Diagnostic Imaging Solutions Banner

Specializing In Digital Radiography Systems




Med Industry Blog


September 16, 2011

I recently received an email from a physician in India. He had been residing in the United Kingdom for several years and had returned to his home land. He contacted me because he was interested in developing a new business of selling and supporting pre-owned diagnostic imaging systems to facilities throughout India. His email included details of how he intended to develop this business in a rather lengthy dissertation and he wanted me to send him a catalog with pricing of the products we offer. Frankly I was amused at his misunderstanding of that market, the products and the competition. My point is that international markets are difficult to comprehend even if you reside in the market you are selling to when you are offering imported products. I introduced him to several Indian associates and provided some incite, but better yet, I developed a friendship with a person I have never met or have spoken with previously.

The world healthcare markets are developing rapidly and many systems are being imported from the United States, Australia, Europe and Japan by countries in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Many developing countries in Africa are extremely interested in acquiring pre-owned x-ray, CT and MRI systems. Many of the organizations which require systems have very limited budgets and therefore rely on older systems from the US. Although they prefer to have newer systems, their budgets dictate 10 years old or older systems. Single slice CTs, low frequency x-ray systems and low strength MRIs are common.

There are many difficulties encountered when dealing with international transactions. The most obvious is communications. Although most buyers are able to communicate in English, often their English is rather difficult to understand clearly. This is not a criticism, it is just not their first language. The next hurdle to overcome is getting the prospect to communicate the required information. Often we get inquires requesting a price for a CT. This is like asking for a price of a car. Without knowing the preferred make, model, features, year and budget it's impossible to provide pricing. The most important information is the budget, because regardless of what is preferred, only what is affordable can be considered. However, many international buyers believe that if they share what they are willing to pay, the price will be raised to match that amount and they will not be offered the lowest price available. They don't realize that weeks could be spent discussing details and availability of specific systems only to find out once everything has been agreed to that the system agreed upon is not within their budget. It is much easier to first establish the budget and then back into the most appropriate solution.

Like most buyers, international buyers are price sensitive. They believe that by identifying every available system reseller and pitting resellers against each other to achieve the very lowest price, that they will successfully purchase at bargain basement prices. Often they do, however more often, they purchase systems in very poor condition because there is a reason for the low price - poor condition. Although without question, price must be a prime factor in making the purchase, there also must be major consideration for the condition of the equipment. Of course cheap is good, but if the system is not functional or has limited features or requires extensive ongoing support in the long run, it's not really cheap.

Once a sale has been consummated, other difficulties begin. First payment terms. Payments must be received in advance by electronic bank wire transfer. Credit cards, company checks, letters of credit are no longer safe means to obtain payment. Larger transactions will often be structured with a deposit payment with the order and the balance payment prior to the system shipping. Payment terms are relatively straight forward, shipping is another issue. The first step is to crate the equipment to provide maximum protection, being careful to have enough cushioning within the crate to prevent the objects from moving and/or being raddled around and creating damage. The equipment must be weighted and transportation arranged. The key to a smooth shipment is understanding the required documentation to export from the US and the correct documentation so the shipment will be allowed to be imported to the country of delivery. Generally, most shipments are allowed to leave the US if a commercial invoice and packing list is provided by the shipper. Import customs is usually not as easy. Documents of origin, engineering certificates, shipping declaration, safety documents and authentication certificates notarized by the country of import's Consulate in the US are just some of the documents that may be required.

International sales appears to be complicated and difficult, and many believe it's not worth the effort. However, as the US dollar continues to lose value, US products become more attractive to international buyers, creating demand for pre-owned diagnostic imaging systems and many other products. The world is an extremely large market and offering products to this market may have become one of the most important factors in increasing business and reducing the US trade deficit.

If you have concerns or questions about any of the issues discussed, don't hesitate contacting me, as we are involved with these projects continually.

Charles J Patti, President/CEO
NCD Medical Corporation

Add A Comment

Med Industry Blog

Recent Postings

Nov 8, 2016
"Affordable" Care Act - Isn't. How will it effect the Healthcare Industry

The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) was passed in March of 2010 contrary to the wishes of the general population. The majority of people were not in favor of this program but the Democratic Congress and President Obama found away to get it passed.

