Depending on the type of healthcare clinic you manage, you will most likely require a combination of capital and consumable products. Both play an important role in facilitating patient care and understanding the similarities and differences between the two can help you make informed purchasing decisions.

Some companies that provide medical supplies in Australia specialise in one particular product category — personal protective equipment, for example. Other companies offer a comprehensive product portfolio that includes everything a facility needs. While opting for specialty providers is often the right move, when it comes to medical supplies, shopping with a company that offers both capital and consumable products can save you a lot of time and logistical effort.

Capital equipment explained

There are a number of elements shared by all forms of capital medical equipment.

Cost: Capital equipment tends to be quite expensive. Imagine that you’re purchasing a new computer. The expensive hard-drive and monitor can be thought of as capital while the easily replaced mouse is a consumable item.

There is no baseline price for a product to be deemed capital; it really depends on the facility and their budget. A small rural clinic may consider anything above $1000 to be capital, while a leading metropolitan hospital with a larger budget may set the mark at $10,000.

Size: In days gone by, capital equipment was normally thought of as being quite large, often taking up the bulk of a room. However, this factor is becoming less distinguishable as point-of-care devices become more advanced and readily available. Regardless of the overall size, you can expect a capital device to have some sort of main body where hardware is stored.

Durability: The real and consistent mark of capital equipment is its durability. Unlike one-time use consumable products, you can expect to get many years of use out of a capital device. It’s also likely to require ongoing service and maintenance to keep performing at an optimal level.

What is a consumable product?

Medical consumables are disposable, one-time use products. Despite this, they play an equally valuable role in a functional, efficient working environment.

Consumables are medical supplies that are used on a daily basis. Doctors and nurses may use them personally, as is the case with personal protective equipment. Alternatively, a consumable product might be used in conjunction with capital equipment to facilitate diagnostic and operative care.

One of the simplest ways to outfit your facility with consumable products is by purchasing procedural kits. These kits are custom made and are filled with all of the tools and products a clinician requires to perform standard procedures and tests. Purchasing a kit, rather than individual items, is a great way of saving both time and money.

Factors that point to the consumable nature of a product include:

Cost: Consumable products tend to be relatively inexpensive. This is due to their disposable nature. However, on the flip side, you will require these items in bulk, meaning the overall cost can quickly add up.

Size: Size is less of a factor when it comes to consumable products. They tend to be disposed of after use, meaning that from a practicality standpoint, they’re unlikely to be big and bulky.

Durability: The vast majority of consumable products are disposable. This is largely to do with hygiene and infection control. An ultrasound probe cover, for example, cannot be used by multiple patients.

However, the disposable nature of consumable products does not mean that quality is not an issue. The last thing you want is to be using a product that may injure a patient or cause an infection based upon the materials used to make it.

Tips for purchasing both capital and consumable supplies

Regardless of whether you are buying capital equipment or consumable medical supplies in Australia, the most important factor to consider is quality. Both types of products will be used with the same goal in mind — to diagnose and treat ill patients. Investing in equipment that cannot perform this basic function, just because it comes at a cheaper price tag, is a recipe for disaster.

If you are concerned about the overall cost of purchasing equipment, it can be a good idea to calculate the return on investment. A large upfront price could pay off ten times over in the long run. Not to say that running a medical facility is about making a profit. However, if you’re working with a limited budget and trying to convince colleagues that a particular piece of equipment or brand of supplies is worth it, this kind of information is invaluable.

As is the case with most areas of healthcare, capital equipment and consumable products work hand in hand to help clinicians provide quality medical care.

Finally, where possible, try and work with a supplier who can provide both capital and consumable products. Doing so will make things significantly easier from a logistical perspective and will help develop a positive, ongoing stakeholder relationship.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I am Aria. I am a passionate blogger. Blogging is my profession. I love to write articles on several topics. Keep up the good work and Have a great day!