How To Afford Expensive Medical Devices In South Africa
Paying for medical devices can be a challenging task. Not only do you have to worry about the initial cost of the device, but you also have to consider the ongoing cost associated with maintenance and occasional repairs. Fortunately, there are several financing options that can make it easier to afford the medical devices or equipment you need.
While you could use a credit card, you need a sizeable credit card limit and don’t forget the high interest rates. If you want to use this financing option, you need to make sure that you can afford the monthly payments.
A better solution is through a medical loan from a reputable and approved credit provider, like MediFin. They offer low-interest, flexible and affordable medical finance to help South Africans get the medical devices or equipment they need.
Does Insurance Cover Medical Devices?
Most medical aids in South Africa do provide some coverage for medical devices and equipment. However, the coverage is often limited to a certain amount or percentage. For example, your medical aid might cover 50% of the cost of a cochlear implant or hearing aid, up to a maximum of R5 000. It’s important to check with your medical aid to see what coverage they provide for medical devices.
What Are The Different Types Of Medical Devices?
To better understand the different types, let’s first define what a medical device is before looking at the classifications.
A medical device is any instrument, apparatus or machine that is used in the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of illness or injury, or for purposes of medical research. Broadly speaking, there are four main types of medical devices: diagnostic, therapeutic, monitoring and supportive devices.
- Diagnostic devices, including In Vitro diagnostic devices (IVDs), are used to diagnose diseases or other conditions relying on samples taken from the human body. This could involve the analysis of blood, urine or tissue samples. Imaging devices are used to create pictures of the inside of the body which could be in the form of x-rays, ultrasound or MRI scans.
- Therapeutic devices are used to treat or prevent a medical condition which might involve the administration of drugs or surgery.
- Monitoring devices are used to track vital signs such as blood pressure, heart rate and respiration. This category also includes devices used to monitor blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
- Supportive devices are used to help patients with their daily activities or to provide comfort. This might include devices such as wheelchairs, crutches or prosthetic limbs.
How Are Medical Devices Classified?
Medical devices can also be classified according to the level of risk they pose to patients. In South Africa, the classification works as follows:
- Class A is low-risk level – Absorbent pads, syringes without needles, non-sterile dressings, bed pans
- Class B is moderate-low risk level – Adhesives for topical use, oxygen tubing and masks, bridges and crown
- Class C is moderate-high risk level – Tubes for blood transfusion, urethral stents, intravenous cannulae
- Class D is high-risk level – Cardiovascular catheters, angioplasty balloon catheters, pacemakers, implantable defibrillators
There are many different types of medical devices which are classified in several ways. It is important to choose the right device for your needs and to ensure that it is safe and effective.
Who Approves Medical Devices In South Africa?
The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) has the responsibility to regulate (monitor, evaluate, investigate, inspect and register) all health products and clinical trials in South Africa. SAHPRA’s medical device unit regulates the licensing of medical device establishments and the registration of medical devices (In vitro diagnostics (IVDs) and non-IVD medical devices). They ensure the availability of medical devices and that they comply with an acceptable level of safety, quality and performance.
Are Medical Devices Covered Under HIPPA?
Only medical devices that transmit, receive or record health information must be HIPAA compliant. In these cases, HIPAA requires entities to apply administrative, physical, and technical safeguards to protect the privacy of protected health information (PHI).
In other words, entities must take reasonable steps to protect PHI from unauthorised use or disclosure. This includes ensuring that medical devices are properly used and maintained with access only given to authorised individuals.
Medical device companies must also provide patients with the opportunity to opt-out of having their PHI shared for marketing purposes, and must obtain patient authorisation before using or disclosing PHI for any other purpose.
Where Are Medical Devices Manufactured?
Countries across the world develop medical devices with some more dominant in certain product categories than others. Among other medical device manufacturing countries are the United States, Germany, China, India, the United Kingdom and Mexico. Very few devices are locally manufactured, which makes the cost of acquiring imported medical devices in South Africa quite expensive.
List Of Medical Device Companies In South Africa
While South Africa is also on the global list, it has a smaller market share but the Republic is making significant strides in the scientific and healthcare fields. The top five manufacturers of medical devices in South Africa are CapeRay, DISA Vascular, TiTaMED, Sinapi Biomedical and Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM).
How To Look After Your Medical Devices
It is important to take proper care of your medical devices in order to ensure their longevity and effectiveness. Here are some tips on how to keep your devices in good condition:
- Store your devices in a clean, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat. Avoid storing them in humid or dusty areas
- Wipe down your devices with a clean, damp cloth after each use
- Inspect your medical devices regularly to check for signs of damage or wear and tear
- Be sure to read the instruction manual that came with your medical devices. This will give you guidance on how to properly use and care for your devices
- If you’re ever unsure about how to properly maintain or use your medical devices, ask a healthcare professional for assistance
Medical Device Financing From MediFin
Medical devices are an important part of our healthcare system and it is crucial that we have access to them. Not only do they help us diagnose and treat illnesses, but they also play a vital role in preventing disease.
To help ensure that everyone has access to medical devices, MediFin can provide affordable, life-changing loans for medical devices and various treatments. From cochlear implants and sleep apnea machines to prosthetics, MediFin can help. Apply for a medical loan on our website today!