The global healthcare sector is undergoing dramatic shifts as it has to contend with the twin challenges of shrinking budgets and increased expectations on service quality. What’s more, the demand for health services is increasing due to growing populations, chronic diseases, evolving regulations and empowered customers.
 
A report by Deloitte shows a few interesting statistics that should give an idea of the challenges faced by the healthcare industry.

  • Rapid urbanization and a sedentary lifestyle are fueling an increase in chronic diseases. For example, the number of people around the world with diabetes is expected to increase from 415 million in 2017 to 642 million by 2040.
  • In 2017, 50 million people suffered from dementia and this is likely to double every 20 years.
  • Increased life expectancy will bring the number of people aged 65 years to 656 million by 2021. This accounts for 11.5% of the total population.
  • Budgets are shrinking too. Across the country, large hospitals are looking for ways to cut millions of dollars in costs as they deal with tightening reimbursements from private and government insurers and an aging population with chronic, more complex diseases.  

These statistics clearly show the financial pressure of the healthcare industry, as they have to offer better care quality with reduced funding.
 
Medical equipment such as medical imaging machines, operating room equipment, endoscopy equipment and surgical devices are extremely important to provide good quality care. Many of these devices are unique and expensive. To cope with these challenges, many healthcare providers are turning to the used medical equipment market.

 

Key factors for the growth of used medical equipment market

Growing demand

There is a growing demand for used medical equipment, especially with community hospitals and developing countries, because of financial constraints and the need to provide quality healthcare to a large population. Also, increased privatization in the healthcare industry has put the healthcare costs on a few companies that have limited access to funds. As a result, there is a greater demand for used medical equipment than ever before.

 

Establishment of refurbishing facilities

Leading makers of medical equipment such as GE Healthcare, Philips and Siemens are establishing refurbishment facilities in both developing and developed markets, and this adds to the demand for used medical equipment.

 

Quality of used medical equipment

Many countries establish stringent regulations on the quality of used medical equipment. For example, Global DITTA , the unified global voice that represents more than 600 medical technology manufacturers, defines refurbishment as "a systematic process that ensures safety and effectiveness of the medical equipment without significantly changing the equipment's or system's performance, safety specifications, and/or changing intended use as in its original registration." This is why used medical equipment tends to be of good quality, thereby making it ideal for use in healthcare facilities.

 

Changing perceptions

In the past, the used medical equipment industry suffered because of the perception that “new is always better.” Only the last two decades have seen a change in perception and, today, buyers understand that used equipment is as good as a new one while, at the same time, costing 20% to 60% less than an unused equipment.

 

Shift from public to private

Half a century ago, healthcare was completely run by governments. They had stringent rules and a long process for procuring used equipment, so it was not a practical idea to buy this equipment. Over the last few decades, governments have privatized the healthcare sector and this has led to the emergence of private players who do not have to follow such stringent and impractical rules while buying used medical equipment. This shift from public to private has played out well for the used medical equipment industry.

 

Good quality

Many pieces of medical equipment tend to be in good condition for a long time because many healthcare providers have biomedical equipment technicians to repair and maintain their equipment. As a result, there's a lot of life left in this equipment even after they are sold by the first buyers.

 

Reduced electronic and toxic waste

Many environmentally-conscious companies are opting for refurbished equipment as it reduces electronic waste. In addition, it also saves on the resources needed for making new equipment.
 
All these factors have helped the used medical equipment industry to grow by leaps and bounds over the last couple of decades.

 

Recommended manufacturers

Now that you understand the benefits and safety of used medical equipment, let's look at some top manufacturers whose products we recommend and often carry.

 

Stryker

Stryker is one of the major players in the electric bed market. The average cost for a new electric bed is $15,627 and ICU beds cost anywhere between $25,000 to $30,000.
 
For those that can't afford this steep price, used beds are a good alternative.  According to ECRI, most of the bed purchases it tracked in a particular month were replacement orders where old beds were traded for new ones. Typically, a bed frame lasts for 10 to 15 years, though specific components may be replaced. But the cost of these used beds is only a fraction of what a new ones costs, thereby making them more affordable.

 

Philips, GE Healthcare

Philips and GE Healthcare have made rapid strides in the world of digital radiography and in turn, this has led to an increase in X-ray medical imaging.
 
Both these companies are continuing their advanced research to bring out cutting-edge equipment that can benefit everyone. However, the cost is prohibitive for many small and mid-size healthcare providers, so used equipment from the same manufacturers is a good alternative.

 

Karl Storz

Operating room equipment was valued at almost $2.3 billion in 2017 and major drivers of this growth include video and integrated equipment.
 
Karl Storz is the second leading competitor in this market segment and they have introduced a wide range of new and up-to-date products. They are also expected to release a 4K camera in the near future and this could greatly add value to its products.

 

Conclusion

To conclude, the used medical equipment industry is maturing and is becoming a viable alternative for healthcare companies with limited budgets.

 

ExcessBid is a reseller of used electronics and surplus equipment. We specialize in the reverse logistics of quality new, in box, recycled, as is, refurbished, overstock, excess, surplus, liquidation, retail returns, IT and medical merchandise.

We strive to provide the best surplus electronic equipment—all the while prioritizing reuse over recycling and keeping as many old electronics out of landfills as possible. To learn more about us, call our sales team at (510) 226-0600 or email us at info@excessbid.com.