by: John Buie via MD Publishing
[i]Since its introduction, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) has become a ubiquitous diagnostic tool. It now represents one of the most rapidly expanding sectors in the medical imaging market.[/i]
It has been claimed that all medical imaging segments are on the cusp of a major new phase of growth. This imminent expansion is said to be fueled by the availability of new computer technology and the greater interest of individual older baby boom patients and general health care consumers in monitoring their own health status. Growth in MRI technology is likely to be at the forefront of this imaging boom, and it is predicted that the rapid growth currently witnessed in the global MRI market will be maintained due to innovations in enhanced image quality, cost saving and faster acquisition times among end users.
The U.S. currently forms the largest MRI market segment, both in unit and in dollar terms. Indeed, more than 50 percent of MRI sales are attributable to high fi eld MRIs in the U.S. Key manufacturers in the MRI market have been identifi ed as GE Health care, Siemens Medical Solutions, Philips Medical, Toshiba Medical Systems Corp, Medtronic Surgical Navigation Technologies and Hitachi Medical Corporation. The first three of these companies are regarded as the premier players within this segment.
[b]GROWTH THROUGH INCREASED APPLICATION[/b]
The market for MRI has continued to grow despite the worldwide recession. With its ability to image both anatomically and functionally, MRI is now used in surgical planning and navigation as well as in diff usion and perfusion imaging. Signifi cantly, MRI is also now routinely combined with other technologies to further improve image quality. As examples of recent advances in the scope of MRI, the technology can now be used for imaging cartilage as an alternative to arthroscopy, and is able to measure myocardial contractility and cardiac volumes with impressive accuracy. As the technology improves, the potential for MRI to investigate new tissue types with greater accuracy will continue to increase the potential for further market expansion.
[b]GROWTH THROUGH IMPROVED PERFORMANCE[/b]
Innovations in MRI technology have focused principally on improved image quality and enhanced speed. A trade-off between patient-comfort designs and enhanced diagnostic information highlights the trend in modern MRI equipment research.
Image quality remains the major factor in equipment selection. Indeed, increase in MRI sales has been propelled by the improved image quality made possible by higher field strength magnets. Increased field strength also extends the application range, improves signal- to-noise ratio, and reduces examination times. The search for faster examination times has also been the impetus for the development of new sequences, improved coil design and signifi cant hardware advances. The development of 3T scanners is a particular success story in the MRI market. 3T scanners provide signifi cant advantages over the previous industry gold standard, the 1.5T scanner, including lower examination costs, improved image quality and reduced scan times. The continued development of 3T scanners in the future represents a signifi cant opportunity for market expansion.
[b]GROWTH THROUGH NEW MARKET OPPORTUNITIES[/b]
Another opportunity for growth in the MRI market comes from the emerging markets. A signifi cant MRI market is emerging in regions of the world such as India, China and Singapore where it is expected to present a higher growth rate than in the more established markets. Signifi cant opportunities for market expansion have also been identifi ed in Europe (especially Eastern Europe).
Access to diagnostic imaging has been found to vary in emerging economies, even within the same country. Patients living in bigger and mid-sized cities in regions of high economic growth have higher access to diagnostic imaging due to greater affl uence, improved insurance coverage and increased investment in diagnostic imaging equipment by the private sector. By contrast, patients in smaller cities and rural areas have lower access to diagnostic imaging. Expanding health insurance to include the lower income population, providing incentives for private sector and physicians, and increased government investments in the health care sector have all been suggested as possible remedies to improve the accessibility of diagnostic imaging to patients in the emerging markets.
[b]PERCEIVED COST [/b]
Despite the considerable successes achieved to date and the potential for future growth, a principal barrier in the adoption of MRI technology remains: concerns over capital costs and limited working life. However, installation of the MRI imaging systems in health care facilities has been shown to deliver increased return on investment for health care providers. The rapid patient turnaround off ered by modern MRI scanners, and the accuracy of the medical diagnosis often now possible, has been shown to deliver high cost eff ectiveness in the long run. This consideration, at a time when all medical institutions are exploring new ways to reduce overall expenditure, provides further opportunity for market expansion.
The MRI market is large, dynamic and is predicted to continue to grow over the coming years. Growth in this highly sophisticated industry is driven by innovation, with emphasis on improved image quality and reduced acquisition times. In a trend that is predicted to continue into the future, growth has also been supported by the increasing range of potential applications for this technology. The emerging markets of India, China, Singapore and Eastern Europe are also expected to contribute signifi cantly to further global market expansion over the next few years.
[i][b]BCC Research[/b]. Emerging Markets for Advanced Medical Technologies. 2010
[b]Espicom Health care Intelligence[/b]. Advances in Molecular Imaging - Companies and Technologies that are Driving Change. 2010
[b]GlobalData[/b]. Diagnostic Imaging in Developing Economies: A Closer Look at Accessibility. 2010
[/b]. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Advanced Technologies and Global Market (2009 - 2014). 2010[/i] RE: Hitachi Medical Systems - Echelon
10 years ago