With healthcare systems still reeling from widespread economic challenges, capital-intensive medical equipment markets like interventional X-ray have suffered. However, new systems combining capabilities, such as combined radiology/cardiology interventional X-ray systems, are predicted to drive market growth and recovery, according to a new report from InMedica, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS).
Traditionally interventional X-ray has been divided into two separate markets: interventional radiology and interventional cardiology. Together these segments produced annual global revenues for X-ray systems of $1.79 billion in 2012. However, the high-cost of interventional X-ray, declining procedural volumes and limited number of interventional specialists have slowed demand, with global revenue growth predicted to be less than 1 percent in 2013.
In response to the economic challenges facing major healthcare markets, combined interventional X-ray systems have been developed to offer shared capability between radiology and cardiology, in hopes of increasing equipment utilization and lowering the cost of ownership. This is particularly apparent for small and mid-sized hospitals, where demand rarely warrants two separate systems.
“Demand for combined systems in emerging markets such as China and Brazil has also been strong to date, as combined systems offer less expensive basic interventional X-ray capability,” said Stephen Holloway, associate director for medical electronics at IHS. “Consequently, combined interventional X-ray systems are forecast to have the strongest demand among all system types, with shipments forecast to enjoy annual growth of between 8 and 10 percent in the next five years.”
Hybrid operating room (hybrid OR) interventional X-ray systems also offer growth potential. The Hybrid OR combines full surgical capability with advanced diagnostic imaging systems, thereby offering a shared resource for interventional and surgical procedures. In doing so, utilization of hospital resources can be improved and standards of care increased.
Development of this market is relatively new, with the first hybrid OR rooms conceived and installed within the last decade. Driven by advances in minimally invasive surgical techniques, previously “open” surgical procedures such as heart valve replacement can be performed with marginal invasiveness in the hybrid OR, using interventional imaging systems as guidance. This reduces the demand on surgical room resources, while also improving the clinical outcome for the patient, by lowering the risk of infection and speeding recovery.
Despite such cost and clinical outcome benefits, strong market demand relating to the hybrid OR has yet to materialize. Key challenges include the expense of the hybrid OR in the current economic climate, as well as complex multidisciplinary planning between various clinical departments. As a result, demand for interventional X-ray systems for hybrid OR use will be strongest from 2015, as austerity measures are lifted and demand for hybrid solutions increase.
While current market conditions continue to challenge suppliers to provide innovative cost-saving systems, the longer-term outlook for the interventional X-ray market looks far more positive. “The predicted ramp-up in demand from emerging regions still offers attractive growth prospects for manufacturers,” continues Holloway. “With the incidence of non-communicable diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular disease increasing significantly, the ability of manufacturers to provide cost-effective interventional X-ray systems will become even more important.”