Are we working for the Equipment Companies?
This young Ophthalmologist who is practicing in a small town called me today to discuss regarding starting his new building for an Eye hospital. At present he is practicing in a rented premise for the past 5 years and has a OPD volume of 15-20 Patients per day and Cataract case volume of 15-20 cases (Average Surgery cost of 15000 per case) per month.
I wanted to understand his finances before giving suggestions hence I enquired him regarding his cash position and Savings. I was surprised to hear that he did not have any saving after practicing for 5 years. I got curious and started probing. The Doctor said that he was paying EMI for equipment’s which included a 40 Lakh Microscope.
I was wondering why an Ophthalmologist who has just started his practice thought of investing 40 Lakhs in a higher end microscope and literally working for the companies to pay the EMI for 4-5 years. Is this a correct approach? I do not disagree that Investments are essential in Ophthalmic Equipment’s, but at the same time we should not be investing too much also. We at Ophthall Conducted a Business of Lasik Meet in 2019 @ Mumbai in which 125 plus Lasik Centre owners participated and it was surprising to know that more than 90% of them were not making profits out of their Lasik Machines and were investing the surplus from regular OPD income and Cataract surgeries to repay the Lasik Machine EMIs.
Why do Ophthalmologists invest too much in Equipment’s?
First and foremost is the lack of financial knowledge among Doctors and not calculating if their practice requires this particular equipment at this point of time and the Return on Investment of that Equipment. The other common cause is lack of Unity among Ophthalmologists and not being able to open up common centers for optimal use of equipment’s (Diagnostic and Surgical) .
Ophthalmologists in Morocco are the smartest I have ever seen; Most of them only have a OPD with Basic Instruments. They do not invest in costly equipment’s (OCT, Optical Bio meters etc.) in their own practices unless they have a very good patient volume, 10-20 of them join together and approach a general hospital to buy these equipment’s and set up OT and they pay a fee for using these equipment’s. They also make sure that they charge a respectable consultation fee in their OPD so that – the consultation fee itself forms a good income source for them.
Other causes are
• Over dependence on Equipment’s for even common Diagnostic Procedures.
• Sweet Talk by Companies trying to sell Equipment’s.
• So called Interest Free EMI Options.
• A false sense of EGO that I own this top end equipment.
• Not supporting Innovative Indian companies which come out with economical good quality Equipment’s.
Before buying any New Equipment ask the following questions
1) Is this Equipment required for my practice at this point of time?
2) What will be the Monthly and annual Expenses (Maintenance, EMI etc, AMC, CMC charges) for this?
3) What Revenue can I generate from this Equipment every month?
4) Are there any other Cheaper but good quality Alternatives?
5) Can I form a group and purchase this equipment?
6) Can we have this Equipment in a common center and utilize it?
7) Can I earn Better revenues by investing this money spent for Equipment’s in other avenues?
I am sure if we can answer these we will make sensible Equipment Purchase Decisions in the future.
Two Case Studies:
I would like to bring two innovative solutions I am involved with and are saving Lakhs of Rupees for Indian Ophthalmologists, the first one is an Innovation called Omniglo by an Ophthalmologist –which is a microscope attachment which converts a very basic microscope to an advanced one with enhanced red glow and illumination available in higher end Microscopes. This instrument has eliminated the need to purchase higher end microscopes.
The second Innovation is a Indian Made Surgical Microscope branded as Ophthall (Pro, Max and Zen) which has combined top quality Optics with excellent mechanics suited for Indian Ophthalmologists and comes at a very affordable price starting at 2.7 Lakhs. The top end Microscope with tiltable Optics, red glow enhancer and Video recording facility costs a fraction of what it would cost to have these features in a Imported Microscope. Now Every Ophthalmologist practicing even in remote locations can afford to buy these microscopes without having to bother about Long term EMIs.
Though this paragraph may sound promotional- but I feel it is important to promote these innovations which can help many Ophthalmologists especially the upcoming Doctors.
Would be happy to receive your comments and feedback
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