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Changing healthcare patterns to impact medical imaging equipment market

23 October 2017 Holley Lewis

A new IHS Markit report shows that the global landscape for medical imaging equipment like X-ray and ultrasound will be affected during the next few years by various factors, including aging populations and projected changes in the healthcare spending of important territories.

Worldwide revenue for the medical imaging equipment market is forecast to reach $24.0 billion in 2020, up 11.7% from $21.2 billion in 2016, as shown in the graphic below. X-ray and ultrasound equipment make up the largest segments of the medical imaging equipment space, which also includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) systems.

Forecasts and extended analysis of both overall market and individual imaging segments can be found in the report "Medical Imaging Executive Overview," which collates information from the IHS Markit medical imaging report library to present a summary view of the complete medical imaging market.

Consequences of an aging population

Among the most salient factors expected to impact the medical imaging equipment market is the increasing number of an aging population in all of the world's regions. Those aged over 60 will account for 22% of the global population by 2020, compared to 12% in 2015, according to the World Health Organization. The aging population will lead to a rise in the rate of many chronic diseases, straining healthcare systems in the process and requiring medical imaging equipment to provide high-quality care.

In many countries, however, funds intended for medical imaging equipment are being diverted toward telehealth systems and related services, negatively affecting the imaging market. Also impacting medical imaging budgets is consolidation in the industry, which is taking place in response to continued pressure to eliminate overhead and duplication of services.

A new focus for healthcare providers is procuring new imaging products that bear a higher return-on-investment (ROI), as new technological advances in the field promise simplified workflows in tandem with more advanced software and faster image capture. For example, handheld ultrasound systems could offer better ROI than stationary ultrasound systems, especially as the former confers mobility on providers to conduct patient examinations in multiple hospital locations.

Healthcare spending worldwide is also changing

An important factor that will shape the medical imaging equipment market will be the change in healthcare expenditure patterns sweeping across the world.

In the United States, which accounted for 25% of total market revenue in 2016, continuing intense debate on the country's healthcare system is sure to affect the industry's global prospects down the road. Within the US, imaging equipment will see lower utilization, longer replacement rates, and less equipment being purchased overall.

The depressed outlook on the US market will be alleviated in part by the expected growth in healthcare spending in developing countries, which will lead to increased uptake of basic medical imaging equipment. Last year the Asia-Pacific region represented 40% of global revenue and 43% of global shipments-a strong showing expected to continue in the next few years. In particular, China-the world's second-largest medical imaging equipment market after the US-will continue to drive investments in the space until at least 2020, IHS Markit projections show.

Call to action

For manufacturers to stay competitive, IHS Markit recommends a course of action that includes more so-called work-horse systems in product portfolios, along with establishing an increased presence in growth markets.

With their capability for multi-purpose use in multiple environments, work-horse products and solutions can boost the operational efficiency of medical imaging equipment while also maximizing ROI. Meanwhile, manufacturers can also stand to benefit from a stronger sales presence in promising growth markets such as Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East.

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Holley Lewis is an Analyst, Healthcare Technology, at the IHS Technology Group within IHS Markit
Posted 23 October 2017


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