Medical Devices

Here Is Everything You Need To Know To Purchase A New MRI Machine

3 Mins read


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an imaging technique used by medical facilities around the world to get an inside look into the anatomy of the body and analyze physiological processes. The imaging power of a specific machine is measured with a magnetic field strength unit called a Tesla. Machines are classified as low or high-field MRI based on their strength. Along with factors like gradient strength, slew rate, the number of imaging channels, and coil type, a machine’s strength influences the price of a MRI machine.

Today, the United States has the largest number of MRI machines in relation to its population, and 20% of them are over 10 years old. When you consider that the average new MRI machine has a useful life of 7 to 12 years, and a five-year present value of 70-75%, it is likely that you will be searching for a new MRI machine in the near future. To make sure that you find exactly what you need without incurring a high MRI machine cost, we have listed everything you need to know and consider before you make a purchase.

1) Have You Considered the Price for a New MRI Machine?

Like other imaging devices in the healthcare industry, MRI machines are expensive. In fact, average prices for a new 1.5T MRI machine range between $1,100,000 and $1,500,000, and fall between $1,600,000 and $2,200,000 for a new 3.0T MRI machine. Apart from this MRI machine cost, there are also additional expenses like construction (if there is no MRI shielding in the proposed location), installation, training, energy consumption, transportation (if a mobile MRI machine is being used), and maintenance costs.

There are other options to consider before purchasing a new MRI machine. Buying a used or refurbished machine will lead to significant savings. The price of previously owned units will vary based on a number of factors including age, level of refurbishment, options, and availability. However, you can configure a refurbished machine so it matches your facilities clinical needs. A used 1.5T MRI machine will cost between $400,000 and $900,000, and a 3.0T will be between $900,000 and $1,400,000.

2) Do You Need a Closed or Open MRI Machine?

Closed MRI machines are the most common and recognizable machines in facilities. These machines are in the shape of a donut and have a strong magnetic field. Open MRI machines, on the other hand, are open on three sides and use a magnet top and bottom.

As you begin your search, consider your need for a closed or open MRI machine. Open MRI machines decrease the risk of claustrophobia and panic attacks, and furthermore allow patients of all shapes and sizes to be scanned. However, the open structure can limit the ability to acquire some types of exams. Additionally, image quality will not be as sharp. Open scanners also require extended scan times that lead to decreased patient throughput.

3) What Diagnostic Capabilities Does Your Facility Need?

Each MRI machine is capable of performing various diagnostic exams. To deliver clinical excellence and expand current capabilities, determine the necessary types of scans and studies. Expanding your facilities imaging capabilities by acquiring a machine that can complete more types of exams opens the door for growth by offering a new diagnostic service, expanding your imaging portfolio, and increase your bottom line revenue.

4) Have You Considered MRI Machines with Upgrade Potential?

A MRI upgrade means upgrading the software to a more capable system without having to swap out the entire system. The R&F cabinet, gradient cabinet, system cabinet, coil, and channels can be upgradable. Software upgrades can happen in as little as 7 days. compared to a rip and replace, which can take over month to finish construction. Software upgrades can lead to faster throughput, the ability to perform a wide array of procedures, increased patient satisfaction, and ultimately more revenue for your facility.

5) Have You Asked Your Purchasing Department for Help?

Finally, you should always ask your purchasing department to do an RFI (request for information) from MRI equipment vendors that includes all of the hardware, software, advanced applications, and coils you need. Based on vendor responses, you should then request an RFP (request for pricing) document that will help you develop a short list of vendors, which will help you get the best MRI machine price available.

6) Have You Included Your Facilities Department for Help?

Include your facilities management team before you make your final decision. Some MR scanners are more difficult to site than others. Shipping and rigging of the system need to be negotiated ahead of time and will be included in the system purchase. In addition, if you choose a 3T scanner, the planned location you choose may be restricted because of the system weight.

Final Thoughts

The use of MRI machines for imaging purposes has been growing in recent years. In fact, over 30 million MRI scans are performed worldwide every year. If you find that your current machine needs an upgrade, or if you are considering buying your first MRI machine, keep in mind everything we covered today before you make the purchase:

1. Have you considered the price for a new MRI machine?
2. Do you need a closed or open MRI machine?
3. What diagnostic capabilities are needed for the MRI machine?
4. Have you considered MRI machines with upgrade potential?
5. Have you asked your purchasing department for help?
6. Have you included your facilities department in your planning?

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About author
Mike Myers is the VP of Healthcare at Meridian Leasing, an equipment leasing company based in Deerfield, IL. With more than 35 years of experience in the healthcare and finance industries, Mike excels at building medical equipment strategies that meet the clinical and financial needs of their clients.
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