The Pitfalls of Untested Ultrasound Parts and How to Avoid Them

The Pitfalls of Untested Ultrasound Parts and How to Avoid Them

Purchasing Ultrasound Parts?  Know How to Avoid the Common Pitfalls and Prevent Costly Downtime

In the healthcare industry, everyone is working hard to reduce costs and make smart moves about their ongoing equipment maintenance. Thinking that way just makes good business sense. To pull it off, takes insights into how the ultrasound parts and equipment world really operates. This article will help address some common misunderstandings about purchasing ultrasound products and offer suggestions to avoid common pitfalls.

Medical online marketplaces, including,, and, are popular sites for a variety of medical professionals —administrative, purchasing and technical—to look for affordable medical parts or equipment. Although there is a strong surplus of medical equipment listings online, it is difficult to determine which sellers are wise choices to do business with.

Understand That Many Small Sellers Market Lowest Cost Parts for a Reason

When parts are heavily promoted based on lowest price, then buyer beware!  What you may discover is that many small sellers harvest these ultrasound parts from a few systems in their warehouse just to broker a sale. They don’t test or qualify the actual condition of the part, hence our term “harvested parts,” which truly makes them an unreliable, high-risk purchase at any price.

These sellers also frequently promote these harvested parts by mass email to an array of medical companies comprised of dealers, brokers and ultrasound manufacturers and service providers.

Ultrasound manufacturers and service providers will take the harvested parts and perform the necessary tests to assess quality and restore the condition back to original specifications. They have invested millions of dollars in electronic test equipment to ensure quality results. Furthermore, they will back their workmanship with solid warranty and return policies that mitigate your risks as a purchaser. This is the caliber of ultrasound parts, probes and equipment you want to purchase—not raw harvested parts at a cheap price.

Understand the True Business Risks of Purchasing Harvested Ultrasound Parts 

Since small sellers do not have the financial means to invest in equipment, resources and time, they take a shortcut and just try to broker the harvested part at lower prices—to anyone interested in buying.  So, buyer beware, because even with ultrasound parts, probes and equipment, you get what you pay for and cheaper is not better—in fact, it creates a big risk.

  1. Harvested (and untested) ultrasound parts, probes and equipment often translate to defective equipment, which will lead to unplanned downtime and wasted resources chasing the seller to replace the part or reimburse the cost.
  2. Studies have shown that an untested harvested part ends up costing more than three times the cost of the original part, so it makes sense to get a high-quality part the first time.
  3. When you purchase harvested parts, full disclosure regarding the seller’s process for quality is difficult to assess, which renders the seller and their harvested products as unreliable and risky business.
  4. You could potentially risk severe damage to your ultrasound equipment and facility. Examples of untested ultrasound parts causing fires have been observed in three cases during the past five years. Under any circumstances, any risk of damage or fire is just not worth it.

The Search for Credible Sources for Ultrasound Parts, Probes and Equipment Starts with Common Sense and a Basic Framework for Comparison

Searching for credible sellers can seem like you’re looking for a needle in a haystack. The task is difficult, but not impossible. You have to do your homework to truly know how any seller runs their operation and that’s tough when the industry doesn’t enforce any specific standards of compliance.  You also have to look deeper than just “price” as the purchasing criteria.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve met with hospital purchasing staff that simply do not understand the difference between a company just brokering harvested parts versus a quality-based organization that works hard to provide reliable ultrasound products. Often the decision is driven solely by price, which is an insufficient criteria.

When searching through all the possible sellers, I understand how everyone starts to look the same. But really, they’re not. Let’s walk through a few helpful guidelines that will provide a good framework, as well as establish a broader set of criteria (more than price) for you to use when considering various sellers.

  1. Target sellers specializing in ultrasound parts, and not just those specializing in general medical equipment parts. You’re more likely to have a positive experience and work with highly-knowledgeable staff when the seller is specialized in ultrasound.
  2. Read the listing carefully, check the grammar and relevance of the product description. Sellers that post detailed listings are generally a more-reliable resource, because they fully understand the ultrasound part, probe or equipment they are selling.
  3. If the listing discusses the testing and quality process or describes the product as meeting the original equipment manufacturer’s specification, that’s a positive indication that this seller runs a good operation.
  4. ALWAYS ask the seller to provide documentation regarding their quality and testing process, as well as policies and terms that hold them accountable if you discover they have misrepresented their operation in any way. Why? Because many claim their parts are reconditioned when in fact, they are not. The part may, or may not, be cheaper; and buyers may be told the part is reconditioned when it was only cleaned before being sold, versus going through a full quality assurance process.
  5. Avoid sellers who claim to have fully tested the ultrasound part you want, BUT do not accept returns or provide any warranty on the product.
  6. Stick to sellers located within the US, preferably the same part of the country.  This is an extra measure of caution that adds a level of regional granularity to protect your business dealings.

Certified ultrasound parts providers will guarantee what they sell to you. They usually offer the lowest total cost of ownership while still delivering the highest quality ultrasound parts, technical, service, repairs and training support for your ultrasound systems. When parts or systems are purchased from the experts, your facility will be protected from the pitfalls of untested, harvested ultrasound parts.

In Summary, Only Trust Real Ultrasound Experts 

I believe it all comes down to this: protect your facility’s investment in the ultrasound equipment you have by only trusting true ultrasound experts that understand your challenges, deliver high-quality products and services, and will be there over the long term. That’s making a smart move and doing good business. It may cost you a little more initially, but you’ll have greater productivity, less unplanned downtime and much more peace-of-mind.

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