Read Full Article

May 5, 2016

The transition away from x-ray film and Computer Radiography (CR) to Digital Radiography (DR) is advancing rapidly. There are a number of reasons DR is quickly becoming the x-ray digital output of choice.

Read Full Article

March 31, 2014
How To Plan For Diagnostic Imaging Expansion With Healthcare Programs Being Uncertain

Medical facilities are struggling to determine how to accommodate the uncertainty surrounding our current healthcare dilemma. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was established to increase the number of people who would be insured to receive healthcare benefits, by as many as 30 million people, thereby increasing demand for diagnostic imaging services.

Read Full Article

October 9, 2013
Which C-Arm Should I Buy?

Today you can be faced with many choices when deciding to purchase a mobile c-arm. Although most are appropriate for the majority of procedures, some may be particular good for the procedures you perform. Of course, the first consideration must be financial.

Read Full Article

February 8, 2013
DR Digital X-Ray Prices Finally Low Enough To Compete With CR

Direct Digital Radiography (DR) traditionally have been priced so high that only large medical facilities could afford to install them. The alternative for digital x-ray output has been Computer Radiography (CR).

Read Full Article

Nov. 23, 2012
Demand For Diagnostic Imaging Systems Growing Rapidly In Africa, The Middle East And Eastern Europe - Will The Systems Be Purchased?

The demand for medical facilities and related diagnostic imaging systems is growing at a tremendous rate. There is a strong need for x-ray and fluoroscopic systems as well as CT, MRI and ultrasound systems.

Read Full Article

Aug. 8, 2012

I recently received an email from a physician in India. He had been residing in the United Kingdom for several years and had returned to his home land. He contacted me because he was interested in developing a new business of selling and supporting pre-owned diagnostic imaging systems to facilities throughout India.

Read Full Article

How To Safely Buy Pre-Owned Medical Systems
August 8, 2011

Very often there is a need to acquire additional capability in our health care facilities but there isn't always the funds to purchase a new, full-functioned, state of the art, diagnostic imaging system. Therefore, a decision must be made to determine if the additional services can be shifted to another facility or if it is critical or at least necessary to remain at your facility. The decision usually comes back that it needs to remain and options to accommodate it must be considered.

Read Full Article
As Featured On EzineArticles
July 17, 2011
Digital Radiography - Electronic X-Ray - When, Why and How?

It seems like we have crossed the healthcare frontier and the only thing left to conquer is analog or film based x-ray systems. MRI's, CT's, Ultrasound, PET, Bone Densitometry, Mammography and most diagnostic imaging systems output digital data, that is except for Radiography and Fluoroscopy. Most existing systems are still analog and put out either x-ray film and/or analog video. Although most mobile C-arms are now being produced with digital output capability, most existing C-arms, X-ray systems and R/F systems have not yet been upgraded. When you consider that today there are more x-ray studies done than any other modality study, we should concede, we are way overdue in moving to electronic Rad and Fluoro. These upgrades should probably be initiated before all others at medical facilities today.

Read Full Article
How To Get The Most From Your Radiology Dollar
June 3, 2011

The decisions are getting harder when we try and determine what our facility should invest in to provide the best patient care. 256 slice CTs, 3.0T MRIs, Digital Mammography, PACS Upgrade, EHR and so on....? We first try and determine our available budget or we are asked to submit a request for funds based upon current and future requirements, local competition and/or physician requirements. It is now necessary to take a long hard look at what is currently being utilized and determine how best to enhance capabilities. You probably begin to bring in vendors to discuss the capabilities of their new systems, as well as potential costs. If you are like many administrators, you immediately get a large blast of reality $$$$$$$. You instantly know that you will be limited to one purchase or less and it's possible funding won't be available for several years. If you are experiencing growth, patient count is increasing, test procedures are on the increase, and avaliable system time is becoming harder and harder to come by, then you know you will need to upgrade Radiology capacity.

Read Full Article