To Buy or Rent: Factors to Consider About Leasing Infusion Pumps
One lesson of the COVID-19 pandemic that healthcare organizations will never forget is the importance of having access to mission-critical devices. Keeping well-functioning infusion pumps available for patients is essential for values-based care and optimal clinical outcomes.
Issues like lean capital budgets, the biomedical equipment technician (BMET) shortage, and the increasing demand for interoperability means many hospitals and health systems must consider the benefits of renting vs. purchasing new mobile infusion devices.
Ultimately, the answer to the question "to rent or buy" lies in the specifics of the organization's need for infusion pumps. Starting with a careful evaluation of these common factors can help uncover the areas where decision-makers should focus to make a well-informed choice about leasing or buying infusion pumps for their facility.
Cost is typically the primary concern when weighing whether infusion pump rental or purchase is suitable for an individual healthcare organization. Both leasing and buying IV pumps can have advantages, depending on the organization's budgetary and clinical requirements.
IV Pump Purchasing Costs
Purchasing biomedical equipment has the same advantages as buying a home: the capital investment and payments go toward ownership of a tangible asset that has its own market value. And like homes, financing structures, depreciation, and costs associated with maintenance and repairs affect the value of those assets over time. New infusion pumps are high-ticket, high-use items subject to OEM warranty terms, potential device failure and recalls, and ordinary wear and tear.
The purchase price of new infusion pumps is only part of the total cost of ownership. During the lifespan of an infusion pump, clinical asset managers will be faced with many spending decisions, including whether to repair or replace older devices. But some steps can increase ROI on biomedical equipment, such as using high-quality replacement parts to extend device lifespan or selling used infusion pumps when it's time to retire those assets.
IV Pump Leasing Costs
Renting infusion devices doesn't require an initial, high-dollar capital expense. Like leasing a car, the cost of renting biomedical equipment boils down to the terms of the leasing contract and how rental payments are funded. Hospitals that finance medical device rental with a loan will include interest, and payments are made to the lender.
Making payments directly to the rental company costs less than financing, but this too could add up to more than purchasing the device outright. But it's possible that renting may save more by eliminating "soft" costs, such as BMET labor or consumables like batteries and cords. It may also reduce capital spending in such a way as to benefit the individual healthcare organization.
The best way to evaluate cost savings and ROI for both options is to calculate the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the specific IV pump model in question and compare this to the cost of rental (plus interest, if applicable).
Beyond costs, additional factors arise from the organization’s day-to-day requirements for infusion pumps. These fall under three main categories:
1. Maintenance and Repairs
Infusion pump rental agreements typically include device calibration, maintenance, testing, and most repairs, which eases the burden on hospital BMETs and equipment managers.
Owning biomedical devices involves warranty terms, additional service contracts, and BMET labor. However, keep in mind that the hospital has no control over the quality of service provided by the device leasing company.
Facilities can ensure their BMETs have specified training and use the highest quality parts and service partners to reduce the risk of faulty repairs on infusion pumps they own. If renting looks like the best choice, asset managers should first discuss procedures, parts vendors, subcontractors, and other maintenance topics with potential leasing partners.
2. System Integration
The 2020 ISMP Smart pump Guidelines recommend using smart infusion pumps with bi-directional EHR communication and wireless drug library updates. Many rental businesses now offer smart pumps with wireless drug library updates, but EHR interoperability is trickier with leased equipment.
Decision-makers should discuss the EHR integration capabilities in detail with potential rental partners to ensure leased assets serve the facility's interoperability requirements. The same goes for conversations with new device vendors and OEM representatives when considering a purchase.
3. Technology Upgrades
When considering upgrading to the latest IV pump models, leasing can provide an opportunity to test new infusion technology or pumps made by a different OEM. However, large rental fleets may include older models. Ask your rental partner to provide device history for older infusion devices whenever possible.
More Helpful Tips
Before deciding between renting and buying IV infusion pumps, equipment managers must ensure they have a clear picture of their organization's current capital asset profile. According to this report published by health technology management company TrimedX, on an average day, hospitals use around 45% of their own medical equipment. Even on peak days, usage peaks around 70%.
A review of current inventory and utilization may uncover equipment deployment gaps and missing devices. Facilities in this situation should consider implementing or upgrading their clinical asset tracking system to minimize the chance of losing mission-critical devices. To address backlogs, conduct a process review to improve usage across the infusion pump fleet, streamline in-house servicing workflows, and establish centralized procedures for equipment that travels between departments.
When considering purchasing or renting infusion devices, remember to:
- Carefully vet the repair practices of potential rental partners
- Review leasing agreements carefully (some leases require hospitals to pay for certain types of repairs)
- Consider warranty terms and the availability of device replacement parts
- Search for recalls and events associated with the device models in question
The biomedical equipment needs and budget of each hospital or health system are unique. The decision to rent or buy infusion pump assets will also depend on the type of conditions treated and the patient profiles served by the healthcare facility.
Elite Biomedical Solutions makes OEM quality replacement parts and provides advanced repair support for infusion pumps and telemetry systems. Elite’s outstanding services can extend the life of BD and other brands of infusion pumps. To learn more about our ISO 13485-certified, USA manufacturing process and experienced repair offerings, Contact us today.