Innovation in the field of medical imaging technology continues to bring solutions and services to the market that provide new tools for healthcare professionals to expand the breadth and capabilities of healthcare systems.
This increases the possible efficiency gains to be achieved by examining patients faster, enabling improved image collection and quality, increasing patient comfort, supporting decision making, all of which allow improved patient throughput.
Every year, advances in engineering provide incremental and occasionally major breakthroughs which are capable of revolutionizing image capture and quality.
These gains deliver better accuracy, specificity and patient benefits that extend the utility of medical imaging equipment.
Clearly, the age of electro-medical equipment within a healthcare system can be considered a significant factor in attaining these benefits.
Unsurprisingly, as technology ages it becomes less suited to, and often incapable of, performing at the levels demanded by the increasing pressures afforded by the cumulative growth in patient throughput, and the requirements of progressive medical environments.
Indeed, the growth in healthcare demand and progression of clinical expectation fuels investment in medical technology R&D focused on providing clinicians with unprecedented visual and functional information on their patients, and faster more intelligent diagnostic imaging systems that support decision making, reduce complexity, and increase productivity.
Since advances in technology are often incremental, the industry offers upgrades that can help extend the life of equipment over a defined period of time. However, as technologies become obsolete a variety of technical incompatibilities e.g., in equipment control, and the redesign of components, renders continued updating of equipment uneconomical, if not impossible.
Older equipment also involves a higher risk of failures or breakdowns. This may endanger the health and safety of patients and medical staff, and could also lead to considerable delays for essential medical interventions while the equipment is out of service.
Although this situation can partially be avoided through timely and regular maintenance, the operating cost of such equipment tends to be higher than that of up-to-date electro-medical equipment, leading to higher net costs for the provision of similar medical services using older equipment.
What is the expected lifetime of an MRI system?
Each owner will have different needs for their MRI and setting which leads to variability in asset retention. However, there are some trends that help when asking yourself if you are in the “window” of a replacement.
On average, 50% of the installed MRI base will be replaced within 11 years of their installation with an average replacement cycle of 11.5 years, and ranging from three to 22+ years. The general feeling is that one out of every five MRI systems is older than 10 years.
While manufacturers release upgrades that can help extend the life of equipment over a designated period of time, only you can determine if that is suitable for your practice environment, including quality and quantity demands.