number you had in your mind for your budget may not represent your business need after all.  (or maybe it does…)

If you were looking for a price guideline, here’s the updated 2021 C-Arm price guideline.

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