Aurora, Ohio-based reLink Medical officially launched its online medical equipment disposition solution known as reLink 360 in 2016. The goal was to help hospitals properly dispose of excess or retired devices, and also optimize their capital budgets by buying and selling equipment in the secondary marketplace. Below, Scott Campbell who leads reLink 360 product management for reLink Medical, discusses how the online platform can help turn equipment disposition problems into economic advantages for healthcare organizations.
24×7 Magazine: Can you please share with 24×7 readers a little bit about the origins of reLink Medical and the impetus for forming the company?
Campbell: Our founding team has decades of experience solving unique healthcare industry challenges. They began to see the supply of used equipment and parts shrink at the exact same time hospitals and vendors were demanding more refurbished options to help stretch their budgets.
After visiting several healthcare systems, it was clear a huge backlog of out-of-service equipment was accumulating in facilities and warehouses that could be reused elsewhere. And the reason was simply that there were no easy, safe, reliable, and cost-effective ways for hospitals to dispose of it all properly. reLink 360 was created to solve exactly that challenge and turn the problem into the hospital’s advantage.
24×7: What makes equipment disposition a problem that our readers should care about?
Campbell: First and foremost, hospitals should think about disposition as a huge untapped opportunity. There’s no question that HTM organizations are facing extreme budget pressures to do more with less. And while getting rid of out-of-service devices is part of the equipment lifecycle, it takes a back seat to buying, installing, and keeping things running. Add in PHI and environmental requirements to track and dispose of equipment correctly and you end up with a huge challenge to get it right.
What’s exciting is great disposition programs save time and address those compliance risks, but they also make great economic sense. Not everyone thinks about maximizing returns from old equipment. At the razor-thin margins most hospitals operate at, every $100,000 generated from unused equipment is like finding $3M or more in new billings. Those returns can make a big difference in tight departmental budgets.
24×7: How has the company evolved over the years, and how do you see it evolving further in the future?
Campbell: We love to say reLink Medical, and specifically the reLink 360 Program, was “designed by hospitals for hospitals.” We constantly evolve our solutions based on great feedback from hundreds of facilities working with us. Specifically, we’ve been laser-focused on creating technology for hospitals to monitor their disposition programs in real-time. They can track all their equipment, redeploy devices between facilities, watch items being sold, donated and recycled, and track and redeem their earnings. We’ve also invested in our operations and processes to make everything more efficient.
Last year, we achieved ISO 9001:2015 certification at an early stage to make sure quality is at the core of everything we do. The ISO certification allows reLink Medical to build on a solid foundation. Going forward, we plan more of the same. reLink’s technology innovation roadmap is extensive. We’re working on new ways to match equipment to more buyers at better prices through multiple channels. Expect to see us exploring strategic relationships in the value-added services community to tap into more capabilities and locations. And, most importantly, reLink will continue to add great people to the team as we grow to better serve our customers.
24×7: What types of excess or retired medical equipment can be disposed of through the reLink 360 disposition program?
Campbell: All types. Seriously it’s that simple. Hospitals always ask, “Do you really take 100% of our equipment?” And the answer is always, “Yes!” Every modality is covered, including all biomedical, imaging, lab and surgical equipment. And that’s regardless of condition or value because we have an R2-certified recycling program to take care of anything that can’t be resold or donated. We take it all, so you don’t have to worry about managing multiple vendors or dealing with leftover junk after the valuable items are picked over.
24×7: What other types of services does reLink offer? For example, what if a piece of equipment a hospital needs removed from service is currently installed?
Campbell: As hospitals ask us to do more and more things, we’ve added a number of other services. Certainly, de-installations are a big solution we provide. reLink can also provide engineering services for jump teams, installs, and value-added services to improve returns on devices headed for disposition. reLink’s logistics services go way beyond what’s typical in the industry. Our field teams come onsite and move, stage, pack, load, and transport all the excess equipment. Just show us where the equipment is, and we take it from there. More and more, hospitals are asking us to move equipment within and between facilities as well, so they can squeeze more life out of existing assets. And, in addition to R2-certified recycling services, reLink also helps hospitals create unique donation programs that match their specific interests with beneficiaries around the world. This makes sure equipment that can’t be sold is reused or avoids landfills.
24×7: What else would you like for 24×7 readers to know about reLink Medical?
Campbell: We really see reLink’s mission as helping HTM, supply chain, and other hospital departments focus more resources into the most important aspects of their jobs by knowing their medical equipment disposition is taken care of the right way. And we do that by making sure our services plug seamlessly into their existing systems and processes. The more a hospital puts into optimizing the program, the more they get out of it. Ask any hospital where else they can save time, eliminate risks, free-up space, and generate significant cash? And where else can they do that with zero out-of-pocket expenses? It’s a no-brainer to want a disposition process that’s better and easier. And that’s why reLink Medical is so passionate about this. Disposition is all we do.