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Why IOP Does Not Endorse Used Laboratory Equipment
• Lab Design – Each time a pathology laboratory is built with used equipment, the inventory of equipment is different based on what was available at that time. This means laboratory design cannot be started until all of the equipment has been purchased. Along the way, equipment specifications have to be gathered and provided to the architect. It becomes a long, drawn out process. Time is money and added time means lost revenues.
• Histotech Training – The used equipment will be from a variety of manufacturers based on the current used equipment market. Who will provide training for your histotech on the various pieces of equipment? Original equipment manufacturers will not do so unless they first do preventive maintenance on the equipment. You will then be charged for both maintenance and training time.
• Parts Replacement/Equipment Downtime - With used equipment you will inevitably suffer equipment downtime, and a field service call must be made to the manufacturer. Unless you have a service contract on the used equipment, expect to wait at least two days for service. And without a service contract, the rate charged will be steep. Histotechs cringe when they see a lab filled with used equipment because old equipment equals revenue-draining downtime while waiting for parts and service.
• Limited Warranty – Most used equipment comes with a 90-day limited warranty, versus new equipment with a 12-month standard warranty.
• Policy and Procedure Manuals – Your histotech will have to create CLIA required policy and procedure manuals from scratch for the type of used equipment purchased. It may take your histotech a month to create the manuals. Again, time is money.
• Venting – Many of the older tissue processor models require external venting while most of the new processors are self-contained. The exception is microwave processors, which need external venting and are not recommended. Venting dramatically adds to the construction cost because a hole has to be made through the building’s wall or roof. This almost always requires a building permit, which requires drawings prepared by a state-licensed architect.
• Reagent Overusage – Just like older cars, older equipment will consume more reagents than new equipment, thus increasing your daily laboratory operating costs. Laboratory waste is also increased as well as power consumption.
• Quality of Equipment – We recommend Leica equipment as it is the best quality histology products available. Leica is the only manufacturer to provide all the laboratory equipment needed to operate an in-office pathology laboratory, from microtomes to microscopes. Also they have an excellent field and technical service organization spread across the country.
Used laboratory equipment originates from several sources: commercial reference laboratories (ex-Quest Diagnostics, hospitals, and others). They sell equipment to rebuilders/refurbishers at the end of its useful life, which might be after hundreds of thousands of test cycles. Much of the equipment is sold to third world countries. The rebuilders/refurbishers buy equipment at 15 cents on the dollar and sell it to specialty physicians at a significant markup for their new in-office laboratories. We don’t believe you would buy a 1984 Toyota with 300,000 miles but that is generally the type of quality you get when you buy used laboratory equipment.
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