Your current portable suction devices aren’t performing as they should.  You notice the battery life is short, the suction is weak, and they are seemingly unreliable. Because you are concerned about patient safety, you suggest to your manager that the hospital should purchase some new devices. What you soon learn, however, is that medical equipment at the hospital isn’t just purchased because an employee thinks it is needed.  Instead, there needs to be planning, budgeting, and approval for all new equipment.

What are some strategies for making sure new portable suction devices are accounted for in your hospital’s budget?


Plan ahead

This method is probably the most secure way of allocating the funds, but it requires advance planning. For this, equipment needs to be evaluated for its typical life span. In the case of a portable suction device, the average is about 10 years. Determine how many suction machines you need,multiply that by the cost of one machine, and divide the total cost by 10. That will represent the yearly amount that is needed in the hospital budget to allow for the replacement of the suction devices at the end of their lifespan. By budgeting a smaller amount over a long period of time, the purchase may be more likely to get approval.


Look at the big picture

Can’t wait 10 years? This next strategy may help discover a better use of already budgeted money, but it involves taking inventory of the various types of medical equipment on your unit. Do you have certain equipment that is never used? Do you have equipment that in excess, meaning you have more of it than is needed? Do you have equipment that could be shared with another unit? Looking closely at your unit’s needs, you may discover that money is being spent on items that are not actually necessary. Scaling back on these expenses will free up money to be used on equipment that you do need, such as new portable suction machines.


Examine the details

Look closely at your current portable suction machines, and you may find that new machines may actually result in money saved.  Are your old machines in need of frequent, costly repair? Are the consumables that accompany your current machine, such as suction canisters standard in your hospital, or must they be special ordered? When you look at the money you put into your old machines, you might discover that new machines would actually be more budget-friendly in the long run.


Get creative

Think outside of the box for ways to fund the purchase of new suction machines. Maybe your hospital has grant money left at the end of the year that has not been used. Or perhaps there is a charitable foundation that would like to make a donation to your unit. Looking for alternative sources might be the solution when the budget is tight.

Finding the money for new equipment may seem daunting, but by planning ahead, examining your unit’s current spending, and looking for additional funding options, you can find find ways to allocate the available money to best suit your unit’s needs.