Selecting a medical equipment provider is a big decision for any medical practice. Doctors offices and hospitals rely on equipment to provide patients with the services they need, and they obtain their equipment from medical equipment providers. If you run or manage a medical practice that needs an equipment supplier, here are some questions you can ask suppliers to find the best one for your practice.
Where is Your Warehouse Located?
The ideal medical equipment supplier will keep their inventory in a warehouse that's in your part of the country. Their warehouse might not be right next to your office, or even in the same town. They should, however, have a warehouse in your state or a neighboring on. For example, their warehouse shouldn't be in California if your practice is on the East Coast.
Finding a supplier that has a warehouse in the same region of the country as your practice has two benefits. First, shipping times should be shorter because equipment won't have to be sent as far. Second, shipping costs may be lower for the same reason. It costs more to send a package across the country than it does to send the same package to a neighboring state, and many medical equipment suppliers will pass those savings onto their clients.
What Are Your Business Hours?
You'll want to find a medical equipment provider who is open during the same hours as your practice. The supplier you decide to order from should offer assistance during all the hours your practice is open, and not just some of them, so emergency orders can be placed as soon as possible.
Most medical equipment suppliers have fairly standard hours, answering phone calls and assisting customers during normal business hours. Even if a supplier is open during normal business hours, however, those hours may not be the hours your practice is open if they're in a different time zone than your practice. Therefore, ask not only what hours a provider is open, but what time zone they're in.
How Do You Accept Orders?
Medical equipment providers might accept orders via phone, fax, email, their website, and many offer all of these methods of ordering. Not every supplier, however, is set up to accept orders all of these ways.
You'll want to make sure that the supplier you select has an easy ordering method for your practice to use. If they don't have a simple way to place orders, an employee will have to spend time ordering items every time your practice has to place a new order.
Online ordering is especially convenient, as you can browse and order equipment online without a salesperson. For the most streamlined ordering process, look for a medical equipment provider that offers online ordering through its website (possibly in addition to other ordering methods).
Companies like Medi-Rents & Sales Inc even have online catalogs to reference.
Do You Offer Quantity Discounts?
Some medical equipment providers may offer discounts to practices that order large quantities of the same item. For practices that use a lot of the same items, these discounts can lead to significant savings. The savings themselves may justify using a specific supplier.
How Many Items Do You Have in Stock?
Choosing a medical equipment supplier that has lots of different equipment in stock will ensure they're able to promptly fulfill your orders. Not only will your practice's normal orders be fulfilled promptly, but requests for uncommon equipment are less likely to be placed on back order if a supplier has lots of different items in their warehouse. For practices and patients who need highly specialized equipment, this can be an especially significant consideration. No one wants to wait while a piece is on special order.