Ultrasound is no longer a hospital only solution to imaging. You are seeing them enter private practices across multiple specialties, Anesthesiologists are utilizing them in the OR, and there are traveling ultrasound companies grabbing portable units. Depending on specifics of the ultrasound, the price range is anywhere between $20,000-$250,000. Let’s look at what’s causing the recent price increase of ultrasound.

Like with any complex issue, there are multiple factors in play driving the increase in ultrasound machine costs. We've listed a few below:

Ultrasound Machines Have Become More Accessible

Ultrasound in healthcare is a safer option, and less invasive than its modality counterparts, and it can easily be used by providers and sonographers alike. While the OB/GYN market has had a grip on ultrasound for decades, ultrasound uses are commonly being seen in point of care settings, urology, anesthesiology, therapeutic, and cardiology just to name a few. Their versatility, portability, and budget-friendly options make ultrasound a desirable addition to the practitioner’s repertoire. More demand usually means higher prices.

What’s Affecting the Cost of Ultrasound

Like every piece of electronic equipment, ultrasound machines utilize microchips for their operating boards. When the microchip shortage became apparent in industries like automobiles and consumer electronics, ultrasound machine manufacturers also felt a pinch. Chip manufacturers in China shut down which meant the world was losing out on the largest supplier in the world of chips for ultrasound machines, driving cost increases. Once they reopened, the shipping industry became backlogged, and the chips sat in China or on a barge in the Pacific until they can be delivered. This delay in key electronic equipment makes the machines more difficult to deliver to buyers and causes an increase in price to get it done. 

Shipping and raw material costs are at an all-time high for everything, including ultrasound machines and ultrasound machine components. The supply chains shut down with the pandemic and are still healing from it. Global labor limitations are also causing problems by not having enough people to staff these companies to get the supplies out. Raw materials are also hard to find causing their prices to increase. To make an ultrasound unit and then ship it we are seeing increases in prices, therefore the end-consumer for every product, including ultrasound machines, are also feeling the price increase.  

Prices vary depending on the age of an ultrasound machine and the model. When choosing an ultrasound machine, you want to make sure that you are considering your clientele, exam types you are planning to perform, and the level of care that you are hoping to provide when it comes to image quality. Even with the same brand, there are multiple tiers of operating systems, user-friendly options, and image quality to choose from. 

The increasing number of patients needing ultrasounds performed means that productivity is at an all-time high. We are seeing an increase in sonographers needed as well as machines being purchased to keep up with the productivity numbers. The pandemic in 2020 caused a decrease in sales and multiple manufacturing facilities to shut down where equipment was put on hold. This also contributed to the increase in ultrasound machine costs high demand and low supply makes for an increase in cost. Now may be the perfect time to buy ultrasound due to us not knowing where the prices will head in the future.

Worried about the cost of your next ultrasound machine? You may find our article Four Ways to Upgrade Your Ultrasound Unit and Your Practice with Ultrasound Machine Financing helpful.

 

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