According to research* conducted by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) and PricewaterhouseCoopers, 75% of hospital and health system CFOs report that they plan to increase their hospitals’ capital spending over the next 5 years. The primary reason for the increasing budgets: new technology. Where do hospitals plan to focus their spending? Of the CFOs surveyed, 72% said DR systems, 64% said computerized physician order entry systems, and 61% said the purchase of major IT systems.

But where will the additional funding come from, and how can it be spent most wisely? With those questions in mind, Medical Imaging has compiled a special section on asset management. The first piece, “What’s the Deal?” on page 20, examines how facilities can negotiate service contracts that suit them best. Today’s service vendors are offering contracts with better pricing structures, incentives, and add-ons with the customer in mind. Our experts give advice on what to include and exclude from your next service contract.

Service contracts, in general, “are very difficult to get out of without incurring stiff financial penalties once signed,” explains Christopher Cone of Sonora Medical Systems. “Know with complete certainty what you’re getting into beforehand.”

Facilities in need of new machines might want to pay extra attention to the information given in “A New Lease on Equipment Life” (page 23). A handful of financial connoisseurs explain when it’s best to buy, lease, or rent, and the importance of carefully evaluating all your options before signing a check.

Says Mark Sedlmeier of GE Healthcare Financial Services, “If you are comfortable in your belief that the technology is not going to change much, and you plan on retaining the equipment—for example, a basic X-ray machine—for longer than 10 years or so, then purchasing makes sense. From a cash-flow perspective, if you have plenty of cash and would rather not have future payments, then go ahead and buy. But if cash is tight, then leasing is your best bet.”

So whether it’s tailoring your next service contract or choosing between two leasing options—or both, these articles can provide you with the knowledge to procure the best deal.

* Financing the Future, an HFMA report produced in partnership with GE Healthcare Financial Services