It has been a rough year for EMS providers and healthcare systems. Interventions that were once relatively rare have now become routine. You may have noticed that your suction devices aren’t working as well as they once were, and weighing whether it is time to replace your battery-operated suction machine.
Shopping online for your next device offers convenience and makes it easier to slow the spread of COVID-19. But it can be tough to choose a device based on marketing copy and descriptions alone. Here are some strategies for choosing the right suction machine when you can’t see or touch it.
Consider Your Needs
Choosing a portable suction unit starts with defining your needs. Some questions to get you started include:
- How often does your agency use suction?
- Do you need one machine, or would multiple options better serve your patients?
- How much storage space do you have?
- Do you have a lot of extra attachments lying around and is the machine you’re considering compatible with them?
- Do you like your current machine, or could it use improvements?
- What are the most common suctioning complications you encounter?
- Do your patients have particular needs?
Focus on Specifics
It’s easy to write clever marketing copy touting how durable a machine is. Focus on specifics instead:
- How long is the battery life?
- What is the actual suction power?
- With which attachments is it compatible?
- How do you clean the device?
- How durable is the device?
- What is the device made from?
- How quickly does the device charge?
- How much does the device weigh, and how might its weight affect its portability?
It can also be helpful to read the manufacturer’s guidelines and assess which types of agencies the manufacturer caters to.
A company that primarily markets to small EMS services, for example, may not make a device that works well for large hospital systems or busy metropolitan EMS providers. And a company that makes several different devices may be able to help you decide which option is right for your needs because they know their machines best.
Read Online Reviews
Reading online reviews can be tricky because more and more companies are paying for reviews. Worse still, the reviews on the company’s website may be misleading because some companies only allow positive reviews to be posted.
Be sure to dig past the first page of Google and read the actual content of the review. What does the reviewer like and dislike? What purposes are they using the device for? How often have they used the machine?
Look at the Warranty and Return Policy
When you buy something online, you can never be sure what you’re getting because you don’t touch the actual device until after you’ve paid. This is why a warranty and a generous return policy are so important.
Beware of companies that do not accept returns or offer warranties on their products. Instead, look for free and convenient return options and a clear policy about when the company honors warranties.
The right portable suction machine is much more than just a financial decision. A high-quality machine can save time, effort, and lives. For more details about making the right decision, download The Ultimate Guide to Purchasing a Portable Emergency Suction Device.