The Case for Third-Party CT Replacement Tubes

d03a.jpg (6424 bytes)Take a look at your computer system. Chances are, you have an array of components from respected manufacturers. One manufacturer for your CPU, another for your printer, and yet another for your monitor (because the monitor was probably private-labeled for the company that sold the system.)

Imagine it’s Monday morning. Your monitor is on the blink and the system warranty has expired. It must be replaced. So what do you do? Well, you have a variety of options. You can call the PC system vendor and pay full list price or you can buy a replacement monitor from another manufacturer, preferably one with the same or better specifications. Either way, you want to the best value and you need it now!

The same scenario holds true for CT replacement tubes. There are options. Savvy healthcare service providers have long recognized that there are many benefits to buying CT replacement tubes from dedicated third-party tube manufacturers, rather than the company that manufactured the scanner. That’s why sales at my company, Dunlee, have tripled in the last six years.

Freedom, Flexibility, Responsiveness
It can be frustrating to be locked into one supplier. You may face high prices, inflexible contracts and there’s always that nagging feeling that the supplier thinks they’ve “got you.” I firmly believe that the existence of companies making third-party CT replacement tubes has benefited the market. It provides an option to being locked into high prices and less than first class service. If you’re servicing your own equipment, alternative replacements for most popular makes and models are usually just a phone call away. If you’re using a third-party service provider, the availability of an alternative tube is often a critical element of the financial equation that enables the ISO to offer service at an attractive price.

Of course, not all CT replacement tubes are created equal and it pays to shop around. Here are a few things that I believe differentiate companies offering these products.

Look for a manufacturer that designed the replacement tube to be a form, fit and function replacement for the original system tube. Don’t accept a replacement that is “adapted” for your application or requires clumsy tube mount modifications. Modifications can limit your future options and lock you into your new supplier. Look for a manufacturer that invested in the tools and capabilities to build its own versions of original housings. This results in a higher-quality tube and helps to ensure that another replacement will be readily available when you need it in the future.

Look for a supplier that maintains inventory at various locations around the country. That helps you get a replacement tube to your site within hours, not days. If you have multiple scanners at one location, ask the supplier to consider putting a tube on-site to further reduce downtime. Also, be sure to ask about support hours; 24×7 technical and customer support is the standard today.

Of course, third-party CT tube manufacturers wouldn’t be in business if we didn’t offer better prices and terms than the original system vendor. You should expect to pay 20 to 30 percent less for replacements comparable to original system parts. With many scanners consuming one or two tubes per year, these savings add up quickly. But there is more to consider than just the price. I recommend choosing a supplier that offers a warranty that is equal to or better than the warranty offered by the system vendor.

Buy with Confidence
Keep in mind that better companies in this business also build CT tubes for new equipment manufacturers. The quality and performance of their replacement tubes often exceeds the original because the replacement tube manufacturer has the opportunity to learn from the original system designers’ mistakes and improve the tube over time.

In conclusion, I say you can buy third-party replacement CT tubes with confidence. Tailor-made CT replacement tubes are designed to meet or exceed all of the system vendor’s performance specifications. The tube documentation proves it, the warranty ensures it. Don’t just take my word, the testimony of many of your colleagues in the field confirms the performance and value of third-party replacement CT tubes.

Patrick T. Fitzgerald is the General Manager of Dunlee, a Marconi company. Dunlee is the exclusive supplier of tubes to Marconi Medical Systems, and manufactures replacement CT tubes for a variety of other scanners. Mr. Fitzgerald can be reached at [email protected] or (800) 238-3780.