Affording patients the best possible care and attention goes hand-in-hand with the need to assess medical equipment and the most appropriate means of financing – but it needn’t be an arduous process.
Medical practitioners across Australia should routinely re-evaluate whether existing equipment serves their changing demands and requirements. According to Investec head of medical finance, Andre Karney, equipment should be viewed from a needs perspective, as well as the medical discipline.
“The scope of equipment financing varies greatly depending on the area of expertise or specialisation – an orthopaedic surgeon, for example, will have very different needs to that of an ophthalmologist. Some disciplines won’t require many assets at all as the nature of their work means they can arrive at the hospital and it’s all there. On the other hand, professions such as dentistry, ophthalmology, cardiology and radiology are equipment-heavy and will require testing-based assets and fit-outs,” he said.
Technology Changes Driving Practice Upgrades
Additionally, he said there will be technological changes which have to be factored into any financing arrangements – not only will there be the physical asset (such as a chair and stand) to account for, but also upgrades to any software that operates the equipment. Mr. Karney believes it is important for practitioners to distinguish between a long-term asset and one that will change often with software or technological advances.
… equipment should be viewed from a needs perspective, as well as the medical discipline…
“These improvements can really drive quality and clinical outcomes and therefore the practice needs to be kept up to date. Funding for this is critically important,” he said.
A Professional Partnership
Investec Australia is a long-time partner and supporter of the medical fraternity, and while there have been changes to the profession overtime, some aspects have remained constant. Part of Investec’s initial attraction to medical disciplines was the stability and professionalism of its members, which continues.
Mr. Karney believes the stability of the profession has assisted Investec with being able to specialise in a unique financing environment.
“What underpins our ability to be specialists in the medical field is the dedication of its people and the
certainty that brings – practitioners who decide to be a surgeon will typically be a surgeon for the rest of their life. As a lending institution, we fully support the profession and the qualifications that underpin it. We also back the profession as a whole and we don’t cherry pick disciplines within medicine – the role of the doctors is to look after their patients and we see our role as looking after the doctors from a financing point of view,” he said.
The most common financing options when purchasing medical equipment are cash, chattel mortgage or asset purchase agreement, and financial lease, whereby the finance company is the legal owner of the asset throughout the duration of the lease.
Mr. Karney said there is no one type of financing more popular than the other, as it depends on the asset being financed, current circumstances and the financial position of the individual. “First and foremost, it’s the position of the doctor that needs to be taken into account and we assess applications based on the individual practitioner and their practice.”
It is important to speak to a professional in the industry with experience in financing for healthcare professionals to gain an understanding of the options available and to make an informed decision.
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