Jeff Hough


Acquiring a mobile MRI or mobile CT scanner may contribute to the success and longevity of your healthcare practice. A mobile MRI or CT is a great way to provide imaging services when in-house real-estate is limited, or demand exceeds your on-site capabilities. By nature, the mobile MR and CT affords your organization added flexibility to meet your clinical goals.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines are one of the most expensive pieces of healthcare equipment. A typical MRI for sale is expensive. The average new fixed MRI machine costs anywhere between $1.3 to $2.5 million, including the room buildout. Many healthcare providers, especially smaller organizations, struggle to afford one and instead turn to a mobile MRI solution.


Computed tomography (CT) scanners are also expensive. The average new CT ranges from $500,000 to $1.6 million, including the buildout. Even though they are less costly than their MRI counterpart, it is still a difficult cost to stomach, especially for smaller hospitals, clinics, and private imaging centers.


This is why many healthcare facilities look to lease a mobile MRI or mobile CT. A mobile MRI or mobile CT scanner will have a lower initial investment and upfront cost, typically consisting of a pad and electrical/data connection. 


A mobile MRI machine or mobile CT scanner can benefit your healthcare organization in countless ways. Hospitals, imaging centers, surgery centers, and even larger physician practices are adding mobile units to their facilities so they can give their patients the quality of care they deserve without having to break the bank.


What is a Mobile Unit?


A mobile MRI machine or mobile CT scanner is what it sounds like, your typical fixed-site MRI machine or CT scanner but installed in a specially designed semi-trailer. The trailer is a self-contained space that houses the imaging device, control center, changing room, A/C units, and the technology supporting the device. 


Why Would I Want a Mobile MRI or Mobile CT?


My Facility Doesn’t Have Enough Space

A mobile option is a lifesaver for organizations that do not have the space to house an MRI machine or CT scanner. A mobile unit stays parked outside of your facility, so even if you do not have the space for an MRI machine or CT scanner in the building, you can still keep your scans in-house. Many facilities build semi-permanent walkways to add continuity between the facility and mobile.


Alternatively, your facility may already offer an in-house MRI or CT, but demand has increased to the point where a second unit is required. Opting for a mobile MRI or mobile CT will give you the capacity to provide your patients with the services they need without sacrificing time and money for extensive renovations.


My Budget Holds Me Back

The total cost of the latest diagnostic imaging equipment is high, and with the construction costs of an in-house suite, the price only increases. Many facilities do not have the capital to purchase a new or additional on-site MRI or CT so many healthcare facilities have turned to a mobile MRI or CT to cut costs.


I Want Added Flexibility

Flexibility has never been more important. Healthcare facilities are turning to mobile MRIs and mobile CTs to remain flexible enough to keep up with the latest upgrades without blowing their budget. As technology continues to evolve at an even faster rate than before, the struggle to provide patients with top-level care with the latest technology increases. A mobile unit, mainly when leased, is less of a commitment, so it is much easier to upgrade to the newest model. Also, since a mobile MRI or mobile CT scanner does not have to be installed at your facility, there is less downtime when you decide to update your equipment. 


What Kind of Mobile MR and CT Scanners are Available?


When looking into what type of mobile MRI or mobile CT scanner is right for your organization, it is important to understand your options. There are three types of mobile options you can choose from:


1. An Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Built System: this is a brand-new MR or CT put into a new trailer. The benefits include the latest technology, a 1-year warranty, and access to OEM service. Priced between $1.5 - $2.5M million for an MRI and $600,000 - $2 million for a CT, it is the most expensive option. However, Meridian can provide competitive rental and lease pricing.


2. A Refurbished OEM Built System: this is a pre-owned OEM-built system with a complete overhaul. Engineers examine the system, ensuring the MRI or CT meets OEM specifications. The trailer is refurbished, painted, and in some cases, renovated to bring a new level of polish to the interior. While limited in supply, these are cost-effective options that easily qualify for OEM service. 


3. A Third-Party System in a Refurbished Trailer: this is an off-lease MRI machine or CT scanner, refurbished to OEM specifications and installed into a refurbished trailer. This is the most economical option without sacrificing quality or capability. 


Final Thoughts


Bringing a mobile MRI machine or mobile CT scanner into your healthcare facility may improve your ability to deliver high-quality care while reducing capital costs, ensure you have the most up-to-date technology, and free up valuable space in your facility.


If you’re looking for a mobile MRI or mobile CT scanner, the industry experts at Meridian will work with you to help you determine the right equipment for your clinical and financial needs. Call +1 (855) 980-4578 or email [email protected] to speak with a medical equipment specialist for more details.