Development of a Capital Equipment and Acquisition Plan

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Development of a Capital Equipment and Acquisition Plan

The selection of instruments has a significant impact on provider needs, quality, workflow, personnel needs, and the financial wellbeing of the health system the laboratory supports. For this reason, it is critical that the laboratory have a good plan for the process before proceeding. The table below is an outline plan for the process of capital equipment selection and acquisition.
Plan for Instrument Selection and Implementation
Determine Why a New Testing System is Needed
  • Replacement (worn out)
  • New testing request by Providers
  • Quality improvement
  • Financial advantages
Select an Instrument After
  • Performing an operation review
  • Setting performance standards (minimum and ideal)
  • Performing a market search based on performance standards
  • Performing a financial analysis
Implement the New Instrument
  • Develop a detailed implementation plan and follow
If the instrument is a replacement instrument the reasons for a need to replace must be listed and evaluated. Proceeding forward should only occur if there are valid reasons for replacement. If the analytical instrument is being purchased to add additional testing, the need for the additional testing needs to be justified. Sometimes an instrument can be justified based on improved efficiency and workflow. How new instrumentation might do this needs to be identified.
Once it is determined an instrument is needed, instrument selection and cost justification are critical to the quality and financial viability of the clinical laboratory. Determining need, designing performance standards, careful selection, and determining financial viability are required steps in the process. In addition to establishing minimum performance standards, the maximum payout for the purchase should be established in coordination with the chief financial officer. The next step is to do a market search to determine what instrumentation is available that meet the criteria you have established. Once the top two or three potential instruments have been selected, an operation review and financial analysis need to be done. Once an instrument has been selected, a plan for implementation is the final step.